Doylestown’s much-loved County Theater is nearing completion of its multimillion dollar expansion and renovation project, said John Toner, the arthouse cinema’s founding director.
“We hope to see completion by April 15,” Toner said, on Tuesday. “As to when we open, that’s a moving target.”
A number of factors will influence the reopening decision, the director said. “There aren’t that many arthouse film distributors distributing films right now, so there’s not a lot to show. And, everyone is waiting to see when people will feel comfortable coming back into theaters.
“It’s possible it could be May, but maybe, June. It’s just hard to say,” explained Toner. And, he noted, “as a nonprofit, once we reopen our expenses substantially increase, so we need to know people will be coming in.”
The iconic theater on East State Street has installed new, larger seats in the existing theaters – one has 110 seats, the other has 86 – and, the third theater has 180 seats, Toner said. Screen frames have been placed in all three auditoriums. The new theater’s screen is “gigantic,” theater officials said on social media. New projection booth equipment is expected to arrive by the end of March.
Earlier this month, the theater’s iconic neon sign was rehung after being repainted and preserved with a clear coat that’s expected to last 20 years.
The ambitious project began in January 2020, and, except for the five weeks when Pennsylvania shut down all construction due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the $5.3 million project has continued, said Toner.