Bryant Cinema is a volunteer-run movie theatre in southwestern Hamlin County. Current movies are shown every weekend.
THE POWER OF VOLUNTEERS
Since its construction in 1920, the cinema in Bryant has transported audiences to far-away lands, long-ago times and breathtaking locations, all from the comfort of its darkened auditorium.
But the real magic of this small-town theatre is the way area communities have come together to keep this landmark open and thriving.
For more than 13 years, the Bryant Cinema has been run entirely by volunteers who offer their time for the Friday, Saturday and Sunday shows, as well as the grunt work in-between.
The theatre is owned by area shareholders under the administration of the Bryant Cinema Inc. A board of seven community members oversees the operation of the cinema.
From popping popcorn and selling tickets to splicing the film and managing concessions inventory, volunteers from Bryant and surrounding communities pull together to keep this important area attraction alive for future generations.
HISTORY OF A SMALL-TOWN THEATRE
The magic of the Silver Screen came to Bryant, SD, in February of 1920 when The Strand theatre opened on Main Street. The first movie shown was "Daddy Long Legs" starring Mary Pickford, and admission was 5 cents, 15 cents and 25 cents.
The cinema quickly became an important source of entertainment and a gathering place for friends and neighbors. Fun community traditions arose, such as “Bank Nights” where names were entered into a drawing for prize money.
The invention of the television was only a minor roadblock for the big screen, as people continued to crave the excitement and social connection at the heart of the movie theatre experience.
However, the introduction of multiplexes and the soaring booking costs for new movies did begin to take a toll on small-town theatres.
When the cinema’s owner decided to sell in 1999, no buyer came forward, and area residents began to fear that their precious movie screen would be dark forever. That is when a group of residents formulated a plan to save this small-town treasure.
KEEPING THE DREAM ALIVE
Determined to keep their community movie theatre open, a group of residents spearheaded an effort to buy the cinema, selling theatre shares and accepting donations. Bryant Cinema Inc. was established in the summer of 1999 and a goal was set to raise $30,000 to purchase the building and equipment and for initial operating costs.
In a testament to the importance of this show hall, the group exceeded its goal and the Bryant Cinema celebrated its Grand Opening on Sept. 18, 1999, with the film “Runaway Bride.”
In the more than 16 years since then, area residents and volunteers have inspired a new excitement for their theatre and created a whole new life for the historic structure.
In the fall of 2008, an addition was opened housing an enhanced concession area as well as handicap-accessible restrooms. A number of additional improvements have been made including installation of a new screen and adding carpeting and new curtains to the side walls in the theatre.
The biggest update came in 2013 when Bryant Cinema went digital! After an amazing community fund drive, a digital projector was purchased and installed at the cinema, changing the movie-going (and movie- building) experience in this little home-town theater.
Bryant Cinema could not operate without its wonderful volunteers!
If you are interested in volunteering as a ticket taker or concessions worker, please contact a board member,
call and leave a message at 628-2336
or e-mail us at email@example.com.
Our volunteers are the best!!!