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The Earl and Rachel Smith Strand Theatre has yard signs reading “I support the Strand” for sale to help bolster struggling revenues during the pandemic.

“Intermission is over,” the email announced. One of Cobb’s most famed landmarks is reopening after the pandemic forced it to close.

The Earl and Rachel Smith Strand Theatre announced Wednesday two events planned for later this month and a busy July schedule.

The two movie showings planned for June will limit attendance to 50% capacity to allow for social distancing. Masks are recommended for the unvaccinated.

The Strand will screen “Selma” on Juneteenth, June 19, at 8 p.m., an hour after the Juneteenth festivities at Marietta Square end.

“Fried Green Tomatoes” will be screened the following Friday, June 25, at 8 p.m.

July’s calendar of events features a Rolling Stones tribute band, tickets to watch the Fourth of July parade from the Strand’s roof along with other concerts and movies. The Strand also announced that “Menopause the Musical” will play for five nights in September.

“We missed you. We missed your faces. We missed those of you that are first to arrive, the last to leave, and everyone in between. We even missed your weird soda combinations,” the Strand said in the announcement.

Strand General Manager Andy Gaines said the theater hasn’t been open to the public since the pandemic began. It has been rented out for more than 130 private events and small, private movie screenings of 15 or less, however.

Gaines said the board of the Strand, a nonprofit theater, decided to honor the private reservations throughout June, which is why the calendar this month features only two events.

Those events helped the Strand survive and not lay off any full-time staff. In a normal pre-pandemic year, Gaines said, about 72% of the budget came from earned income — ticket sales, concessions and private rentals. The rest would come from donations. Since the pandemic, more than 50% of revenue has come from donations, he said.

Being excited about reopening is an understatement, Gaines said. He hopes it will “feed the needs of people’s hearts, minds and souls.”

“When people come to the theater, it’s to smile, laugh, have a good time,” he said. “I am incredibly excited about the opportunity to have people back inside, just to be happy again. And that is going to be the coolest thing ever. And boy do we have a bunch of stuff straight off the bat ... come on down, find one that fits you, come to more than one if you like.”

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(1) comment

CRAIG BARFIELD

50% capacity? Everybody else is fully open and not requiring masks so why the need for the Strand to operate differently? The Marietta Square is competing with Truist Park and others so it seems they should do whatever they can (fully open up with no restriction) to make up for the disaster of the last year.

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