"And the Roxy continues."
Those were the memorable words from emcee Brian Bailey during last Wednesday night's Roxy Theatre meeting, referencing the challenges the Roxy has overcome in its past - a two-year closure, roof repairs, flooring issues and other costly repairs - and the challenge he believes the Roxy will overcome now - raising enough money to bring the Roxy into the digital age.
If the community support at the meeting was any indication, Bailey's belief is all but a certainty.
Over 110 people showed up to the informational and brainstorming session where members of the Neepawa Theatre Centre's (NTC) board also presented reports on the state and finances of the Roxy.
Meanwhile, members of the audience took turns either offering fundraising ideas, giving donations or reminiscing about their memories in the theatre.
Some told stories of being ushers in uniform in the theatre's early days under Izzy Asper, or of the days when lineups at its entrance curled around the corner or even memories off more "explicit" audience experiences in the balcony.
Others also told stories of the importance of the theatre today as both a film and theatrical venue.
All comments had an overarching theme: the Roxy and the memories it creates should continue on.
"I thought it was a wonderful turnout and response," NTC's Marilyn Dietrich told The Neepawa Press following the meeting. "It shows the community and area wants their Roxy, the support was awesome."
A financial report on the past two years released by the NTC at the meeting showed how the 2011 and 2010 years both saw more revenue than expenses at the theatre.
Admissions and concessions during film showings made up the majority of the revenue brought in each year, combining for about $48,000 of its $65,000 in revenue in 2011 and about $56,000 of its $65,000 in revenue in 2010.
Likewise, its biggest expenses have been the costs of movies, of which a per centage of the total admissions gathered is paid out for each showing.
Each year revenue exceeded expenses by about $1,000
"As you can see, we don't try to make a lot of money...but our goal is to keep it affordable," NTC treasurer Audrey Heffel said.
Dietrich touched on the most current upgrade costs found.
The new digital projector system will cost about $75,000 and a new sound system - which should be beneficial - may cost as much as $30,000.
If the theatre were to go 3D it could cost another $20,000 and another screen may be needed, Dietrich added, but the board believes the Roxy would be well-served by staying with 2D showings.
With those figures ranging from $105,000 to $125,000, Dietrich noted the NTC still aims to hit the '$86,000 and up' mark for fundraising through the community and will look for matching grants and other opportunities available to extend those funds.
"What we need to do is make this Roxy the charity of choice this year," former Mayor Bob Durston, who was in attendance, offered. "It would be good to raise extra money...we could give them a little bit of extra breathing room."
Community members and school students have offered donations to the Roxy.
Banks and businesses have challenged each other, while one donor offered to match up to $5,000 for any money raised by youth. The NACI's drama club pledged $2,000 Wednesday night.
During the meeting - on top of the $27,000 announced - $5,000 'hard cash' was donated to the Roxy fund, while about $18,000 more was pledged via future donations or donation-matching.
The idea of the theatre being a regional complex was also highlighted. The NTC announced Glenella had donated $1,000 while the RM of Langford has given $4,000.
At the meeting, Town of Minnedosa councillor Garry MacDowall also presented a $500 cheque, saying the centre is important to his community's residents since it no longer has its own theatre.
"The Roxy now is really a regional theatre, not just a Neepawa theatre," MacDowall said. "We on the Town council of Minnedosa want to share with you on a regional basis."
Aside from grant requests, fundraisers proposed or already planned by people in attendance included a Film Fest, large raffle draw, comedy night, retro film weekend, open air movie, dinner theatre, amateur night, social and community yard sale.