Resourcefulness And Thrift Keep Egyptian Theatre From Going The Way Of The Pharaohs
A historical theater in Coos Bay with distinctive Egyptian motifs is riding out the pandemic as best it can.
Up in an environmentally-controlled room filled with large silver tubes and musical instruments, Kara Long presses a few hidden buttons.
One row creates a high-pitched piccolo sound. Another is for tuba.
“So you got the smallest to the largest.”
It’s all part of the organ system, installed at the Egyptian Theatre in 1925 and powered by an immense fan under the main stage. Elsewhere, ornate hieroglyphics and black statues of Anubis adorn the golden walls and stairs. Built during the 1920s when King Tutankhamen and ancient Egypt were all the rage, the theater is a rarity today, but not extinct.
As executive director, Long said she’s eager to fill up all 720 seats some day after the pandemic, but for now, they’re coasting by with federal aid.
“We did receive some grants that helped us pay utilities. Last year we probably were in the $50,000-$60,000 range. And this year we had a PPP loan at the beginning of January, I think it was under 20 (thousand.)”
Long says the Small Business Administration is also opening up its application portal this week for the Shuttered Venues Grant, which has $16 billion in grants to support struggling stages, auditoriums, and movie theaters.
In the meantime, Long keeps her hours to 10 a week (the janitor comes in for half that time) and she coordinates fundraisers and delivers “Random Acts of Popcorn” as part of sponsored events.
She told KLCC that when the pandemic is over, she wants to show movies like Elf again, no matter what time of year it is. Past viewings have been combined with charity drives, including one showing that had attendees throw balls of socks at each other during Elf’s famed snowball fight.
“After everyone was done, they were collected, washed, and given to the homeless,” recalled Long. “3200 pairs given out.”
Copyright 2021, KLCC.