Hopewell Theater, Creating Community Around Art

Hopewell Theater, Creating Community Around Art

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Photo byThomas Robert Clarke Photography for Baxter Construction

On September 7th, Hopewell Theater opened its doors to the public with an eclectic mix of programming, more typically offered in large cities. The 172-seat theater, located at 5 South Greenwood Avenue in Hopewell Borough, former home of The Off-Broadstreet Theater, now offers TED-style talks, live music by emerging and established musicians, indie films, and book discussions, to name a few.

In 2015, business partners Jon McConaughy, Liza Morehouse, and Mitchel Skolnick purchased the building from The Off-Broadstreet Theater owners, Bob and Julie Thick. Though the Thicks continued producing plays through the spring, they decided to retire by the end of December 2016.

Opening night at Hopewell Theater. (Photo by Daniel T. Gramkee Photography)

The group started basic renovations on 2016, and Mitchel Skolnick, partner in Bluestone Farms in Hopewell and avid supporter of the arts, launched a production company with Sara Scully, president of Scullyone Productions and founder of Lambertville’s Acme Screening Room. Scully’s vision, to create “a dine-in theater that was a warm and welcoming place to meet friends, get something to eat, and have a great cultural experience,” was embraced by the partnership.

Under Scully’s direction, further renovations were made and include a new lobby, box office, state-of-the-art cinema system with surround sound, a concession stand featuring dishes from local restaurants, expanded theater seating area, and a balcony containing additional seating.

Photo by Thomas Robert Clarke Photography

“I’ve always been excited about creating a place for community engagement where people can access art at any level, whether you’re an expert or a person who wants to come see an interesting new film,”  said Scully. “At the Acme, we had a hyperlocal filmmaker who made a film about Halloween in Lambertville with a camcorder, and we also had the producer of the Batman films coming to talk. Some people make extraordinary things who are amateurs.”

Whether on a date, out with family and friends, or solo, Hopewell Theater will likely be the “go to” spot for residents of Hopewell Valley and beyond. Community members are also encouraged to make suggestions for future shows.

Here’s what’s coming to Hopewell Theater:

Music

  • Sept. 28 – Antje Duvekot
  • Oct. 5 – The Bailsmen
  • Oct. 12 – Driftwood
  • Oct. 20 – Bennett Wales and The Relief
  • Oct. 26 – Amythyst Kiah
  • Nov. 2 – Isle of Klezbos
  • Nov. 10 – Bunkhouse Boys
  • Nov. 16 – Dan Bern

Film

  • Oct. 7 – Sex & Broadcasting: a film about WFMU + discussion
  • Nov. 4 – Discovery and Adoption: the Hanji Box

Live Multimedia

  • Oct. 21 – Experience Pine Barrens: Film + Discussion
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Angela Jacobs
Angela Jacobs is a freelance writer who lives in Hopewell Township with her teenaged children and partner of 20 years. Despite her best efforts to simplify her life, last year she added four chickens and a second rescue dog to her pet menagerie. Unfortunately, an interim of peaceful coexistence ended with the untimely demise of two of the chickens at the paws of Jax, the new dog. An egregious lack of impulse control has since been diagnosed resulting in an indefinite separation of Jax from all present and future chickens, her two cockatiels, open garbage cans, snacks open on tables, abandoned stuffed animals, etc. She does however gently encourage him toward a certain industrious squirrel that has spelunked its way through her backyard in search of the most perfect hiding spot for its nuts.

1 COMMENT

  1. With a mix of live music, talks and films, I definitely am determined
    to go there. Unfortunately, I live in the borough and drive a power chair.

    Though I am quite close, the impassable sidewalks, boards-instead-of-sidewalk, cuts
    which are dangerous, sidewalks without cuts (yes, on Broad street), etc.,
    prevent me.

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