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Pembroke’s TOS Theatre earns funds at city council meeting
Tos 3
The outside of the TOS Theatre in downtown Pembroke. File photo.

At Monday’s general meeting, Pembroke City Council approved a motion to allocate $1 million in SPLOST funds towards the renovation of the TOS Theatre.

The motion proved popular with many folks in attendance, including members of Friends of the TOS Theatre, inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to TOS’ revitalization. 

“I’ve seen many, many small towns that have saved their theaters,” said Harley Doerfler, a Pembroke resident who spoke during public comments. “And you know what’s the funniest thing about it? They’re showing first-run movies.”

“We could do that here,” Doerfler proclaimed, adding that the council “has [his] vote” with the TOS Theatre support. 

Elizabeth Norman, president of Friends of the TOS Theatre, was understandably pleased to see that so many Pembroke residents and city officials alike are backing the revitalization efforts for the historic downtown theatre.  

“It’s a public-private partnership, [and] the public’s gotta come first,” explained Norman, who highlighted the need for SPLOST money in order to demonstrate local support for the theatre as opposed to outside private funds. 

“With any kind of fundraising, you gotta start close to home,” Norman said. “I’m really excited about it,” Norman said. 

“This is really the beginning, the very beginning.”

Pembroke’s TOS Theater was built by the Italian immigrant S.G. Tos in 1938. It hosted movies until it closed in the 1970s and was a carpet warehouse in the 1980s and 1990s, according to city officials in a past interview.

The City of Pembroke is currently working in conjunction with the Downtown Development Authority and Friends of the TOS Theatre to rejuvenate the theater and add key components such as new seats and lighting. In addition, the apartment attached to the rear of the theater will be “completely reconstructed” and will include changing rooms, makeup stations, and bathrooms for actors and performers, according to a video on the TOS Theatre website

The theater has also received significant support from the Fox Theatre Institute (FTI), the Community Partnerships arm of Atlanta’s Fox Theatre. In a previous report, FTI has awarded the Friends of TOS Theatre, Inc. a $25,000 grant to go towards renovating efforts. 

For more information on Pembroke’s TOS Theatre, visit 

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