Efforts by the Friends of Tos Theater to restore the downtown Pembroke landmark were given a boost recently, when the Atlanta-based Fox Theater Institute announced the group will get a $75,000 grant to “begin planning and securing architectural designs,” for the theater, according to a press release.
“With the Fox Theatre Institute’s grant of $75,000, we will be able to begin the process of redesigning and restoring the Tos Theatre,’’ said Joseph Frew-Miller, Friends of Tos Theatre. “We are grateful for the funding opportunity that allows us to continue our revitalization project for the citizens of Pembroke and surrounding areas.”
Once complete, the Tos, which opened in 1939 but hasn’t showed movies since the 1970s, will be “a multi-function venue,” according to Frew-Miller, who teaches film at Bryan County Middle High School. “We plan to offer movies, theatre performances, live music, comedy nights, offer space for pageants, receptions, etc. We will be releasing information very soon about how to help. We are getting all of the necessary documents and permissions in place as a non-profit to accept donations.”
Pembroke’s Tos Theater was built by S.G. Tos in 1938. It hosted movies until it closed 1970s and was a carpet warehouse in the 1980s and 1990s, according to city officials.
Efforts to revitalize old theaters into multi-use facilities have been successful elsewhere. In nearby Springfield, the Mars Theater, which opened in 1945 and closed in 1957, for a time was used as office space, reopened in 2014 as a theater. It now regularly shows first-run movies as well as live performances by musicians and comedians and beauty pageants.
The FTI program has committed more than $2.7 million since launching in 2008, according to a press release. This grant is one of four grant funding categories through FTI – including Preservation, Historic Structures Studies or Planning, Technical Assistance and Services, and Urgent/ Emergency Grant – all of which allows up to $500,000 of much needed statewide grant subsidy.
For more infFor more information about the Fox Theater Institute, visit www. foxtheatre.orgormation about efforts to renovate the Tos Theater, go to the Pembroke Tos Theater Renovation Facebook page.