Teen reopens community theatre

Andrea Zangl reopened the theatre in Roblin, Manitoba in January.  |  Karen Morrison photo

ROBLIN, Man. — It’s summertime and movies are playing once again in Roblin after a long hiatus for the theatre.

Andrea Zangl, an unlikely owner at age 19, invested in the business and re-opened it in mid-January.

“Its been closed now for years due to the fact that the previous owners didn’t have the finances to get a new digital projector, so I got a loan and got it going again,” she said.

The theatre was established in the 1950s and was an active part of the community until it closed.

“I always enjoyed it and I know it was really missed in the community, so I’m just happy to bring it back,” she said.

Zangl attributed her success to guidance from Dean Salyn, the previous owner and a local Christian musician, and help from her family.

Salyn said he is happy to help Zangl with her new venture.

“Andrea is a young, highly motivated, very determined individual. We felt she’d be a great fit because of her commitment,” he said.

“She and her sisters had helped us many times working at the theatre most weekends, so they were no strangers to some of the inner workings of the business.”

The father of six children said the theatre business did not make sense financially for his family.

“We felt we were in a precarious situation because you know we were still relatively new owners ourselves, but the numbers were just not making any sense for us,” he said.

Salyn was aware there’d be changes and new equipment required as the industry transitioned to digital from film but the theatre was also up against bigger theatres in Dauphin and Yorkton.

Residents can make the long drive to cities but Zangl said they’ll pay a lot more than in Roblin.

Zangl makes movie selections based on her market.

“Kids movies always go very well so any of the new kids movies that get a big buzz I usually try and grab the first chance I get and a lot of action/ superhero movies go well too like Superman or Marvel movies,” she said.

She also accommodates the Christian demographic in the area.

“I try and get a variety of movies like … God’s Not Dead 2, which is a Christian based movie and it went well.”

Zangl uses word of mouth and social media for most of her advertising and has hired two employees since opening.

“As soon I know my month’s booking, I put it on (Facebook) and there are some families that will wait if they know that I am getting it. They’re the diehard fans,” she said.

She faces challenges getting movies for a smaller theatre.

“A theatre my size, you get movies that are three to four weeks off release (and) sometimes getting movies can be difficult since, of course, bigger cinemas can make the movie studios more money,” she said.

Zangl, who is currently refacing the building’s exterior, hopes to keep the theatre open for years to come.

“It’s a very special thing to have in a small town, a running theatre.”

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