The magic of the movies soon could be coming to the Shoals Theatre.
Florence Main Street, a nonprofit organization that focuses on keeping downtown Florence thriving, is raising money for a movie projector to use in the historic theater.
The group’s first fundraising event for the project is a sing-along to “The Sound of Music,” the classic musical from 1965 staring Julie Andrews.
It begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Emily Thompson, who is heading the project, said they started tossing around ideas for a fundraiser in the fall.
“A sing-along to ‘The Sound of Music’ is one of the first things that came up,” Thompson said. “The planning has really been for the whole project and in that has been what kind of individual things can we do to get the community involved to make the project successful. ‘The Sound of Music’ event is sort of our kickoff to the fundraiser.”
Thompson said the idea came from someone who had heard of another group having success with a similar sing-along event.
If Florence Main Street’s fundraising efforts are successful and the $70,000 goal is surpassed, the group plans to put that money in an endowment for the upkeep of the equipment and to help fund the film series.
Thompson said they would like to get to $150,000 to upgrade the whole sound system for one that can handle movies as well as music and plays.
“We’ll be working around the theater’s play schedule, so hopefully a couple of weeks every year we can do a film series,” Thompson said. “Maybe we can do some classic movies or foreign movies or documentaries.”
Despite raising the money, Florence Main Street won’t have a hold on how the projector is used, Thompson said. That will be between the Shoals Theatre and any group that may host a series or showing.
Randy Pettus, president of Shoals Theatre, said once Florence Main Street presented the idea, the theater executive board has been on board.
“The Shoals Theatre will maintain control of what events play there and when because we have a very limited schedule,” Pettus said. “We have eight plays a year of our own.”
The projector and showing of movies would not take precedence over plays and other performances that traditionally have been performed at the theater.
“We are a performing arts house and always will be,” Pettus said. “We are just adding this aspect of film to the art venue, and we are glad to be able to add this. It’s just another way for the Shoals Theatre to provide art opportunities to the people of the Shoals.”
Depending on how this event goes, Thompson said, they want to do more fundraising events during the next few weeks and months.
Thompson said a theater equipped with a movie projector could offer things to the community it doesn’t have access to short of driving to Huntsville or Nashville.
“You can come here and have a glass of wine and watch a movie,” she said. “Or you can come here and see really obscure documentaries that you have to go to Nashville or further to see.
“If we can bring some of those things here, we can reach a whole crowd of people that want that.”
Bobby Bozeman can be reached at 256-740-5722 or bobby.bozeman@TimesDaily.com.