The Strand Theater has provided the cinematic experience for locals and students for many years. The theater also has had close ties to Ohio Wesleyan since 2002.
“In 2002, Ohio Wesleyan took over ownership of the theater,” said manager Kara Long. “Then in November of 2008, they formed a separate non-profit group called The Strand Theater and Cultural Arts Association. It’s a fifteen member board of directors. Now we have the ability to fundraise on our own and get grants to keep the building up.”
Prior to OWU taking over The Strand, “(Business) was very slow,” Long said. “I changed film buyers when I took over in 2002. We were not getting our fair share of movies. The previous owner’s film buyer was not fighting. So, I found one that would say, ‘That’s not fair, we have every right to make money as anyone else in town.’”
The Strand Theater and OWU still maintain a close relationship.
“Of the fifteen board members, Ohio Wesleyan appoint eight, so they kind of retain a little bit of control,” Long said. “It was a good thing, if anything would go wrong – if the wheels would come off the bus, as they say – they could pull it back under. It’s a kind of safe guard.”
Upon returning to campus last semester, students noticed the change in price at The Strand. Previously, with an OWU ID, students could get in to see a movie at any time for four dollars. On August 1, that price went up to five.
“The studios have limits on us, called per capita, where they set in their minds, in Hollywood or New York, how many tickets at what price you should sell,” Long said. “We had way too many coming in at four dollars. The high school students were already five dollars, so it was the logical step. It made the studios get off our back. It’s the last thing you want to have, the studio on your back, looking at your prices. They can’t tell you what to charge, but they can make life difficult.”
Taylor Clark, 18, has been employed at The Strand since 2008.
“My mom and my grandma also worked here,” Clark said. “It wasn’t planned that I work here, it just happened. It was just irony.”
Clark said she loves working at The Strand.
“Working in a historical building (is the best part),” Clark said. “You learn a lot about film, which not many people know much about. This is like a Delaware classic thing, so it’s nice to know the insides of it.”
Clark said if she had to choose between seeing a movie at The Strand or a bigger theater like the Rave in Columbus, she would choose The Strand.
“Much cheaper, and it’s homey,” Clark said.
Sophomore Lauren Foote said she would rather see a movie at The Rave.
“If it didn’t count on price?” Foote said. “The Rave. Just because it is a lot bigger, and a lot more options. I can watch 3-D movies or movies The Strand doesn’t have.”
Foote also spoke about the advantages of the historical theater.
“It’s affordable, it’s on a very close street to campus, so if I want to go see a movie I can drive and it take six seconds or I can walk with friends,” Foote said. “It shows recent movies, it’s not like narrow indie films. They show movies that are actually out. And they have good popcorn.”
However, Foote said, there were a few draw backs to the Strand.
“It could be a little bit bigger,” Foote said. “They only have three rooms, and the seats are a little outdated. A little bit of refurnishing would be helpful. Otherwise, (I don’t have) many complaints about The Strand.”
Long assists the film buyer in choosing which films to show.
“Her and I consult every Monday on what’s coming and going,” Long said. “Sometimes I know like on March 2 we’re going to get Project X and The Lorax, but I don’t know what the third picture will be.
“Next week, I know we’ll be picking up The Artist for next Friday, I don’t know what the other two films will be. This time of year, we just go to boxofficemojo.com, and let’s say I have requests, so we pull them in… This time of year is when we get the chance to pull in the Oscar stuff. Once we get past the first weekend of May, then the gloves come off and we start first run.” Long said
The Strand Theater is located on Winter Street, and students can find show times, upcoming movies and events at their website: http://www.thestrandtheatre.net.