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Fairfield Community Theatre Status: A Mystery

The iconic movie house may have shut its doors for good—but no one knows for sure.

The doors are locked. The marquee is dark. The phones are not in service.

The iconic downtown seems closed—but no one can confirm that.

And nobody knows why.

Fairfield realtor , founder of the Community Film Institute, the nonprofit that operated the theater, could not be reached for comment.

The institute’s website does not have any updates – nor are there any film screenings schedule past Sept. 8. Now displayed on the marquee are the phrases “United We Stand – Never Forget,” in honor of Sept. 11.

The only clue may be in the , which reads: “At this time we are unable to accept donations.”

Patricia Ritchie, president of the said in an email that the chamber was “sorry, but completely surprised” by the apparent shutdown of the theater.

“What a shame it would be if such an icon were to disappear from Fairfield Center,” Ritchie said. “But…there have been a number of difficult years keeping that place afloat.”

Recent struggles include the organization's , according to the IRS. Fairfield Patch reported last year that the institute – formerly the Community Theatre Foundation – in filing tax returns to remain a tax-exempt non-profit. Shortly before that, Redgate had for residents to donate to the theater, warning it was in danger of closing due to financial strain.

“The place is in shambles,” nearby owner Andrew Servetas said. He questioned why the Community Film Institute could not have been made into a for-profit venture.

A book reading hosted by , featuring author , was scheduled to be held in the theater Thursday, according an employee at the organic cafe. She did not know the theater’s status.

In its time as a nonprofit organization, the theater used unpaid volunteers to man the theater, which showed second-run, , at discount prices, complete with discount popcorn, drinks and candy.

The theater was reopened by the Community Theatre Foundation in 2001, after it had been closed earlier that year due to competition from large cineplexes.

Edgar J September 16, 2011 at 11:57 AM
What does the landlord have to say? Can the Town of Fairfield or the Chamber take over the non-profit, and bring the Theatre back to life?
Edgar J September 16, 2011 at 11:59 AM
Let's hear from the landlord....
Isntit Obvious September 16, 2011 at 12:36 PM
It closed. Someone ought to audit the books on that "foundation"
steve sheppard September 16, 2011 at 12:49 PM
I always thought that the Fairfield theater company should of been there instead of using a town owned building where they pay a $1 a year lease currently.
Jennifer Hochberg September 16, 2011 at 01:21 PM
Supposedly it was closed to repairs/renovations for this week, but if the Theatre closes for good it would a real shame....its an icon of downtown Fairfield. I know others share the same thought....
steve sheppard September 16, 2011 at 01:40 PM
I always thought that the Fairfield Theater Company should of been in there instead of leasing a town owned building for $1 a year from the town.
David Brewer September 16, 2011 at 04:51 PM
For years the theater has received support- donations, ticket and concession sales - from the general public. Now we learn that there were never tax returns filed and nobody is available to answer any questions? Their Facebook page says they are still open for parties. They must be paid for those already. Something stinks here. I have run in to many folks who have told me they did work at the theater or sold them materials/services and never got paid. This is an ugly story that I think has just started to come out.
Gabi Coatsworth September 16, 2011 at 08:01 PM
Wouldn't it be great if it could handle live theatre and a movie screen? Surely that would be worth having downtown. Fairfield has given Westport a run for its money culturally over the last few years, let's not allow that momentum to slide.
James Grauer September 16, 2011 at 08:07 PM
There are two lawsuits from movie distributors against the theater and Mr Redgate. Those must have something to do with the closing and the shaky management.
Bill Grousner September 17, 2011 at 02:29 PM
Dear Mr. Redgate, Thank you for trying to keep a Fairfield landmark open. My family is saddened to learn of the closing of the theatre, if indeed the rumors are true that it is indeed closed. What we don't understand is why you won't come out and issue a statement on the status?? Is the theatre closed or not? We donated, we patronized, we bought popcorn, we even had a birthday party there, the least we deserve is a firm yes or no to the status of the beloved theatre all of Fairfield calls their own. Please stop the silence Mr. Redgate and let us know....is it closed?
How Dare He September 19, 2011 at 12:02 PM
I guess we have to draw our own conclusions on where all the money has gone - donations, ticket money, concessions, special events. I know tickets are only $4 but there are an awful lot of tickets sold since the last time the theater filed a tax return. And how about the folks like me who donated thinking we were supporting a legitimate non-profit. Really makes you wonder!
Clyde Newman September 19, 2011 at 01:45 PM
Did you see this article? http://www.fairfieldcitizenonline.com/news/article/Last-picture-show-Redgate-to-step-aside-at-2177505.php
Steve Miller January 26, 2013 at 04:19 AM
I have an idea to use the theatre. I need to find the landlord or owner. My idea would also bring traffic to nearby restaurants.
John Jameson January 26, 2013 at 12:15 PM
The landlord's number is up on the marquee.
Paul Jordanopoulos October 11, 2013 at 11:20 PM
Second year of the black hole that was the Community theater. Will it ever come back or remain dark? Does anyone really care anymore?

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