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.