Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.

UNIVERSITY PRESS

Living Room Theaters to close permanently

After difficulties getting back to pre-COVID levels, Living Room Theaters at FAU will be closing Feb. 9, says Living Room Theaters’ CEO.

Living+Room+Theaters+entrance.

Celina Detwiler Gray

Living Room Theaters entrance.

Mary Rasura, Senior Staff Writer

Living Room Theaters opened at FAU in 2010 and after over 10 years, they will be permanently closing on Feb. 9 due to a lack of business, Living Room Theaters staff says. Living Room Theaters is part of the Culture and Society building.

After this closure, Living Room Theaters will only have two locations left: Portland and Indianapolis. The School of Communication and Multimedia Studies plans to continue to use some of the theaters as classrooms and to convert others to production spaces. 

“It’s really hard when somebody who’s really pivotal to your inception in this building is leaving but now, it gives us an opportunity to continue to use those theaters but also perhaps turn some of that space into some incredible digital creation spaces,” said Carol Bishop Mills, director of the School of Communication and Multimedia Studies (SCMS). 

Faculty from the SCMS stress that the school will continue to use the capabilities of the theater. 

Gerald Sim, associate professor of SCMS, says that faculty will still have theaters to teach in. 

Steve Herring, CEO of Living Room Theaters, states that the theater was unable to get back to pre-COVID numbers. 

“The ongoing struggle of movie theaters is a real thing. Even the major chains, overall attendance, occupancy numbers are down significantly since before the pandemic. And it’s a combination of older patrons not returning to movie theaters at all,” Herring said. 

Imani Marable, FAU alumna in multimedia studies: film, video and new media, screened her short film “Piano Boy” at Living Room Theaters during her senior year. 

“Honestly, looking back at my college career, that was probably the best days of my life. That’s what made my college career memorable,” Marable said. 

Erin Hoffman, sophomore English major and Living Room Theaters employee, says that Living Room Theaters shows primarily independent and foreign films. 

“We’re definitely missing out on that, there aren’t a lot of theaters around South Florida that do show those smaller films, more so like film festivals and things like that,” Hoffman said. “I think a lot of people are missing out on seeing those really maybe a little bit more peculiar, a little obscure films.”

Emily Mejia, sophomore art history major, also works at Living Room Theaters  and hopes people will visit the theater before their closure. 

“I hope some people come and see this place one last time, order some food or see a movie or something. Just to experience it, because I feel like it is a unique experience,” Mejia said. 

Mary Rasura is a senior staff writer for the University Press. For more information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or DM her on Instagram @maryrasura.

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  • F

    Fayez KloubMar 21, 2023 at 4:44 pm

    It was very upsetting to learn that it was closing down, especially with all of the memories I tied to both taking/teaching classes here and writing film reviews for movies that aired there. 

    It was one of my proudest accomplishments in my undergrad to review new films from the Living Room Theater. It feels like a part of myself is gone with the theater’s closing, and I feel genuinely sad because it opened up the opportunity for students to watch deep, meaningful films they couldn’t find as readily available elsewhere. 

    I also did plenty of work as a teaching assistant at the theater. I remember having to contend with their internal system to project my lessons. It felt sobering to sometimes just relax in the dimly lit spaces while time passed by either waiting for class to begin, or sifting through my materials to shuffle back to my office.

    I’m glad that they’ll still be used for teaching purposes since they’re perfect venues for presentations, film classes, and events. But I can’t help but feel sad considering that there are few theaters that would give the Living Room’s eclectic selection a chance. Unless it’s a Fathom event, you’d have better luck streaming bolder, more ambitious titles.

    Above all else, never neglect what you do have easy access to. If the Living Room Theater is no longer an option, seek out films on Kanopy or look through what filmmakers consider to be their favorite films of any given year. Whatever’s floated on the front pages of popular streaming sites won’t give you a full picture of what film is truly capable of as a medium. Rather than see it as an ending, see it as a new beginning. An opportunity for rebirth. And never let the creative spirit that drives you forward go out, even with your final breath of air. You’ll always be remembered on my end.

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