For more information on how to become a member of the Aberdeen Elkin Theater Association, call the Evans Memorial Library at (601) 369-4601.
By Eileen Bailey
ABERDEEN – Repair work has begun on the leaking roof of the Elkin Theater, starting the process to restore the Aberdeen landmark to its former glory.
Most of the $20,000 in repairs are structural and include repairs to the roof and brick sides, said Susan Evans, a former board of directors member and member of the Aberdeen Elkin Theater Association.
Crews began working last week to repair the roof. “We were getting a lot of water damage inside and wanted to get it stopped before we do any other work,” Evans said. That other work includes replacing carpet and painting.
Evans said no timetable has been set to complete the work. The association, which purchased the building in the 1980s and paid it off earlier this year, borrowed funds to make the roof repairs.
Once the outside repairs are complete, Evans said the association will begin to replace carpet, paint and do other renovation projects. She said that a future goal would be to expand the stage. There is a stage in the building, located on Commerce Street in Aberdeen’s downtown, but it is small and productions held on the stage are limited. She said they would like to hold other cultural events.
Funds from membership dues will be used to pay back the loan, she said. There are about 93 members in the association, which is made up of volunteers from the community.
Since November, the Elkin Theater Association, the Evans Memorial Library and the Aberdeen District of the Girl Scouts have teamed up to provide several activities in the building that was built by the Elkin family in 1937 and stayed in the family until the mid-1960s when it became a Malco Theater.
In December, the association presented a play as a fund-raising project. The Evans Memorial Library has received a grant to produce three plays for children this year.
Other fund-raisers for Aberdeen’s only theater will be monthly movies shown by the Aberdeen District of the Girl Scouts, which began showing the movies earlier in the year. The movies were put on hold and will begin again in October, Evans said.
The association has applied for several other grants to help with the rejuvenation of the Elkin, but Evans said they have not received any word on whether they will receive them or not.
Since the theater first opened on Sept. 27, 1937, it has provided both live performances and music to the residents of Aberdeen. There have been other movie theaters in Aberdeen’s history, but the Elkin was the first and is the only remaining theater in the town of almost 7,000 residents.