The renovation of The Midway Theater & Cultural Event Center took nearly two years to complete. With generous donations, multiple grants and countless volunteer hours, The Midway Theater has been fully restored, making it the pride and joy of Main Street.
A New Roof
Before the theater was acquired by Our Hometown Charitable Foundation, they knew the roof was going to be the first priority in the restoration process. Over the years the roof structure had become dangerous and unsafe. There were broken and twisted rafters and no parts worth salvaging. The old roof was removed completely, allowing contractors to add an additional three feet to the walls of the theater to raise the ceiling height.
A New Floor
The plan was to restore the original hardwood floor in the theater. It was then discovered that the floor had substantial termite damage and was rotting. To avoid problems in the future, it was decided to remove the floor and replace it with a sloping concrete floor. When the hard wood was removed, we found old foundations, stairs to nowhere, bottles, print ads and even coal! Seventy-eight tons of debris was removed and loads of sand were hauled in to level the floor for concrete. The concrete was then stained and sealed.
There were more surprises in store when the damaged wall coverings were removed, revealing that our neighbors wall was inside the theater! Over the years, the theater walls had settled and were no longer straight. For the roof trusses to fit correctly, new walls had to be built using metal studs. When the original walls were exposed, art that was painted along the theater walls, was revealed. The walls are now covered with carpet and fabric improving the acoustics within the theater.
Inside the Theater
Everything inside the theater has been updated. A new screen, projector, sound system and lighting has been installed for the greatest movie experience possible. A larger balcony was built, increasing the size of the projection room and giving us a room to grow in the future, with additional seating room. A larger stage was built to accommodate musical and theatrical events. Our “Seats For The Midway” campaign raised $50,000, which allowed us to install brand new theater seats.
The main reason for the closing of the theater was due to the antiquated projector. Film distributors had gone to a digital format and the days of film and reels was no longer. Through grant funding, The Midway was able to purchase a brand new digital projector.
For years, The Midway had a separate commercial space that was leased as a gift shop and later a beauty shop. During the renovation, the wall that separated the concession area and the beauty shop was removed, allowing space for a larger lobby and concession area. This larger concession space has allowed the theater to expand its concession items and now serves hot dogs, nachos, pretzels and frozen yogurt, in addition to your movie favorites like popcorn, candy & sodas!
The Ticket Booth
The original ticket booth was removed from the theater and stored. A brand new booth was beautifully handcrafted by a local contractor. This new booth allows room for two ticket takers. The old ticket punch machine was removed and replaced with an electronic touchscreen cash register.
The lobby area has been completely renovated with new flooring, lighting and paint. The additional space from the concession area allows for better flow for movie goers. Both the men’s and women’s bathrooms have been relocated under balcony, allowing for large space and easier access.
The original theater doors were removed from the entrance and replaced with new. The originals were saved and restored and are now the doors to a display case that houses artifacts and memorabilia from the theater.
The Front Facade
The front façade for The Midway has changed over the years. More changes were done during the renovation. The face was elevated to give the theater an art deco look, allowing to raise the marquee and awning. The door and window to the beauty shop were removed and replaced with a serving window and counter. The Midway plans to have this serving space open additional hours during summer months, so you can enjoy your favorite movie treats more often.
And we saved the best for last, The Midway marquee! The iconic marquee was removed and fully restored by a local fabricator. The marquee was restored to the same design, colors and neon lighting that graced Main Street for years in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. A new awning was fabricated and installed, complete with matching neon lighting. The Midway marquee has been an a Main Street icon in downtown Burlington for decades and will continue to glow for generations to come.