The Bell Theater was opened in downtown Pineville in 1939 by local dentist Jay Cornn. Through the decades the role the theater plays has changed but one thing has remained the same — the theater is a staple in the community.
In 1988 Mike Crockett purchased the Bell Theater with Bobby Taylor. In May of 1991 the theater was reopened to show movies. The theater still shows movies although it is not on a regular basis. Recently movies have went from being shown on 35 mm film to being digital —a $60,000 upgrade that posed obstacles for the small theater.
A contract with a digital projector allows the theater to still screen movies.
“We have a contract to show some independent movies, so from time to time we still show movies,” said Crockett.
Movie screening is only one of the many events the theater now offers. The Children’s Reading Foundation of Appalachia-Ky, Main Street Pineville, the Cumberland River Academy, Appalshop, Pineville Rotary Club and New Heights Church are all partners with the theater and host events or offer services at the theater. The theater is also available to host private parties and movie screenings as well as business meetings and formal events.
All events are offered at competitive pricing of comparable locations. Basically, the cost is just enough to help keep the doors open.
“We just need to cover our expenses,” explained Crockett.
Crockett says the long-term goal of the theater is to not only keep the doors open but to revitalize it into what it once was — a place where people can afford to come to for entertainment.
For more information on booking the Bell Theater or to make a donation, contact Darron Nichols at 606-269-6607.
Reina P. Cunningham may be reached at 606-302-9100.