Kamas Theater closes its doors | ParkRecord.com

Kamas Theater closes its doors

The Kamas Theater, which recently screened "The Polar Express" during the town’s Christmas event last weekend, has gone dark, according to a post on its Facebook page.

"We are sad to announce that the Kamas Theater is now closed due to difficulties with our lease. We are grateful for the continuously growing support we experienced from the community over the three and a half years that we have been serving the Kamas Valley and beyond. We have come to love the people and even the old building which holds so much history and a special place in the hearts of many. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause."

Sharee Harris, who along with her husband Kevin, have run the theater for 3 ½ years, confirmed the news.

"We are letting people know through Facebook," Harris told The Park Record. "We’ve lease issues with the owner, and there’s not much else we can say."

Kamas Theater owner John Crandall, who also owns the Gem Theater in Panguitch, did not return calls to The Park Record by press time.

The closing saddens Harris.

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"Last Saturday, we screened ‘The Polar Express’ and the theater was completely packed," Harris said. "It felt so alive and it was so much fun."

Among the highlights of running the theater was acquiring a digital projector, Harris said.

In 2011, the Sundance Film Festival told the family that the Kamas Theater’s 35 mm projectors would not facilitate digital films. So the Harris family and community members embarked on a fundraising campaign to purchase a new $45,000 digital projector.

The city filed for and received a $35,000 Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which paid for the bulk of the projector.

An RBEG provides funds "for rural projects that finance and facilitate development of small and emerging rural businesses," according to the USDA.

Since Kamas filed for the grant, the city has acquired the projector, Harris said.

Harris also has fond memories of screening films for special interest groups.

"We did that for children who have had heart transplants and other ailments and they would come with their families," Harris said. "I would look and see these kids with big trials in front of them, but felt good that we were helping in some way."

When the theater wasn’t screening films, it was presenting live plays or hosting birthday parties.

"We’ve had great crowds and got to know all those who have participated in these productions," Harris said.

The productions also connected the Harrises with other families in the community.

"There were many times when a child would be cast and we would need additional cast members, so their moms or dads would join the cast," Harris said. "We even had a couple who met during a play and they’re married now."

Now, the only thing left to do is move forward.

"We have to get over the sadness and heartbreak of it all and focus on our family," she said.