Fixing the holes

CALUMET – The buckets keep coming.

The Calumet Theatre’s roof problem accelerated in the spring and continues to get worse, said Laura Miller, executive director of the Calumet Theatre.

The Calumet Theatre is looking to raise about $15,000 to fix the roof. The Keweenaw National Historical Park Advisory Commission has offered a 1-to-1 matching Heritage Grant of $12,500 for the work, which can be used if enough funds are raised by December 2015. Donors have also given about $3,000 earmarked for the work, Miller said.

“We just found more leaks today,” she said. “We’ve got the Calumet Players rehearsing on our stage right now … every time there’s a bad rain, we find more leaks. We really can’t wait until next December to get this taken care of.”

The theatre had planned to use $10,000 collected from its historic preservation fee, which it has collected on most tickets sold in the past four years. Instead, that had to go towards replacing the theatre’s 16-year-old steam furnace when cracks were found in the furnace’s chamber.

The discovery temporarily threatened the cancellation of events – and the return of $20,000 in sold tickets – through the end of the heating season in May. The Theatre Board of Directors used the historic preservation fee money to replace the furnace and update the steam heating system.

“We were very fortunate that one of our directors has a brother in the heating system business down in Illinois,” Miller said. “He found one within days, got a hold of a local contractor and shipped it up here. We were really lucky.”

However, the theatre still has to find money for the total cost of the work, which Miller expects to be around $23,000. The village council of Calumet, which owns the building, was approached for help in May, but said it may be unable to help due to a burdensome winter, Miller said.

Miller hopes to find part of the solution through a pair of upcoming fundraisers. The theatre is hosting its annual gala this Saturday in the theatre’s Red Jacket Ballroom. The Cinema Sensations Gala will celebrate the 114-year history of screening films at the Theatre.

“Films were shown in here as soon as the doors opened,” Miller said.

The gala will include the Movie Memory Board, which will include interviews from people who worked at or attended the theatre. It will also have the unveiling of a 1937 Simplex Magnar projector, as well as a dinner and live and silent auctions.

Items being auctioned off include overnight stays and a Neil Harri picture of the Gull Rock lighthouse valued at $200. The top item, Miller said, is a painted image of the Calumet Theatre, done on a slate from its old roof. The work was appraised at $600.

“It’s one of a kind,” she said.

Tickets are $60 per person or $110 for a couple, part of which is tax-deductible. To reserve seats, call the theatre at 337-2166.

Starting July 1, the theatre will hold its Grand Raffle, which will offer five cash prizes totaling $34,000. Only 1,000 tickets will be available for the raffle, which offers a $20,000 first prize.

Miller encouraged the public to help the theatre raise funds.

“We really hope that the community will support our efforts on this,” she said.