When "you-know-what" hit the United States in March of 2020, the Colonial Theatre marquee went dark and stopped showing films to its Midcoast citizenry. The last time this happened? A mere 97 years prior, after the original building burned to the ground.

With an anticipated reopening date of June 18, the Colonial Theatre will follow the letter and spirit of the CDC guidelines and established industry standards for movie theater operation.

“This has been an unprecedented time in the world of filmmaking and film exhibition. That said, we are going to reopen the theatre with zeal and gusto under the operational management of Kyle Walton,” said Colonial co-owner Mike Hurley. “Kyle’s been a Colonial patron since the '90s and has worked for the theatre in three distinct portions of his career… we’re psyched to have him lead our team from front of house.”

After working with Colonial Theatre co-owners Therese Bagnardi and Mike Hurley in various capacities for an elapsed time of nearly 20 years, and managing its digital content for eight, Walton has become intimately aware of how the Colonial needs to operate in the late stages of a pandemic. With a background in film and new media production from work with legacy outfits like The Maine Outdoor Film Festival, Maine Media Workshops + College, and News Center Maine, Walton is bringing a depth of experience to the new role of operations manager.

COVID-19 precautions, such as hand sanitizing stations, a partitioned front counter, alternate row seating, universal mask-wearing (except when seated), and a newly trained staff, will be in place. All of the management and staff of the Colonial Theatre are doing everything possible to reopen its doors with caution and diligence in a quickly changing situation.

“The movies are back and we are opening our doors and putting films back on screen,” said Hurley. “There are so many great movies lining up in every genre and we just can’t wait to welcome the people back inside. We’ll see you at the movies.”

The Colonial is a locally-owned three-screen cinema located at 163 High St. in downtown Belfast. Unforgettable fact: Its 1912 opening night was the same night that the Titanic set sail. Known worldwide for a brightly painted art deco façade and a life-sized elephant on the roof, the Colonial Theatre is one of Maine’s most-storied movie theaters. Visit colonialtheater.com for more information.