One of province’s last drive-in theatres not expected to operate this summer

Staff ~ The Cape Breton Post
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SYDNEY - The curtain on Cape Breton’s theatre under the stars appears to have come down, at least for this season anyway.

Previews play at the Cape Breton Drive-In Theatre in this August 2013 file photo.

A sign outside of the Cape Breton Drive-In, a fixture for movie buffs since 1975, indicates the popular outdoor theatre will not operate during the 2014 season.The drive-in is typically open from May 1 through to the Thanksgiving long weekend, but has not opened this season. 

A spokesperson for the theatre declined an interview at this time, but some insight into the closure is available on a Facebook page devoted to the theatre.

“This year the Cape Breton Drive-In Theatre is in a year of transition,” said the note from theatre management.

“The drive-in is going through an ownership change and also a need for capital investment to upgrade the latest required digital technology. We are closing in 2014 because of the needed technology upgrades to run the theatre.”

The message also indicates theatre management is focusing efforts on ways to enhance the overall family experience because management hopes to reopen in 2015.

In October, Angelo Sifnakis, who runs the drive-in, told the Cape Breton Post movie studios are phasing out 35-millimetre film prints and will soon be switching exclusively to an all-digital distribution system.

That leaves drive-in theatre owners grappling with whether to close their gates or gamble that the costs of the digital conversion will pay off in the end.

Sifnakis said he’s also looking at expanding the drive-in into a recreation park with play areas for children and possibly camping facilities.

“It has to be feasible for the drive-in to keep running,” he said. “So if people don’t support it, it’s hard to keep something open.”

“We are going to try,” he said.

Last year, the drive-in employed 13 people, either full or part-time.


Organizations: Cape Breton Post

Geographic location: Cape Breton Drive

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