The Many Community Center is the name for the old Sabine Theater, a single screen movie theater that operated from the early 1940’s until mid 1980’s. The Town of Many paid $10,000 for it in 1992. The Town then applied to the Lt. Governor’s Office to establish a Cultural District, which was approved in 2014.
The first big project was renovating the old theater, naming it The Many Community Center. Through generous donations and some funding from the city, the Cultural District Advisory Committee and Mayor Ken Freeman worked to restore the old theater, a major job. A state-of-the-art commercial movie projection system with surround sound audio was installed.
Before the Center and Cultural District, there was almost nothing to do in Many and the local area. People went to Shreveport, Alexandria and Natchitoches.
“Now they can stay home, see good movies, enjoy music shows, plays, concerts, and more,” said Cultural District Chairperson Mary Brocato. “There’s always something for everyone. We now have a Sabine Parish Student Drama Club that performs a couple of plays every year. Talent shows and people attend and enjoy the events. And we keep it all affordable. Sabine Parish is not a wealthy parish, so we provide activities so people can stay local and have something to do at a price they can afford.”
Free movies are shown on the second and third Saturdays of the month with $1 concessions. Movies feature a wide variety of genres including classics, westerns, children’s movies, recent releases, musicals and more. No movie is rated R, only movies rated G, PG and PG-13 are shown. It’s movies the entire family can attend.
The Center holds Lake Country music shows on the fourth Friday of each month. There are also plays, band concerts, community meetings, gospel singings during the Juneteenth Festival and a variety of other events including the annual Easter Eggstravaganza and the Christmas Party. Kids can meet Santa and the Easter Bunny, receive gifts and watch holiday themed movies.
“This year we hope to add a zombie walk,” said Brocato.
While the whole theatre was renovated in 2014, improvements are continuously being made. Workers installed a new $40,000 32-foot movie screen, and a dance floor for the music shows. Last week 30 new theatre seats were bought to replace some broken, aging ones.
“As we can afford it, we make improvements and upgrades and offer even more cultural activities,” said Brocato. “We will have some opera classes in the fall for local youth. I want to add poetry readings also. So we are always working hard to bring, art, music, cultural activities to the Cultural District, and the Many Community. The Center is the heart of it all.”