Temple Theatre: New Owner, New Look

By: Tametria Conner Email
By: Tametria Conner Email

He's only six months on the job, and Temple Theatre Owner Roger Smith is getting down and dirty with the grunt work and the hard labor of revamping this theatre.

"It's been fun, but it's also a lot of hard work," Smith said.

Smith says he's not feeding into the misconception of him being some rich Texan that threw his money at a small theatre in Meridian, but Smith says he's taking roots and has high hopes for this theatre. In fact, Smith lives in the theatre and plans on making it his home for good. He has made a few rooms upstairs his apartment which is a far cry from millionaire living.

"I'm just a regular guy that wanted to buy a theatre that happened to be in Meridian," Smith said.

And Smith says the ball is rolling on interior renovations such as painting...you see bright, vibrant colors in the foyer and on this newly painted gold fountain.

But he says there's one hang up, for some reason the people are not showing up in numbers to shows. He says sometimes 800 may show up and then for another show the numbers drastically decrease. He says he's still wanting to increase the number of African American shows, but he needs help for community leaders with ideas.

But Smith says he's not giving up on his vision but he says the community has to see this theatre as an investment and support it.

"But we're positive and we're really trying to do what we can to make things work."

He says for now, he's footing the bill for utilities, the mortgage note, other overhead costs...putting in about $5,000 dollars a month of his own money because he's not breaking even, better yet profiting from sales.

"We're still strapped every month, trying to make ends meet," Smith said.

He's hoping with the theatre's new non-profit status, organizations will make charitable donations to keep the Temple thriving. Smith is planning a fundraiser event next month.

"Anybody that cares about the Temple Theatre, we need your help," Smith said.

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