February 24, 2024
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By Annie Krall

This nostalgic cinema space, which is aimed at providing entertainment to the local community, will be re-opened by its new owners with a view to offering more.

This weekend, a beloved St. Charles movie theater reopened after being forced to close due to a fire.

Anthony Nolen is the co-owner and manager of St. Andrews Cinema.

The St. Andrews Cinema suffered roof holes after a fire that occurred in 2019. This allowed the rain to enter. Vandals caused damage to the space after it was abandoned. The new owners also claimed that people lived inside the St. Charles closed theater.

Nolen stated, “This kind of poverty exists around us.” This left a huge hole in our community. This allowed for it to become a breeding place for such things. “We hope that we can be the catalyst to help these people turn around — not push them away and give them better chances.”

Local artists, including Willie Butler III, one of the co-owners and local artist painted movie characters on those damaged halls.

Butler stated, “This is a safety zone.” It’s safe for kids to go after school. The place is affordable and a great location. This is no longer an abandoned area. It was terrible. “We cleaned it really well.”

The grand opening was sold out on Friday. About 240 people attended the Rocky Horror Picture Show at midnight.

Owners said it wasn’t an easy task to overcome all obstacles. One of the projectors didn’t work, so the plan to screen Back to the Future was not realized. Instead, a Home Alone 1 & 2 double-feature was shown.

Nolen explained, “[Taking] a big breath in at a go is all that you can do.” That’s exactly what we did. We still have a lot to do but now we hope it is safe.

In the theatre, which can accommodate 250 people, there will be permanent seating instead of folding chairs. Nolen and his wife Krystal Nolen met Butler, a local entrepreneur, when Anthony was 13 and they were playing football.

They now run a St. Louis barbecue catering business that provides food in the theatre.

On Wednesdays, the cost of a movie is only $1. This keeps the price affordable and accessible for everyone.

St. Andrews will be playing old movies, like The Goonies from Sunday. Owners plan to host comedy shows, and possibly a job fair at the facility.

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