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Brookhaven Little Theatre’s new cinema tradition

Photo by Aaron Paden/ One by one, over 170 kids from Bogue Chitto and 30 homeschoolers stop by the historic downtown Haven Theatre to grab a bag of popcorn and watch "Polar Express" Wednesday.

Photo by Aaron Paden/
One by one, over 170 kids from Bogue Chitto and 30 homeschoolers stop by the historic downtown Haven Theatre to grab a bag of popcorn and watch “Polar Express” Wednesday.

Brookhaven Little Theatre is boarding the Polar Express Saturday.

“[The ‘Polar Express’ is] a movie about a little boy who isn’t quite sure what he believes about Christmas and Santa Claus,” BLT board member Emily Waterloo said. “A magical train shows up Christmas Eve, and takes him on a journey. It’s a great Christmas tradition that a lot of families watch together. What we’re trying to do is a tradition where kids come with their parents or family and watch it all together in a theater experience.”

Cinema is a new experience for BLT. According to Waterloo, The Haven was originally one of three cinemas in Brookhaven, but this is the first year that BLT is experimenting with the medium.

“This fall, one of our goals was to start looking into doing movies at our theater in-between our theater plays that we do on stage, and we got licensing through Warner Brothers. So we’re licensed to do Warner Brothers films in our theater, and we’re working on licenses for our other films,” Waterloo said. “At Halloween we showed ‘Harry Potter.’ Halloween Night we showed ‘Twilight Zone.’ That was our first little soft opening of doing movies, and we got a good response from it. We’re just learning. It’s a learning process to figure out how and when to show movies and which movies to show.”

There is room for up to 300 attendees at Haven Theatre. “Polar Express” will be shown at 4 p.m. Saturday and tickets will be sold for $10 starting at 3. Attendees will get popcorn and a drink, and children will get a “Polar Express” bell at the end. Miss Merry Christmas Morgan Wallis will greet children as they enter, and they’ll have access to a free hot chocolate bar complete with marshmallows.

“You get a lot for your $10,” Waterloo said.

Along with the showing for families Saturday, Waterloo said BLT has been providing a venue for local schools to have a field trip this week. By the end of the week, nearly 1,200 local children will have seen the movie with their class.

“They get popcorn and a drink, so they get to go through the theater experience, and they get to learn about what the theater offers here,” Waterloo said. “Most of the children that have come in so far have never even stepped foot into our Brookhaven Little Theatre. We’re just wanting to expose them to the arts and culture in our town, as well as show a movie for their field trip for Christmas.”

Waterloo said schools can contact BLT in January to reserve a spot for another field trip in the late spring. She wasn’t ready to announce the title, but she said it will be based on a classic children’s novel.