Day Trippin’ – The Mar-Va Theater
Rain, rain go away…
So far, fall weather has been picture-perfect. Last weekend’s beach weather made for ideal, outdoor Day Trippin’, but as the saying goes, you can’t win ‘em all. The end of week and weekend forecasts are grim, and one look outside will tell you that outdoor adventures will be significantly hampered for the next few days. So what do we do when it’s raining? Movies! Rainy days are practically synonymous with movies and popcorn, whether it’s snuggled up on the couch, or tucked away in the darkness of your local movie theater. While there are a number of movie theaters to patronize across Delmarva, the Mar-Va Theater in Pocomoke offers a unique experience, prompting us to take a rainy-Day Trippin’ to Pocomoke for movies and live entertainment.
Located in downtown Pocomoke City, the Mar-Va Theater has been a staple in the community since 1927, making it one of the few remaining links to Pocomoke’s historic past. The Mar-Va Theater was built in 1927 by Mr. and Mrs. Frank Barlett of Berlin, MD, using the finest materials of the time, many of which are still intact today. The theater opened its doors on December 1, 1927, with John and Lester Fox managing the theater while J. Dawson Clarke played the piano as accompaniment to the silent movies of the time. Clarke would later become the owner of the theater, along with his wife, in 1967. From 1927 until closing its doors in 1993, the Mar-Va Theater remained one of the most popular theaters on Delmarva, with theatergoers traveling from all over the peninsula to watch newsreels, movies, and Vaudeville shows. The Mar-Va was played by many famous performers over the years, including Tom Mix, Roy Rogers, Hop-a-Long Cassidy and Smiley Burnett. Unfortunately, after significant water damage, the Mar-Va closed its doors in 1993. Thanks to the collective efforts of the local community, the decision to restore the theater to its formal glory was brought to fruition and the theaters’ door were opened once again.
Over the years, the theater has undergone a number of renovations, and after many costly renovations, the theater was able to reopen in recent years, bringing the theaters charm and affordable prices back to the area. The $5 movies are popular amongst local residents and visitors, and while the ticket prices were just ten cents when the doors opened in 1927, $5 is still a pretty good deal for a movie ticket today. In addition to purchasing movie tickets, patrons can also purchase an actual seat for $200. The $200 donation yields donors a permanent nameplate affixed to the back of their seat of choice. Donors of $500 or more are featured on the permanent plaque mounted in the lobby.
Giving to the Mar-Va Theater can mean a variety of things, whether it’s donating money, your time, items on the Mar-Va wish list, or becoming a member of the MTPAC. Donations are what keep the theater open, affordable and available for community members, keeping a small piece of history alive in downtown Pocomoke. Donations have become more important to the theater this year, due to the elimination of 35mm films by the Film Industry. The result has been the inevitable shuttering of a number of small theaters across the country; however the Mar-Va Theater and community members are fighting to keep the theater thriving and open. For more information on how you can help, contact the Mar Va Theater.
For a rainy night out this week, we suggest centering your day trip around tonight’s $5 show, The Breakfast Club, starting at 7pm. Hands down one of our favorite 80’s classics, there’s no better way to beat rainy day blues than by watching one of your favorite movies on the big screen with a bag of piping hot popcorn. And since the weekend appears to be more of the same weather wise, consider heading to the Mar-Va Theater for a live performance by Twist & Shout, a Beatles Tribute Band, this Saturday, October 12. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. The show starts at 7pm.
In addition to older movies, the Mar-Va also hosts newer movies that are shown on the 1st and 3rd weekends of every month. Throwback Thursdays are held on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month, excluding the summer months. Live events are held throughout the year and include plays, concerts, ballet productions, weddings, reunions, fundraisers, competitions, and more. The Mar-Va Theater is featuring a production of Annie this year for the holiday season, with an amazing cast of local talent. Tickets go on sale October 14th, with performance dates scattered throughout December.
The Mar-Va also offers rentals, private showings, class reunions and tours. Anyone is welcome to rent the theater, either for non-profit or for standard rentals. Private showings are also available. Showings can either be of any movie in DVD form or of newer movies if visiting on the weekend of scheduled showings. For tours, 2 weeks advanced notice is required and are by appointment only. Tours are $4 per person and allow guests to see the ins and outs of the theater while seeing history restored. Another unique option is to hold a class reunion at the Mar-Va Theater. Tables can be brought in for a catered dinner as well as a digital projector, allowing for memorable slideshows of previous years.
While Day Trippin’ in Pocomoke, whether it’s for tonight’s Throwback Thursday show or in the future, there are a number of shops and restaurants to visit while ducking the winds, rain, and chillier fall temperatures. ShoreBread visited the Delmarva Discovery Center this summer during our Day Trippin’ adventures, and we’re already ready for round 2.
Until next time…