A remarkable thing happened last year.
In the midst of a grim pandemic, a group of Westporters had a cool (and crazy) idea: a drive-in theater.
They got permission. They got the screen. They got going.
The original permit was for 4 shows. The project was a smash. The Remarkable Theater ended the season with 51 screenings.
Beyond movies, the Imperial Avenue parking lot was the site for nearly 2 dozen special events: fundraisers for non-profits, Supper & Soul concerts, and the showing of a Staples High School boys soccer game.
This Thursday (April 8), the Remarkable Theater returns for its 2nd year.
That’s not really remarkable. In just a few months, the drive-in became a cherished Westport tradition.
Thursday’s movie is “Vacation.” It’s followed on Friday (April 9) by “Ratatouille,” and Saturday by “When Harry Met Sally.”
Tuesday (April 13) brings “Minari,” a new release about a Korean-American family that moves to Arkansas in search of the American dream. It’s preceded by a 5-minute video, produced by Remarkable, in which Westport Asian-Americans discuss recent hate crimes.
Those 4 films are just sneak previews –“like spring training in baseball, or a restaurant soft opening,” says Remarkable artistic director Doug Tirola.
Official opening night (Thursday, April 15) kicks off with “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” featuring beloved Westporter Paul Newman. Upcoming films will be announced April 14.
The 2021 season runs through Halloween. It will be remarkable in many ways. Low-key — but very important — is the theater’s mission of hiring people with disabilities. In fact, they’re the only paid employees. It’s a win-win-win: for them, the theater, and Westport. (For information on employent, email firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Movies begin at 7:30 p.m. The lot opens for tailgating at 6:30. There is no concession stand, so Tirola suggests picking up food from local restaurants or markets.
Tickets are $50 per car. Click here to purchase (they go fast!).
Don’t forget lawn chairs, so you can sit — socially distanced and masked — at this remarkable Westport venue.
BONUS REEL 1: The Remarkable Theater needs volunteers to help with check-in and parking. Families, friend groups, organizations, sports teams — all are welcome. You can watch the movie for free — and your name is on the screen. To help, email email@example.com.
BONUS REEL 2: The Remarkable Theater is always looking for interns. This year they’ll help produce the short content that’s shown before every movie. Interested? email firstname.lastname@example.org.
BONUS REEL 3: The non-profit theater relies on ticket sales and donations. More funding is needed to make this year a reality. If you give $5,000 or more, your name will appear on the screen before every movie. To contribute, click here. Or donate via Venmo: @BeRemarkable.
BONUS REEL 4: Click below, for an actual “reel”: the trailer for the Remarkable Theater’s 2021 season. It’s a minute of pure fun!