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The Michigan Theater and State Theatre will resume showings with limited capacity on Oct. 9., the Michigan Theater Foundation announced Friday evening.

Both theaters have been closed since the start of the pandemic in March after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered entertainment venues and restaurants to restrict operations. On Sept. 25, Whitmer announced theaters would be permitted to reopen in October.

Russ Collins, executive director and CEO of the Michigan Theater and State Theatre, said the theaters have developed extensive operation plans to keep both patrons and employees safe. This includes a new ticketing software that allows guests to choose seats with their friends and family a safe distance away from other groups of attendees. The air conditioning systems have also been upgraded to pump outside air into the buildings and to prevent the circulation of inside air. 

In the first few weeks of reopening, the theaters will only operate on weekends and will not offer concessions, according to Collins. Patrons will also be required to wear a face covering at all times while inside.

Collins said he anticipates small audiences, at least for a while, due to concerns with safety.

“I’m sure that our attendance will be suppressed for a period of time, a period of months or a year or so, when people are just anxious about going out in public spaces,” Collins said. 

On opening weekend, State Theatre will be showing “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” while Michigan Theater will be screening “The Personal History of David Copperfield.”

The theaters have asked for donations to cope with financial difficulties brought on by the pandemic.

During the summer, the Michigan Theater Foundation started offering online streaming of independent documentaries and films via their website. The theaters also served curbside concessions.

LSA senior Drew Agley began working at State Theatre when she was a freshman. Agley said she is looking forward to seeing the theaters open again.

“As someone who really enjoys working there, I’m really excited with the thought of going back to work, but then also, like most everyone else, a little bit nervous with what it’s going to look like considering the state of things,” Agley said. “Not being able to go in has been a little bit disappointing, so just the fact that we’re going to be able to get back to that makes me happy.”

Daily Staff Reporter Arjun Thakkar can be reached at

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