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Peterborough movie theater passes Kickstarter fundraising goal.

PETERBOROUGH — An unexpected $10,000 pledge put the Peterborough Community Theatre’s $45,000 Kickstarter fundraising drive over the top Tuesday evening, sending theater owners Roy and Judy Mills to the phones to thank supporters and start arrangements for the delivery of a digital projection system.

The Millses had started a campaign, under the headline “Go Digital or Go Dark” in order to raise enough money so the 99-year-old theater could make the conversion to the latest technology, a change made necessary because the movie industry is rapidly moving away from providing 35 millimeter film.

“What put us over the top was one single large donor,” Roy Mills said on Wednesday. “We know who made the donation. It was someone who said they would help and they came through. But donations had been climbing really steady since the article in last week’s paper. And then I was on WMUR TV. So it had been pretty steady all weekend.”

Roy would not identify the large donor. He said more than 400 people had made Kickstarter donations, many of those just in the past few days.

“It’s been a great community effort,” he said. “I’m amazed. It looked pretty dark for a while. Now it’s a go and hopefully we’ll be up and running by summer.”

Judy said she clicked on the Kickstarter website Tuesday night after dinner.

“I knew we were getting close and I was getting excited,” she said. “A $10,000 donation is huge. It put us right over. I’ve had so many calls and emails today. It’s restored my faith in a community working together. Now we’re getting ready to roll.”

Roy was getting dressed to go down to the theater when Judy’s screams of “We’re over, we’re over” gave him the news.

“It was pretty exciting here last night,” he said. “Part of us is in shock. It was like taking a weight off our shoulders. Now we can move on.”

Roy said he had been on the phone Wednesday morning making arrangements for installing the new equipment.

“I’m in the process of getting dates lined up. When I talked in January, they were running about six weeks out. Now I can show them that we have the money so we can schedule a date. I’m going to go with a company from Nebraska that we’ve worked with. They have excellent service in New England, with six technicians in the area.”

Once the new equipment arrives, it will take about a week to install.

The campaign runs for seven more days, so people can still contribute. At noon on Wednesday, the pledged total was $50,241.

“I think I’m going to have enough extra money to go through and replace some the worst torn seats,” Roy said. “And we’ll give it a good cleaning.”

He said the digital conversion will allow the theater to show more than one movie on a given day and also show more trailers. He may be able to expand hours as well.

“Now we have to figure out how to thank everyone,” he said. “I’ll probably do something around the opening weekend. I’m leaning toward a plaque in the lobby for donors in general.”

Dave Anderson can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 233 or danderson@ledgertranscript.com. He’s on Twitter at @DaveAndersonMLT.

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