posted August 12, 1997

Changes at the Knickerbocker

 Greater campus demand for live-performance space has prompted Hope College to reduce the scope of the film series presented at the Knickerbocker Theatre downtown.

"The increasing desire to use the Knickerbocker as a
venue for live events has made it difficult both for the
film series and for the people wanting to do live events,"
said Dr. William Reynolds, dean for the arts and humanities
at Hope. "Although the film series is educational, the
college views the live events that are being put on by and
for Hope students as more central to our educational
mission, and we felt that they deserved greater
consideration."

"We're not, however, giving up the films entirely,"
Reynolds said. "The theatre will continue to show films of
the type that we have had before, but on a more limited
basis to better accommodate other uses."

Hope has operated the Knickerbocker Theatre since 1988,
and has shown primarily art and foreign films. Each fall,
spring and summer film season has run approximately 14
weeks.

A four-week series is being planned for the coming
fall, with the schedules for the spring and summer still to
be determined.

With the college short on auditorium space, other
demands for the Knickerbocker Theatre, which seats more than
500, have grown steadily through the years,
according to Reynolds. Even with the longer film series
running, the theatre has hosted live Hope events ranging
from activities for New Student Orientation, to readings
through the Visiting Writers Series, dance concerts, the
Great Performance Series, Alumni Association activities, and
programs of the student Social Activities Committee.

One problem for the film series, Reynolds noted, is
that such events can require the space not only on the days
they're presented, but also for set-up and removal, often
disrupting the film schedule for multiple days. At the same
time, he said, the desire to disrupt the schedule as little
as possible kept Hope from using the theatre for even more
activities.

This year's fall film series, which is still being
booked, will run October 24 through November 22, and a
similar, four-week model is one option being considered for
the spring semester. The nature of the 1998 summer season
has not yet been determined--although Reynolds said that
it's possible that the absence of school-year needs will
make the changes less dramatic.

The current summer series will run through Thursday,
Aug. 21. The film "Anna" is showing through Thursday, Aug.
21.

The Knickerbocker is closed on Sundays. Additional
information about showing of "Anna" may be obtained by
calling (616) 395-4950.