Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Experience The Matthews Opera House during The Foreign Film Festival

As the Foreign Film Festival at the Matthews Opera House winds to an end this upcoming weekend, I feel it is completely necessary to share my experience. Throughout the month of January, the Matthews Opera House has hosted a Foreign Film Festival. A different film is shown each sunday. The first three films were "Secrets & Lies", "Amelie", and "Europa Europa". In my experience, a unique film in the ambiance of the Matthews was the  perfect way to spend a dreary sunday afternoon in January.

For starters, a trip to the Matthews Opera House is always an experience.The building is absolutely gorgeous! The Matthews originally opened in 1906. At that time, it hosted a number of traveling repertory companies. Throughout the 1920's, the Matthews was used primarily as a movie house. In 1930, ownership changed hands, leaving the Matthews Opera House to be used for a variety of purposes from a practice basketball court to a shooting gallery to an occasional dance hall. It is even said that parachutes were packed at the Matthews during World War II. It was not until the 1950's that a group of Black Hills State University students attempted to bring theater back to the Matthews Opera House. Their dream was short lived. Again, in the 1960's, another group of students formed a small theater company and began a small renovation on the building. As time went on, popularity grew once again. By the 1980's it was decided that major restoration work would be needed. Work on the historic building continued for years and was finally completed in 2006. Knowing its background, it is awe-inspiring to sit in the dark theatre and ponder the entertainment and the history that has passed through that building.

With that, the Foreign Film Festival offers great entertainment. When you arrive, pick up your tickets at the box office. Admission is only $8. Be sure to hit the concessions before you get settled. A glass of wine or a bag of popcorn can enhance any movie experience. Pick up a program on your way in the door to learn more about the film and upcoming events at the Matthews Opera House. Before the film starts, there is a brief and informational introduction. Learning more about the film, director, and entertainers, made it easy and fun to spot details that I otherwise would have missed. Although I can only vouch for one of the films, "Amelie" was fantastic!

Sunday, January 27th is your last chance to attend the Foreign Film Festival. The French film, "La Cage Aux Folles" will be shown at 2 pm and 6 pm. Come see a great film and experience the Matthews Opera House!

- Cortney Slaight of Visit Spearfish, Inc.