Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Fall 2013 Newsletter

Campaign aims to modernize projection equipment, screen in Center's theater space


Charles N. Prothro Theater

In 2003, when the first two floors of the Ransom Center were renovated, the addition of the Charles N. Prothro Theater was created to provide a venue for lectures, music recitals, film screenings, and other presentations. Over the years, the theater has been an invaluable space for these events and has helped the Center fulfill its commitment to share its collections with students, scholars, and the public.

The Ransom Center's free movie screenings using a basic projector have been enormously popular and well attended. Past film series have complemented exhibitions such as Making Movies and Becoming Tennessee Williams. This summer's Sport Film Series included the classics Bang the Drum Slowly, The Natural, and Raging Bull to accompany the exhibition Literature and Sport.

With the shift from motion picture film to digital projection in the film industry, the opportunity for the Prothro Theater to provide high-quality movie screenings has now become a viable option. As a result, the Ransom Center is planning to upgrade its projection and sound equipment to the standards that commercial theaters and our peer institutions provide. A new screen is included in the renovation budget, as well as other enhancements to the theater.

By updating the Prothro Theater, the Ransom Center would be able to present movies with professional-level quality, enriching the audience's viewing experience. Films remain immensely popular and encourage visits from both students and the general public. Furthermore, proper projection equipment would enable the Center to serve as a venue for film festivals, bringing new audiences and filmmakers into the building, as well as forging partnerships with other community organizations and events.

According to Curator of Film Steve Wilson, the renovation would further enhance the Ransom Center's reputation. "It would demonstrate to actors, screenwriters, and directors who may be considering placing their archives here that we have full projection capabilities and are committed to an active screening program."

Fundraising efforts have begun, and the Ransom Center has raised nearly 65 percent of the estimated cost needed to complete the project. If fundraising is successful, the renovation could be completed in time for the Ransom Center's 2014 Gone With The Wind exhibition, which will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the film. Exhibition-related programming would include screenings in the upgraded Prothro Theater.

If you would like to support this renovation project, please call Margie Rine at 512-471-9643.  

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