Progress but no lease deal on Strand and Capawock theater reboot

In this photo from 2007, moviegoers line up to enter the Capawock on Main Street, Vineyard Haven. — MV Times File Photo

Mark Snider, founding director of the Martha’s Vineyard Theater Foundation (MVTF), told The Times on Wednesday that fundraising to renovate the Strand and Capawock theaters continues to be brisk, and the nonprofit MVTF is within $300,000 of its $1,000,000 goal. Mr. Snider earlier said that the million-dollar mark needs to be reached by April 1 for the theaters to be open for business by this Memorial Day weekend.

Last Thursday, a press release from the MVTF announced that the Hall family, owners of the theaters, had agreed to 20-year leases on both theaters if the fundraising effort meets the April 1 goal. When negotiations started, Mr. Snider sought a 10-year lease, which was subsequently lengthened to 12.

Mr. Snider has been in negotiations with Ben Hall Jr., co-owner of the theaters, for over a month, and still hasn’t signed on the dotted line.
“The process has taken longer than I’d hoped,” Mr. Snider said. “Mr. Hall had some other pressing business this week, but we are meeting at 2:30 pm today.”

Mr. Snider said he did not expect the Wednesday meeting to yield a final agreement. “I’m doing everything I can to bring this to closure,” he said. “The Halls are working hard, we’re working hard to bring this to fruition. We’ve gotten through all the business issues. Now there are just the legal issues to go over. I want this signed sooner than anyone else wants it signed.”

Mr. Snider has recruited a board of directors that includes West Tisbury author Geraldine Brooks, singer Carly Simon, businessman David Grain of Chilmark, and seasonal residents Peter Givertzman of Tisbury and Gwen Adams Norton of Oak Bluffs.