FAQs

Who built the Bohm Theatre?

The theatre was built by an accomplished musician by the name of George A. Bohm (1890-1951). He was born and raised in Albion but served in the navy during World War I as a clarinetist in John Phillip Sousa’s famous 300 piece band.

Bohm opened his first theater in 1915, only to close it after purchasing the Censor Theatre in 1916. There he established himself as the “king of motion pictures” in Albion.

The current Bohm Theatre was built and opened on Christmas Day in 1929. After running the Censor Theatre for 15 years, Bohm closed it and instead operated fully from his new spacious facilities.

Who designed the Bohm Theatre?

The theatre was designed by Christian W. Brandt, an architect born in Columbus, Ohio but who re-located to Detroit to work for the large architectural and engineering firm Smith, Hinchman and Grylls. He established his own office in 1915 and became known for designing factories, foundries and theaters. Albion’s connection to Detroit’s automobile industry, in addition to Brandt’s experience in that realm and his interest in theaters is likely what brought him in contact with George Bohm.

Who owns and operates the Bohm Theatre now?

In 2010, the Albion Community Foundation and Albion Downtown Development Authority came together and created the Friends of the Bohm Theatre as a 501(c)3 charitable tax exempt organization. This advisory board was formed to determine how to save the Bohm Theatre and soon developed into a nonprofit organization which now operates the theatre.

What is a 501(c)3 organization?

The Bohm Theatre is a nonprofit organization that has received charitable status from the IRS. Donations to the Friends of the Bohm Theatre are tax deductible. Grants, sponsorship, memberships and donations go to support our special programming for our community.

For additional information on 501c3 charitable nonprofit designation.

Besides films, what other events does the Bohm Theatre host?

In addition to films, the Bohm hosts several other artistic, cultural and educational events. Our live events have included musical concerts, Blues At the Bohm, and more recently, our Comedy night. Although we take pride in hosting local talent at these events, we have also been joined by nationally recognized performers including Brian Vander Ark of the Verve Pipe and country singer Mandy Barnett. We have also hosted numerous educational events such as an MLK Convocation, several Big Read Free lectures, and the 4-H Creative and Expressive Arts Summer Program.

Why can’t the Bohm Theatre break even?  Why does it need contributions to balance the budget?

Overt time, the key economic driver for movie theatres changed from the number of seats to the number of screens. With only a single screen, the Bohm Theatre could not compete with modern multiplexes. Add that to the substantial cost to maintain an 86 year old building, and the term “nonprofit” comes into sharper focus.

The theatre’s continued success would not be possible without the generosity of the members, donors and corporate sponsors who recognize its value to our community.

The Bohm’s plight is not unique: America’s downtown movie palaces have been disappearing at an alarming rate over the past 30 years. Because of the economic pressures facing theatres like this one, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has named downtown single-screen theatres to its “most endangered places” list.

Is the Bohm Theatre financially sound?

Yes, with the community’s help. Although the management team keeps the Bohm Theatre active with films, concerts, and special events, it is only with the help of private contributions that the Theatre is able to fund restoration projects and guarantee excellence in programming.

Why can’t we get the movie you want to see?

We have to negotiate for every movie we get and must maintain a contract with all distribution companies like Universal, Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox. Because we are a single screen theatre, movies that open in limited release are usually not available to us until they have been out for several weeks. In order to secure a new release, we must commit to the film for a minimum of two weeks, and often three if the movie is anticipated to do well (e.g. Mockingjay). In most cases we are also not allowed to have any other public events during that timeframe, with the exception of early morning or midnight movies. This is why our classics and kids films are at 10:00 and 11:00 am. Often we are not able to book movie until the week they are being released, or a week or two in advance at most. We can request films, but they will not confirm them.

What was the total cost for the historic restoration of the Bohm Theatre?

Total restoration/campaign cost: $3.42 million restoration, $250,000 endowment, $440,000 of in-kind development costs

Remaining construction debt: $327,000

Help us pay off our remaining debt. 

What does it cost to show a film?

Special presentations, such as our classic films and kids matinees, which are older films, cost between $200-$350 to book, including shipping or purchase of a DVD. Studios receive a percent of the ticket sales for new releases, with minimum guarantees required. 60% is the average amount going to the studio, but if a film is not well attended, you may need to pay more to meet the minimum guarantee. For example, we had to guarantee the studio $1,500 for the Hobbit movie. These licensing fees do not include staffing or facility overhead costs.

Can a company rent out the Bohm for a special event?

Yes. Please review our rental page for more information. If you have more questions, feel free to email our Executive director at director@bohmtheatre.org

Is the Bohm accessible for patrons with disabilities?

The Bohm has made accommodations for patrons with disabilities. Currently, the main floor of the Theatre is barrier free and ADA-compliant restrooms are located just around the corner from the lobby. Locations for wheelchair seating are provided on the left and right of the auditorium seating sections. The balcony is not accessible except by stairs.

Listening devices for patrons with hearing disabilities are also available.

Is the Bohm Theatre really haunted?

Any old theatre worth its salt has a ghost or two, so we’d be happy to tell you about them on your next visit to the Bohm.