Return of the Roxie: SF Nonprofit Cinema Cautiously Reopens

Roxie Theater members at a preview event in May 2021 before the cinema’s reopening.

Courtesy of the Roxie Theater

Roxie Theater members at a preview event in May 2021 before the cinema’s reopening.

With vaccination rates on the rise and lockdown restrictions lifting, audiences are returning to indoor venues. For community cinemas like the Roxie Theater, reopening is emotional. The Roxie’s executive director Lex Sloan told “Civic” that limited seating for recent screenings sold out quickly, filling her with hope that cinephiles are eager to return in person. Sloan also reflected on the upcoming Frameline film festival and improvements being made to the theater.

“There is nothing like being in a theater with people, experiencing emotions with strangers. And over the last two weeks of us being open and actually having people back in the theater, it’s just a feeling like no other. When you’re streaming, it’s so easy to get distracted. It’s so easy to kind of tune out. And you’re often doing it just in your own bubble. With being in the theater, with being in the Roxie, even socially distanced — it’s hearing people laugh together. It’s just like, ‘Wow.’ And hearing people clap together. I’ve been just really amazed by how happy people are to be back here.”

— Lex Sloan

A segment from our radio show and podcast, “Civic.” Listen daily at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on 102.5 FM in San Francisco, and subscribe on Apple, Google, Spotify or Stitcher