The Leavitt Theatre in Ogunquit, Maine has been a family-run institution since 1924. Owned and operated by the Leavitt family through the Great Depression and World War II, it has changed hands only twice. Peter Clayton purchased the Leavitt in 1976, and it has been in his family ever since.
This year, the theater passed to new – considerably younger management. Peter’s son, Max Clayton, 31 took over the business from his father. Along with his 24-year-old partner, Emily Knight, he is making some strategic changes to help keep the iconic landmark going strong.
Clayton has “worked” at the Leavitt in some fashion since the age of four when he first perched atop his father’s lap in the ticket booth. Since then he has mastered just about every cinema duty, from ticket taking to concessions, janitorial work and even operating the projectors.
In his short time running the Leavitt, Clayton has implimented several exciting improvements. The back of the theater now features a restaurant and bar known as the Leavitt Lounge. They serve a variety of beers, wines and cocktails, including those made from their house-infused vodka or coconut rum.
Instead of popcorn and candy, movie-goers can enjoy charcuterie, lobster rolls, brown sugar bourbon roasted chicken and chocolate-covered strawberries while they watch the film.
Clayton opted to preserve the theater’s original wooden seats that date back to the 1920’s, but he has also added couches and hi-top tables for guests looking for a more intimate viewing experience.
On top of the aesthetic changes, Clayton is working to change the Leavitt’s reputation as a simple one-screen theater to a nighttime hotspot. The cinema/lounge is now open until 1 AM and features new theme nights.
Mondays are for live jazz, Wednesdays offer “classic surf films as well as live stream international surf contests and even local surf footage!” Guests can enjoy the “hottest Euro beats” every Thursday from DJ Mihai.
Although the Leavitt has just one screen, guests are drawn by special events such as regular screenings of “Jaws,’’ surf films, and cult classics. They also host an annual music festival called Leavittfest and welcome comedians, local bands and other live events.
“It’s not just a movie theater, that’s for sure. . . . it’s a beloved, historic icon in the center of Ogunquit that has been able to adapt with the times,’’ Sarah J. Potter, president of the Ogunquit Chamber of Commerce, told Boston.com. “We love having it in town.’’
The Leavitt is one of the oldest theaters in southern Maine and the only cinema left in Ogunquit.
H/T to Boston.com
Featured Image via Facebook/Leavitt Theatre