Best Hope for an Art Theater

Critics' Pick

James Parrish and Terry Rea are veterans of the local film scene. Rea used to manage the Biograph Theatre and Parrish was co-founder of the James River Film Society, two vital institutions for local film nuts.

So we were happy to learn they were joining forces to open the Bijou Theater, a community art theater and film education center that’s been diligently shopping for a 120-seat storefront theater either in the Broad Street Arts and Cultural District or the blossoming Scott’s Addition.

They’ve held some well-attended fundraisers already at the Byrd Theatre and Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, and the pair is offering a digital transfer service of old home movies to raise money and spread interest in the Bijou.

As Parrish, a noted Tarheel and eloquent spokesman, told Style last fall, “We need a place where we can see great little films, a place where we can eat, drink and talk about these films.” Amen. Lately, the rumor has it that they’ve been entertaining a possible housing alliance with Carol Piersol’s 5th Wall Theatre — though it’s just a nice idea at this point with no location determined.

Whatever happens, we agree with Parrish that, in the best sense, a local-run repertory art cinema inspires all artists to do what they do — and as such, should be a part of any thriving art scene. Plus we’re really sick of people talking during movies.