New owners look to reopen Grove City’s Guthrie Theater

The new owners of Grove City’s Guthrie Theater are seeking to reopen the local landmark with some new flavor.

Veritas Arts, a non-profit independent filmmaking and distribution company, plans to raise the curtain this summer to show independent films and live performances as well as continuing to show first-run features.

“We came to find out that the theater closed and one of our missions is to try to keep historic theaters alive by distributing independent filmmakers’ films to independently owned theaters,” Veritas Art director Bill Grigsby said.

Veritas Arts purchased the theater in December from the Thomas family. Eric Thomas and his wife, Paula, owned the South Broad Street theater for 17 years.

The Guthrie closed last May after water damage was found on the roof and ceiling above the balcony.

Veritas Arts began painting and cleaning soon after making the purchase. The group will host a donors’ reception Saturday to raise funds for the rest of the restoration work.

“We need to raise $100,000 in order to re-open the theater,” Grigsby said. “We have quite a few supporters from Oil City and Franklin.”

The goal is to re-open in June.

“Theater owners have to pay a large percentage of their ticket sales to the studios,” Grigsby said, adding that his group seeks to help theaters offset that cost by distributing independent films for a lower percentage of the sales.

The Guthrie was built in 1926 as a live theater and later began showing silent films. Over the next 92 years it has stood as a staple of Grove City’s Broad Street.

Veritas Arts has made some waves in the independent scene with the release of Spencer Folmar’s 2017 movie “Generational Sins,” which generated some controversy in the Christian entertainment industry for its strong language.

“It was called a Christian film with ‘F-bombs’ in it,” Grigsby said.

Folmar is a Grove City College graduate and the founder and president of Veritas Arts. He coined the term “hard faith” to describe his film’s genre, written to explore matters of faith against the backdrop of the gritty reality of life.

“It’s great that there’s Christian films out there like “God’s Not Dead,” but they’re not realistic,”Grigsby said. “The idea is to make Christian films for the non-Christian viewer, with unbiased truth and a realistic perspective.”

Their most recent project is “Shooting Heroin,” a thriller filmed in central Pennsylvania that tackles the opioid epidemic.

More information on Saturday’s reception can be found at or by calling (724) 458-9420.