Save Our Schine, a local group that advocates for the preservation of the Auburn Schine Theater, held its annual scholarship contest this spring.
The contest asks students to explain in an essay why the historic theater should be restored. The winning essay was written by Paige Lincoln, and has been reprinted below as it was submitted:
Marcus Garvey said, "A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots." Auburn is a city with a long, interesting history. We are the home of Harriet Tubman, William Seward and Thommie Walsh. Many of our families go back generations and some of our buildings are centuries old. People come from miles away to visit Harriet Tubman's home, the Seward House, Fort Hill Cemetery, Merry Go Round Playhouse and Auburn Public Theater. Our Schine Theater has lost its place in that list of places that people come to visit.
Auburn is very lucky to have a strong theater community and a beautiful downtown area. Merry Go Round Playhouse has become home to the Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival. We have the Auburn Players Community Players, Carriage House Theater and Auburn Public Theater. We have numerous dance schools and music studios. The majority of those businesses and private teachers do not have their own performance space. Even though the Schine Theater is located near Auburn Public Theater, I believe that there are enough acts and performers to occupy both spaces without negatively impacting either.
Auburn is also home to two cinemas. They are located outside the city limits on opposite sides of Auburn. Using the Schine Theater for movies, in addition to live performances, would offer a central location for people. Auburn Public Theater has a cinema space as well. Again, I feel that both spaces could be used without hurting either. Auburn's downtown has been growing and bringing back what used to be a busy area. There are restaurants and shops. Majorpalooza now uses downtown for its yearly event, as does the Tomato Fest. Making this area more inviting to local people and those from out of town helps our community's economy.
I would love to see the Schine Theater used like the Landmark Theater is used in Syracuse. Offering both live performances and films, in a central location, would draw many people. Of course, bringing more people downtown would be a bonus. One of our talented music groups, like the Auburn Chamber Orchestra, could accompany a movie screening, as was just done with "Harry Potter" at the Landmark. My private voice teacher presents our recitals in a church in Skaneateles! Wouldn't it be amazing to showcase our local talent in the historic Schine Theater, right here in Auburn?
In conclusion, we have maintained the homes of our famous citizens. We restore our churches and historic homes. The Schine Theater should receive the same respect. Its historic architecture and large space could be used to draw people downtown through different performances. Our community has become known for the arts. Museums, theaters, cinemas, recitals and concerts are a part of Auburn's identity. The Schine Theater brings together Auburn's history, its present and its future. I am proud to say that I am from Auburn, the home of Tubman, Seward, Auburn Public Theater and Merry Go Round Playhouse. I hope to someday add the Schine Theater to that list, and have people know exactly what I am talking about.