May 26, 2023

Chris Collier - "From Trombone to Cinema...A Path to Fostering Community"

Chris Collier -

In this episode of “I’m Frickin’ Lonely”, our conversation returns to the world of art, but a very different medium from what we’ve previously covered.  Today we’re talking about cinema…and specifically community cinema.


Our guest is Chris Collier, the Executive Director of Renew Theaters, a nonprofit management company that operates four member-supported theaters in the Greater Philadelphia Region, both in PA and NJ. Each of the theaters is a saved historic theater that now operates to share great films and events, educate the community about the film and media arts, engender a lifelong love of the arts, and to preserve cultural resources of the communities they serve. 


Chris tells us about how an early introduction to cinematic music (specifically the Pink Panther theme) led him to trombone as his instrument of choice.  It’s fascinating to hear how his combined passion for this music genre, along with his community-minded upbringing led him on a path that took him through environmental planning, to conducting, to degrees in Musicology from Dartmouth College and the University of Oxford, with a focus on film music. And then full circle back to his home community to focus on the local cinema experience. 


After speaking with Chris, I now understand the key role that community theaters such as those in Renew’s family of cinemas play in revitalizing neighborhoods and fostering community.  I feel lucky to live in a community that enjoys one of Chris’s babies…the 100-year-old Princeton Garden Theater.  A true gem! 

And they have wonderful films and programs in store…hopefully for the next 100 years!  Thank you Chris!

I hope you will tune in to listen! 


Check out these sites for Renew and its theaters: