STONINGTON — The first weekend of drive-in movies offered by Opera House Arts (OHA) at the Stonington ball field, featuring “The Call of the Wild,” a 2020 release based on the novel by Jack London, was a resounding success drawing more than 100 cars filled with families over three days. Based on popular response, the series is now set to continue throughout the summer. Upcoming titles include the new, live-action version of Disney’s popular “The Lion King” July 17-18; and the 45th anniversary of the first summer blockbuster movie, Stephen Speilberg’s “Jaws” July 24-25.

“I just wanted to thank you all for the fantastic job you did last night with the first drive-in movie,” wrote one movie-goer after opening night. “Every step was well planned and executed, despite the foggy mist. Thanks for a great experience–it was nice to have a bit of Opera House fun in the midst of the Covid quiet.”

Opera House Arts is in the process of re-imagining its programs in response to COVID-19 in order to safely continue to meet its community-based mission. The doors of the nonprofit performing arts center and community gathering space at the Stonington Opera House have been closed since late March. On July 11, a preliminary hybrid event, a meeting of OHA’s Community Advisory Board, was hosted in the lobby and on Zoom, and many future programming ideas were under discussion as OHA works with its community to develop ways to gather and experience the joy, healing, and transformative power of coming together around performing arts experiences.

“We’re grateful to the Town of Stonington for their collaboration on the drive-in movies,” said General Manager Pam Getto. “People were so happy.”

The movies, as well as potentially other events and livestreams, will continue at the ball field Friday and Saturday nights until Labor Day and possibly beyond.

All tickets must be ordered online at operahousearts.org/upcoming. Concession packages including the Opera House’s famous organic popcorn, soft drinks and movie candy can also be pre-ordered and picked up at the gate upon entry. Patrons are welcome to bring picnic suppers. Alcohol is prohibited on the premises.

Gates open at 8 p.m. Patrons are asked to show their ticket confirmation and provide their last name to staff at the gate upon entering. Staff guide patrons in their cars to socially distanced parking spots. The film is currently starting between 8:45 and 9 p.m., as soon as it is dark enough, and this start time will shift earlier as we move into August. The high quality audio broadcast is available to ticket holders via their vehicle’s FM system. In the chance of weather cancellations, emails will be sent to all ticket holders no later than 7 p.m. and online sales will be shut down.

In accordance with state health policies, OHA staff will be wearing face masks at all times. Patrons must stay with their cars to watch the film. Patrons are asked to wear face masks if they need to leave their car for any reason. As restroom facilities will be limited, OHA asks that patrons plan accordingly. 

More information about the upcoming films, film previews, drive-in policies and schedules is available at operahousearts.org/upcoming. Questions can be addressed by calling the Opera House box office at 207-367-2788.

Opera House Arts has a 14-person board of directors and a 22-person community advisory board, chaired by William G. Anderson and Nancy Wilson, respectively. It was founded in 1999 to restore the 1912 Stonington Opera House, on the National Register of Historic Places, and just completed its 20th consecutive season of programming theater, movies, concerts, educational experiences and community events at the Opera House and also at its second venue, the Burnt Cove Church. OHA’s community-based mission is to use the performing arts to foster and promote excellence in all the ways we perform our lives: Incite Art, Create Community.