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City council adopts policies, procedures for Mars Theatre

POSTED: April 10, 2014 7:15 p.m.

With the grand opening of Springfield’s Mars Theatre two weeks away, city council members approved a list of policies and procedures for the facility Tuesday night.

“It’s pretty commonplace for any public gathering place,” City Manager Brett Bennett said.

“There are going to be people texting and taking pictures and posting to Facebook,” Deadwyler said. “It’s where we are. We do ask people to be considerate. What else can you do?”

Among the adopted standards were the prohibition of video cameras from professional  performances.

The exclusion of video cameras and flash photography from a live professional performance is standard, Springfield cultural affairs Tommy Deadwyler said. The adopted policies and procedures will be posted on the theatre’s Web site, marstheatre.com, and a copy will be kept on the premises.

Deadwyler added he will be at the theatre for every live performance. He also said part of the Mars’ mission is to educate, such as instructing kids on proper theater etiquette.

Council members also included prohibiting firearms in the Mars as part of the policies and procedures.

State lawmakers passed a bill allowing for firearms in government buildings unless there is some kind of screening. House Bill 60 has not been signed by Gov. Nathan Deal.

“There is a gray area,” city attorney Ben Perkins said.

Perkins added that from his conversations with the Georgia Municipal Association, the organization believes HB 60 could be “lawsuit heaven.”

The Mars will have a couple of private events leading up to April 25’s grand opening for those who gave time and money to make the theatre’s rebirth possible.

“We want the place full,” Bennett said.

Deadwyler said invitations to events have been sent out, and the number may be a little in excess of seating capacity. That’s in anticipation that not everybody asked to be there can be.

“We don’t want to overextend where people aren’t comfortable,” Deadwyler said. “But we want a full house.”

The opening of the Mars also is part of bringing more people and business to downtown Springfield, Deadwyler explained.

“You’re going to find happening exactly what we wanted to — you’ll see a community spirit,” he said.

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