FAQ

Theater Operations

The Tull Family Theater is a 501 (c)3 Pennsylvania nonprofit. Because the Theater operates to benefit  the community, net revenues are reinvested into the facility and its programming. Tickets and concessions alone do not cover all operational and outreach expenses.

As a nonprofit, The Tull Family Theater shares its search for funding with other nonprofits of all sizes that seek contributions from donors who believe in and support the cause. Revenues from tickets and concessions are not enough to cover programming costs, so the Theater will always rely on your patronage and financial support to sustain its programming. YOU are the reason the show goes on!

A registered 501 (c)(3) organization, The Tull Family Theater is eligible for and actively seeks grant funding. By obtaining ZIP Codes of its patrons, the Theater is able to share the geographic reach of its audience with potential funders.

The Tull Family Theater is planning a range of opportunities that will appeal to different audiences:

  • Contemporary and classic films
  • Independent films and documentaries
  • Educational programming, documentary, animation and sound workshops; sensory training; visual literacy for school children
  • First-and second-run films
  • Film/curtain talks
  • Guest curators
  • Speaker series
  • Small-scale live music and theatrical performances
  • Regional premieres featuring up-and-coming local artists
  • Local, national and international film festivals
  • Partnerships with school districts, universities and other nonprofits to enrich these offerings and reach even broader audiences.

As a film-driven organization, The Tull Family Theater screens pictures as its core function. The Theater has offered options such as:

  • A STEM-related speaker and film series, Science on Screen®
  • Outreach programs that enable underserved youth to be part of the cultural conversation, including debriefings and follow-up at the Theater or the partner organization’s space
  • Low-sensory screenings that empower families impacted by autism and special needs to watch films together in an adaptive environment
  • Free cross-cultural programs, such as live music and dance demonstrations that build community spirit and are open to the public
  • Annual free admissions for special screenings as part of the Allegheny County RADical Days taxpayer “thank you. ”

Through the Theater’s  outreach programming, developed in collaboration with other nonprofits and service organizations, hundreds of youth from nearby communities have entered the cinema, many of them for the first time.

Because many communities lack accessibility to public transportation, free tickets often are not enough to fulfill an outreach program. The Theater’s outreach programming provides a full cinematic experience: transportation, tickets, popcorn and a drink.

Through this program, the positive power of the arts is extended to children who otherwise would not have exposure to cinema—a jarring thought for those who consider film a cultural mass medium, a focal point for current cultural conversations, and an avenue enabling viewers to make sense of the world and their place within it.

Because of the vast numbers of senior citizens living in Allegheny, Beaver, Butler and Washington counties, the Theater will launch similar outreach programming for senior citizens to promote mental stimulation, increase opportunities to breakdown social isolation and provide occasions to connect seniors with critical information on health topics that also could impact their quality of life.

The theater’s primary focus is to bring arthouse movies to the region northwest of Pittsburgh. This state-of-the art space will be a venue for contemporary, classic, independent, documentary and foreign films, as well as regional, national and international film festivals.

Quality cultural programming at the film-based arts center also will include small-scale live performances, such as musical entertainment and comedy shows in an intimate setting, plus speakers and special events.

Educational options will welcome youth and adults through outreach initiatives, extending the benefits of arts appreciation to a wide regional audience.

The Tull Family Theater has three main spaces in its 11,800-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility:

  • Two fully accessible screening rooms, the Huntington Bank Screening Room for 69 patrons and another screening room accommodating 169 patrons, with the name to be announced soon. These facilities with superior acoustics will enhance enjoyment for patrons. (By the way, personalized nameplates are going fast for individual theater seats!)
  • The Esmark and Bouchard Family Community Room, which will accommodate approximately 150 people for small-scale performances, educational outreach and special events. Concessions are a standard part of the theater-going experience and The Tull Family Theater will offer this amenity, along with an event kitchen.

The Tull Family Theater is interested in collaborating with organizations whose members would benefit from participating in a cinematic experience.

The Theater also works with donors who may have interest in benefiting particular groups or populations, whether for one screening for as a long-term sponsor.

Those interested in becoming outreach partners may contact Dr. Karen Ferrick-Roman, director of communications and education.

Visiting the Theater

Information about programming can be found:

On our website, www.thetullfamilytheater.org,  which is updated daily.

On Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Through our Weekly Update, emailed to subscribers every Tuesday; archives also are available on our website, under the About tab. To subscribe, sign up on the computer at the Theater’s concession area or online.

On a recorded phone line, which is updated every Tuesday, 412.259.8542. This includes the new pictures, which typically open on Fridays.

With special programming flyers, available in the lobby, online and through partner organizations. These include classics, holiday and cultural screenings for music and art.

Through advertisements appearing several times a week in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, including the Thursday Weekend section, the Friday and Sunday papers.

The Tull Family Theater’s JBL 7.1 Surround Sound and 4K projectors provide pictures and sound so crisp and clear that some patrons have told us they don’t need assistive listening devices or closed captioning. Other patrons, though, find these assistive technologies very helpful.

Assistive listening devices are headsets that amplify sound for individuals with hearing loss or, in cases when films provide Audio Description, relate the action taking place on the screen, aiding individuals with low vision.

Closed Captioning devices are personal screens that fit into the theater seat’s cup holder and provide typed, low-contrast dialogue to enhance the cinematic experience. With the individualized size of the devices, they do not block any patrons’ view of the screen.

The Coming Soon section is a list of potential new releases to be screened. Some of them may not be made available to the Theater. Because the film industry is so fluid, this is the best option for sharing what may be headed to the Theater.

Patrons at The Tull Family Theater have two options for booking:

  • Purchase at the box office, at show time or in advance, with cash or any major credit or debit card
  • Buy in advance online with Master or Visa cards  on our Ticketing page. Just click the film and show time you want, the number of general admission tickets or discounted seniors 65+/college students/children 10 or younger tickets. Click the plus or minus sign to get to the correct number of tickets. If you get stuck, hit “tab” not “enter.”

You will be taken to a Payment Express page to complete your purchase with a Master or Visa card.

Enter your Master or Visa credit or debit card information, plus your name, phone number and email. The Theater does not store or share this information.

Each ticket purchased online has a $2 booking fee added to the price. You also may opt to add a donation to the Theater. When the transaction is complete, a confirmation code will be sent to your mobile device. Simply share the code or your name with the ticket taker.

Your ticket to see a film or event with us come with your agreement to follow our policies—which helps us to ensure that all patrons have a great theater experience!

Yes! The Theater welcomes young patrons and is happy to provide booster seats upon request.

Gift cards, available in any denomination, can be used for both tickets and concessions. They can be purchased at the box office and, by special arrangements, by those living at a distance.

Although Movie Pass cards are accepted and most often work at our registers, the Theater is not affiliated with Movie Pass; thus, this method of payment is not under our control.

The Tull Family Theater is happy to refund tickets more than 24 hours in advance of the film’s show time.

If you need to change the time or title on a ticket, team members are happy to provide a “swap” if seats are still available. In instances where seats are no longer available, the Theater will provide a refund.

Patrons can select their seats in advance or at the counter for SELECT evening classics and select holiday screenings. Otherwise, seating is provided on a first-come, first-served basis.

Traditional concessions are available at the Theater: popcorn, popped in coconut oil and topped with real butter; boxes of candy, specialty chocolates, Icees, fountain drinks, bottled water, bottled tea, Mexican Cokes made with pure cane sugar, and the same Rivendale chocolate milk that is used as a post-game recovery drink by professional athletes, either cold or as hot chocolate. Other hot drinks are coffee and tea.

The Theater does not have a license to serve alcohol. We are exploring the possibilities of BYOB nights and special event licenses but also are hoping that Theater patrons will take time to enjoy nearby restaurants and pubs.

Please don’t. Sales from concessions help to support this Theater.

Street parking and a municipal lot, with payment collected at nearby kiosks, are available near the Theater. Parking costs vary in two zones in the borough and are determined by municipality. Pedestrians and bicycle riders are also welcome.

For those with mobility issues, the closest option is provided by the municipal Green Street parking lot adjacent to the Theater. Patrons who would like help accessing the Theater are asked to contact the box office, 412.259.8542.

Another ramp provides access from Walnut Street entrance. The Walnut Street loading area that can be used by buses.

Involvement

The Tull Family Theater has a very limited marketing budget and receives an overwhelming number of requests for contributions and/or advertising from different organizations across the multi-county region. We want to share our support with the many different communities that also support the Theater, but simply cannot meet every request for some many worthwhile causes. To inquire, please email us.

The Theater appreciates the support of all of its patrons who choose to watch films with us! Patrons who give when buying tickets, whether its 25 cents or $25, help the Theater demonstrate patron support to possible grant and corporate funders.  

Other ways to support the Theater include:

    • Giving rave reviews on Yelp, Google and Facebook
    • Designating The Tull Family Theater as your charity of choice when purchasing items through Amazon Smile
    • Clicking the “Donate” button on our website to give through credit or debit cards or writing a check for an annual gift
    • Asking your employee, credit union or fraternal organization if they will match your donation
    • Purchasing an inscribed nameplate in honor of family or loved ones, or as a gift for the person who has everything
    • Remembering the Theater in your will or with insurance policies
    • Becoming part of the Sustaining Circle, a group of 100 donors committing major support to the Theater each year through 2020.

The Theater appreciates the work provided by its volunteers, who assist with ushering, outreach and other events. More information is available online about volunteer opportunities.

Currently, the Theater does not accept on-screen advertising. Our patrons have been very vocal about how they appreciate heading straight into previews and the film, and our current Board of Directors supports this.

History and Governance

As a nonprofit, independent cinema, The Tull Family Theater does not have owners; instead, the Theater is a regional asset governed by a volunteer, unpaid Board of Directors and administered by an Executive Director who leads the team members.

Between 2011, when the idea of a cinema was floated, and the opening of the Theater in February 2017, Sewickley Borough and hundreds of families supported the Theater. The organization managed to build a $4 million building and is well on its way to recovering construction costs.

The Tull Family Foundation sponsored the naming rights for the facility, now known as The Tull Family Theater. As a 501(3)(c) Pennsylvania nonprofit, the Theater has no owners. It is governed by a board of directors and administered by staff members. Besides its operating revenues, the Theater counts on financial support from the public—patrons, government, corporations, and foundations—to sustain this initiative for community vitality and expanded cultural options in the region.

More on the organization’s history can be found here

Some of the Theater’s most generous supporters are listed in the lobby on the Founding Wall of Fame. Other Theater contributors have opted to purchase an inscribed nameplate on the Theater seats to honor their family or memorialize a loved one. A multi-year initiative, the Sustaining Circle, will position the Theater for years of service to the region. 

Fortunately, The Tull Family Foundation, created by Alba and Thomas Tull, founder of Legendary Pictures and part-owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, sponsored the naming rights for the facility.

Huntington Bank has sponsored naming rights for the 69-seat screening room. Similarly, Esmark and the Bouchard Family have sponsored the naming rights for the event performance space. Naming opportunities remain available at the Theater.

The Theater has a long-term lease agreement with Sewickley Borough. This lease involves only the Theater building and adjacent sidewalk. All of the other property, including the entranceway and the green space, is under the management of Sewickley Borough, so questions about using this space should be directed to borough offices.