People of Yorkville’s very own…
Cagney Larkin of the Sylvia Theater
Me: Now are you the owner of the Sylvia?
Cagney Larkin – No, Paul Finnican is the owner, who purchased it in 2003 and revitalized it to such as you see today. I am the house manager, along with my partner Tyler. We run all the daily operations, book all the events, schedule all the films.
Me: Did you grow up here?
CL: I’ve been in York for 26 years now. Born and raised.
Me: Changes in York?
CL: I noticed recently an up and coming downtown, lots of new local businesses sprouting up, all the local businesses supporting each other, a real sense of community. I think we’ve had four new businesses in the last year and some more are coming this year.
Me: How long have you been with the Sylvia?
CL: My partner Tyler was actually playing music on the street last July, and the person that was here at the time offered him a job selling tickets. So Tyler started selling tickets, and brought me in. I’m a film student in Charlotte, and he originally brought me in to film concerts, and from there we ended up taking over running the theater. He was playing in front of the Jasmine Cafe, and he was asked to play at the farmer’s market, and from there he was found.
We continue our conversation about Cagney and Tyler’s vision for the Sylvia…
CL: We are trying to become a central part of York, we’re in a perfect location, we’ve got great restaurants right beside us, Jasmine Cafe has just opened up, there’s lots of businesses within walking distance, and we’re trying to revolutionize it and give people something to do every night of the week.
Me: Do you have a favorite moment?
CL: My favorite moment is honestly every day getting to experience this place as an historic landmark. It’s not everyday you get to work in a place with as much character as this place. It’s been modernized in some ways, but we’ve kept the vintage feel.
He explains that while some may worry historic building are like china shops, the Sylvia is a place you can come and your kids can run around and you can host parties.
Me: What’s the movie schedule?
CL: Thursday through Sunday – two shows on Saturday
Every Wednesday we’re hosting a theater open house. We’re throwing open the doors for free, and each month will have a theme. February’s theme is romance. (I hear through the grapevine Valentine’s Day will be Roxanne, but we’ll call that a rumor….) Each month will feature a different theme or genre and we’ll have the full bar open. (Happy hour, people! Go to the Sylvia!) There is definitely going to be something going on the screen, but no word as to exactly what. Free admission; We want to give people a low pressure way to get out in their community without feeling the need to spend money. What better way than to open our business and offer something for free?
Oh, and we’ll never show anything over PG-13, so we’ll be kid friendly and families are welcome.
Doors open at 7pm, and I’ll start something when people seem ready. And we may eventually implement an open mic night and karaoke to add to the evening.
Me: How about if someone wanted to rent out the facility?
CL: Birthdays – less than fifty people is $200, come in and all watch a film, do your cake and presents. If you have over 50 people, the price goes up in tiers.
Events – $475, and you can sell tickets to offset the cost
After our interview, Cagney invited me to come back to visit the following evening so that I could experience their upcoming Elvis Impersonator. Umm, yes, sirree I certainly did! Absolutely worth it and so, so much fun! I secretly thought that I might end up the youngest member of the audience, and while Elvis does bring out the more mature ladies of our community, I witnessed people of all ages joining in with the excitement of such an entertaining live performance. And guess what? There were TWO Elvises so that his early works and his later works could be more realistically portrayed. What a show! I certainly will make plans to go back, and I highly recommend you give the Sylvia a visit yourself!