Under the helm of Executive Director Almitra Clerkin, the Playhouse continues to improve the performance venue. The ongoing renovations to the interior of the theatre began when new seats were installed before the 2007-08 season. Prior to the 2010-11 season,the Playhouse completed the restoration of the iconic Art-Deco style theatre marquee, façade, and outer lobby. Significant upgrades to the audio and visual elements that included a new sound board and microphones, communication system for the production staff, keyboard, rear projector system, and Grand curtain occurred before the 2012-2013 season.
Between the two final shows of the current season (Is He Dead? and Young Frankenstein) contractors and painters took over the interior of the theatre to patch the ceiling and paint. In the three-and-a-half weeks before the opening of the upcoming 2014-15 season, Pittsburgh Stage Inc.will be on hand (beginning Monday, August 25) to remove the old acoustical wall-coverings, which are still in place from the original Strand Theatre, and install new state-of-the-art acoustical walls. When patrons attend the opening show, Shrek: The Musical, which opens Sept. 19, they will be delighted with the results.
In addition to the acoustical/painting improvements, new interior house lighting, wooden chair rails, and a brand new infrared system for the hard of hearing will be installed.
The combined total of the current projects is estimated to cost $76,000. The projectsare being funded by a grant from the Erie Community Foundation, the Erie Playhouse auxiliary group – The Wing, memorials given in the name of Playhouse volunteer Becky Flynt and Playhouse fan Melanie Pulice, and donations from loyal individual donors.
The Playhouse always strives to make “your theatre experience an enjoyable one” and has plans to continue making upgrades to the theatre in the years leading up to their 100th season, September 2016 through August 2017. Those plans include modernizingthe current stage lighting system with state-of-the-art LED equipment,sinking the orchestra pit and making ongoing improvements to the sound system.
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