PEI

King's Playhouse now showcasing $90K in upgrades

As Island playhouses ramp up for another summer season, the King’s Playhouse, in Georgetown, P.E.I., opened its doors today to announce the summer lineup, and showcase several new infrastructure upgrades that staff say will make for a more enjoyable and professional experience for all.

Georgetown, P.E.I. theatre gets new stage curtains, stage flooring, and a digital soundboard

The King's Playhouse in Georgetown, P.E.I., has undergone many changes over the years, and recent upgrades include new fire-retardant stage curtains, a retractable stage floor, and a new digital soundboard. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

As Island playhouses ramp up for another summer season, the King's Playhouse, in Georgetown, P.E.I., opened its doors today to announce the summer lineup, and showcase several new infrastructure upgrades that staff say will make for a more enjoyable and professional experience for all.  

Catherine O'Brien, interim executive director at the King's Playhouse, says one of the main areas of concern was the stage, where aging curtains, held together with Velcro, were falling apart and presented a major fire hazard.

Now, they've been replaced with fire-retardant stage drapes that move on tracks and are much more versatile.

A new digital soundboard is one of several recent infrastructure upgrades to the King's Playhouse. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC News)

New stage curtains and flooring

"It does help when we have the ability to make the stage smaller or larger as we need it," said O'Brien. "The wing curtains, they can come in, they can pivot, so just a lot more flexibility with what we can do compared to what we could do before."

Beneath the stage, new flooring can be rolled out onto the stage to make a level, smooth and slightly cushioned performance space, particularly useful for dancers. 

Catherine O’Brien, interim executive director at the King’s Playhouse, says the facility enjoys tremendous support from the community, and is always looking for people to help with events and fundraising. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC )

And up in the sound booth, a brand new digital soundboard.

"That makes it much more user friendly for the technician," said Philip Bulpitt, sound and lighting technician for the King's Playhouse.

"We can run it off an iPad and we have compressors and gauges and equalizers on every channel and it's much more intuitive. It's a lot easier to do sound when you can go anywhere in the room and still be able to control it."

Bulpitt said whether you're on stage performing or enjoying the show from a seat in the audience, you'll notice a difference in sound quality.

"It just makes the calibre more like a big theatre like you'd see in a big city," said Bulpitt. "Of course our soundboard wouldn't be the same as the one at the Confederation Centre but it does a lot of the same things."

'More pleasurable experience'

The sound improvements continue elsewhere in the building where the Dedication Hall, a space where weddings and events are hosted, has been acoustically improved thanks to dozens of sound absorbing panels.

Philip Bulpitt, sound and lighting technician for the King’s Playhouse, says the new curtains, flooring, acoustic panels and digital soundboard will all mean a higher calibre experience for audiences and performers alike. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

"It's cut down on the echo drastically," said Bulpitt, adding that prior to the installation of the panels, sound would reflect throughout the room which made enjoying live music or even having a conversation difficult in that space.

"It makes it a much more pleasurable experience for sound for any event in the hall," he said.

The upgrades — totalling more than $90,000 — were funded by grants from both federal and provincial governments, amounting to $70,500, in addition to $22,000 raised locally through 50/50 draws and other fundraising initiatives.

It's really the gem of Eastern Kings, it's definitely the gem of Georgetown, and I think people love to come to this theatre.- Catherine O'Brien, interim executive director, King's Playhouse

O'Brien said that speaks to the tremendous support the King's Playhouse enjoys from both visitors and the local community.

"It's really the gem of Eastern Kings, it's definitely the gem of Georgetown, and I think people love to come to this theatre," she said.  

She added that the King's Playhouse is always looking for volunteers to help with events, work front of house, and to help with fundraising initiatives.

Summer lineup announced

The Four Tellers, Treble with Girls, and a new show featuring Teresa Doyle, Patrick Bunston and Ward MacDonald are just some of the acts lined up for this season at the King's Playhouse.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), a play featuring three actors who perform bits of all 37 of Shakespeare's plays in two hours, will run every Sunday night and the theatre will also be hosting a Haunted Walk once a week.

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