The management of the theatre uses money raised by the hire of the theatre, and from some events, to make improvements to the theatre. This improves the facilities for those using and hiring the theatre, and makes the experience better for the audience.
Although minor work on the theatre is done frequently throughout the year, we have, to date, had 6 main sets of improvements made to the facilities.
The lighting control system was replaced with a new ETC Ion desk, enabling a considerable upgrade of our lighting control facilities, and enabling us to control more complex moving head fixtures. Part of this upgrade included remodelling the stage corner control area. The continued rolling upgrades of the available lanterns were continued completing the replacement of the on-stage fresnels and larger profile lanterns. We also replaced the effects Smoke Machine.
The Radio Microphones were replaced with a set, which should improve the quality and reliability of the sound system as well as complying to the new government radio frequency allocations. Some new lanterns including UV effects panels have also been purchased.
The Sound Mixer was replaced with a new 32 channel mixer (up from a 16 channel mixer). A lot of our more elderly lanterns were replaced with more modern versions - rationalising our lanterns, and making nearly all of our standard rig lanterns be modern types.
The heating and ventilation system, which mostly dated from the original construction of the theatre in 1935, has been almost entirely replaced. The new system allows much finer control over the heating and ventilation of the theatre, and automatically allows for the external weather conditions and occupancy of the building. It also allows air to be re-circulated within the building, whilst ensuring that air quality is maintained — this reduces the cost of heating the building and improves the energy efficiency.
This work was carried out in 2 phases - the first phase during the Summer of 2008, the second phase in February 2009.
During the Summer of 2006 a major redecoration of the theatre into the style of the original Art Deco design. The Auditorium and public areas, as well as the dressing rooms and backstage areas have all been repainted into a cream and green colour scheme, and all the auditorium curtains (including the main house tabs) have been replaced with new curtains matching the new colour scheme. Further work to improve signage has also been undertaken, making a substantial difference to the internal appearance of the theatre.
At the same time - taking advantage of the complete scaffolding of the auditorium - the roof space has been opened out to give more space for front of house lighting, and the side lighting mounts have been improved. The combination of these changes allows us to mount more lights in front of the stage - an area where the lighting provision had previously been weak.
The auditorium ceiling lighting has also been upgraded, with arch lighting similar to the previous cold cathode lighting system (which failed back in the 1980s). The auditorium lighting is now connected to the main stage lighting control desk.
During Summer 2005 the auditorium sound system was revamped, giving a much higher quality sound for the audience. This included replacements of the amplifier and speaker systems and the fitting of a new set of fill-in speakers across the front of the orchestra pit.
The auditorium lighting control was replaced following a failure of the system earlier in the year.
The stage lighting wiring system was coming to the end of its useful life, so the complete system was rewired, and all the dimmers replaced. This gave a much more flexible and reliable lighting system. A rolling program of lantern upgrades and replacement was also instigated.
The auditorium seating was completely replaced with a new set of seating. To accommodate this the flooring also had to be replaced and a new set of carpet installed. The previous set of seating had been in place for many decades, and the new seating is much more comfortable, especially since the legroom of the old seats was designed based on the average size of adults in the 1930's.