After just two shows in the 2013-2014 performing arts season at The Clayton Center, it’s apparent that recent upgrades to the lighting and sound systems are a hit.
“During intermission of the Ryan Shupe show, the first show of the new season, we were approached by numerous patrons commenting on how they really liked the lighting and how great the band sounded,” said Scotty Henley, executive director of The Clayton Center. “Then Chic Gamine came in with their awesome harmonies, and audience members were amazed at the sound quality. Overall, we’ve had very positive feedback on the upgrades.”
Money for the lighting upgrade, completed in September for $71,000, came primarily from the Clayton Cultural Arts Foundation’s 10th anniversary gala. The foundation contributed $58,000 toward the purchase and installation of a new dimmer track and lighting board. The town of Clayton gave $13,000.
Henley said the upgrade was necessary because the auditorium’s original lighting system was not only outdated but poorly suited for theater use. “The old unit was more for museum, convention or conference center use,” he said. “We also needed to move forward and join the digital era.”
The new lighting system uses computer-controlled elements, with minimal cabling, to communicate to lighting fixtures and, or speaker systems. The system also makes use of “apps” that allow operators the flexibility to move around the auditorium.
The Clayton Center also upgraded its audio system with money given by the town.
Over the past six years, Henley said, the center had spent close to $50,000 in rental fees for sound reinforcement. So the town spent about $46,000 for a digital sound console and speaker array.
As with the lighting upgrade, the new sound equipment brings the auditorium into the digital age, keeps the center current with artist requirements and gives staff flexibility in mixing sound from unlimited locations within the auditorium.