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Theater conversion project

2845 Views 20 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  DesertRatTom
Our senior group meets in the cafeteria of a former middle school. It's a nice space now operated by a community oriented church. I've taken on the project of converting it into a dinner style theater. I've already installed some theater lighting and a nice portable AV stand and wired up connections to the overhead projectors. Has a 10 ft drop ceiling, which hides two 12 gauge cables to supply power to two banks of lights. The facility is called The Venue.

Problem is that the platform is just 8x16 feet. Big enough for a small ensemble (church has some good musicians). It's on the East end of the populated area up here in the desert, the edge of the Mojave. There is no other such location in the area.

I tried to get materials contributed by Home Depot for a new, larger stage (26x24 feet), which is almost as wide as our local theater building on the other end of the area. I have plans and church approval to turn it into a theater and musical performance venue, as well as a hall for meetings and seminars.

So this coming week I have to round up some workers to install the stage. I can't handle those 4x8 sheets of ply anymore, and the church facility pastor said they have people who'll volunteer. Hopefully they have nail guns and compressors.

The pictures show our group meeting in The Venue, another picture of the stage area with outlines showing the aproximate size and location of the platform and a drawing of the supports for the 5 inch tall, plywood topped platform.

I'm going to start by purchasing the kiln dried 2x4s and precutting them. Each frame will require about 5 2x4s total. The framework will allow passing cables under the platform.

The stage will also have three 4x8 foot tall theatrical flats on each side to provide a hidden back stage area. I'll probably set these up so they can be removed if necessary.

This will take a little time, so I'll come back with pictures over the next couple of weeks. As soon as the stage is up, I'm going to start arranging programs for our group's weekly meetings throught he local schools, many of which are Charter schools with special emphasis, including performing arts, drama, music, video production, science, speech and debate.

I'm also planning a grand opening festival to kick things off. Already have the producer of our best theater group interested in using the place. We will need to improve the AC and heating units. Seating is qood with a dozen round tables with 8 chairs each. There is a food service area so dinner theater could be done using a vendor.

I have a budget of $1,200 for phase one and will try to raise some more funding to dress the place up and improve the AC and heating unit. I'm also planning a 4x8 sign that will go out toward the street, and have solar lights for nighttime visability. This project will keep me off the streets and out of trouble for awhile.


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Had to put everything on hold while I pulled in a little new money. Finish that and now need to work on leveling the stage, then making the theatrical flats. Just bumping this so I can find it. Details and can't find the tall church ladder to handle first.
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