The new seats are designed in such a way as to better position audience members toward the action occurring on stage, said Jeff Cornell, associate chairman of the department for dramatic art.
“They help you lean forward — you’re held in a better position to view the show,” Cornell said.
At a recent event previewing the company’s upcoming performance, some patrons claimed that they had not noticed any of the new changes that had been made.
But longtime Playmakers regular Valerie Yow said she appreciated the new seats.
“I feel like I have room and I’m comfortable — not jammed like a sardine,” Yow said. “It’ll definitely make the plays more enjoyable.”
For its new lighting system, Playmakers received a grant from the Renewable Energy Special Projects Committee of student government.
Erin Hiatt, chairwoman for the committee, said that the initiative taken by PlayMakers fits their vision of a sustainable campus community.
“It was the first time we’ve received anything that thorough from an organization,” Hiatt said. ?“Usually we’re the ones who have to be proactive about finding projects.”
The Playmakers grant was the first open application the committee has honored. In the past, the committee has sought out projects independently.
“In a way, they sort of sparked the application process by offering us opportunities we couldn’t see right away,” Hiatt said.
The improved lighting is both more energy efficient and more appropriate for the theater, Haj said.
“With these new lights we are able to light the stage in a much more efficient way, in a way we weren’t able with the old lights,” Haj said.
The renovation, which comes during PlayMakers’ 35th anniversary season, will help the company to better deliver and perform engaging stories to the community, Cornell said.
“It’s an acknowledgment from the community and the University that we’re worth spending money on — it’s not just cosmetics,” Cornell said, “It’s a validation, and a vote of confidence in what we’re doing, and we take great pride in that.”
And as the main stage season kicks off this week, members say they are ready to hit the boards in their refurbished home.
“It feels like a new beginning, a new era,” Haj said.
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