Transforming a 1926 Theater Into a State-of-the-Art Venue


Knox County Memorial Theater

Converting a nearly 100-year-old theater into a venue that meets the needs of today’s touring artists and theatrical productions is no minor task. Completing it in 16 weeks seems downright impossible. However, that’s exactly what New Era Technology did for Knox County Memorial Theater.

New Era was charged with coordinating the entire project. The analysis determined the theater needed new electrical service, as well as a new sound system, lighting, rigging, and communication system, along with multiple infrastructure improvements.

A century-old building brought multiple challenges. First, there were no electrical drawings for the original building. Most of the existing electric conduit was buried in the walls and floors. Additionally, the theater wasn’t constructed with the capability for a counterweight system.

New Era replaced the existing sound system (that was installed in 2002), with a Yamaha mixing console and Meyer speakers, which are among the best audio systems in the world. We selected a combination of four different speakers to provide the best sound coverage.

This resulted in an experience in which no matter where someone is seated, there is no more than a 2-decibel difference between what you hear and what someone on the other side of the theater hears. New Era also installed a Listen Technologies Assisted Listening System to overcome the challenges of noise, distance, and hearing loss.

New Era replaced the project screen with not just one, but two motorized screens. Additionally, the 1960’s incandescent light fixtures were replaced with a new LED theatrical lighting system. New Era installed a new motorized rigging system that allows performers to fly through the air, bringing a thrilling dimension to performances. A state-of-the-art control system and an innovative intercom system ensures smooth and flawless production.

To complete the project, New Era replaced the existing electrical service, installed new drapery and pit cover, made structural improvements to the stage, added a new sound booth, and repaired aging walls and floors.

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