Reopening – What’s we’ve been up to
It has been a time like no other for all of us. Yet, the Mansfield Playhouse steadied ourselves for the unknown and kept a positive outlook. During this time, the organization had some financial decisions to make for long overdue maintenance issues and improvements. Our scene shop/storage building had holes in the roof large enough for paratroopers to drop through. So after trees causing damage were removed by Dolce’s Tree Service, we replaced the sheeting and did a total roofing job on it.
Many of you know that we have a costume house just behind the theater. We were blessed to be able to update the electrical service in 2020 with the help of BP Electrical. Great people who brought us up to code. If you know these folks, please share our appreciation!
The Playhouse owns a box truck to move set pieces, furniture, and construction material in to the theater. However, due to a breakdown beyond reasonable repair, we had to replace. So, that has been updated.
Due to all of the health requirements mandated, the Playhouse also had to make some updates to cleaning processes, restroom upgrades for touch-less dispensers, and a way to overcome printed handout material in hopes of opening fully in 2020. You may have seen that we invested in a new projector and a motorized screen to offer our sponsors a more creative way to be seen through video and offering the audience a more cinematic approach to a pre-show experience. The system had its first preview during a very limited capacity viewing for two shows we did in the fall of 2020 which received wonderful feedback. This system will also allow the Playhouse to offer movie nights and other events.
After the two programs, we were faced with the decision to close once again due to further concerns. But we absolutely knew this was best for the community and we continued with positive forward thinking to make the best of it. Through fund raising efforts and grant writing, we were blessed to maintain keeping the business end of things running.
This led to further creativity and discovery of upgraded theater seating. Yes, we have installed the upgraded seating which now offers more comfort and leg room and also addressed some safety issues. We were blessed to have volunteers assist in the project to save on labor costs as well.
As the old seats were removed, the auditorium offered a totally blank slate. Well, we couldn’t leave that alone, now could we? Doug and Tammy Wertz led the renovation project to update the character of the auditorium as the new seating offered a new color pallet. So, through many hours of plaster repair, trim upgrades, paint, and assistance in painting, the auditorium got the face lift it desperately needed. We have also removed the radiators in the side aisles to offer a much wider access to seating.
For many years, the Mansfield Playhouse has been with the involvement of many people. One of which, a past president, Char Hutchison passed. Her children, knowing how much Char loved the theater, asked for donors to send funds to the Playhouse in her memory so that we may remember her for years to come with the investment of those funds into new chandeliers and sconces for the auditorium. May her light continue to shine over us.
One more very large project we hope to improve for the safety of our volunteers and lighting designers is a catwalk truss. This will replace the current light truss in the auditorium.
We continue looking forward into the future of The Mansfield Playhouse. Plans for further improvements addressing safety issues, technical upgrades, further maintenance, and most importantly the growth of audiences in our upcoming season and seasons to come. We will continue to strive for excellence in all we do. From productions to educational opportunities and expanded outreach, we will continue to building community through the experience of theater for several more years.
Thanks to all that contributed during these times. With all we have been blessed with over this closure, our positive outlook has made us stronger. The Mansfield Playhouse is a gem to the community and we hope you will continue to support us in making it one of the best destinations to visit in Mansfield.