COLUMBIA, MISSOURI–JANUARY 21, 2009 The Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts recently lifted its curtain after a major restoration. While audiences were captivated by what was happening on the stage, Wireworks Corporation, the leading innovator of audio/video cabling systems, was behind the scenes taking center stage in upgrading the theater’s sound system, with both multi-channel and custom cable assemblies as well as Wireworks specially manufactured custom panels working as audio connection points for the entire sound system.
The renovation team relied on Wireworks to not only manufacture, but to design all the custom panels throughout the theater. This was no easy task considering the 10-month renovation of the 80-year-old, 1,226 seat performance and theatrical auditorium, which is also home to the Missouri Symphony Orchestra, went well beyond installing a new state-of-the-art audio system. It also included restored lighting, a new scenic design shop, a Columbia Art League Gallery, an expanded Grand Foyer, and the new Missouri Theatre Lounge on the mezzanine level.
The custom Wireworks panels are being used for audio connection points throughout, including microphones, intercom systems, listening assists, microphone plug-ins and monitor plug-ins. Approximately half a dozen different styles of custom panels, all engraved with input/output connector destinations have been installed. The panels range from anodized, bronzed aluminum, and stainless steel — each custom designed to blend with the particular décor in which they were installed.
Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts runs the gamut from live musical performances to dramatic performances, movies, symphonies, ballet and even weddings. The restoration project was orchestrated by The Architects Alliance alongside local general contractor, Huebert Builders, who were mandated to significantly upgrade the space to accommodate the variety of functions. The sound system, designed by Steven Solberg, was implemented by leading sound engineer company Coffeen Fricke & Associates and was based around the Meyer Linear sound system.
“The design concept from my vantage point was that any group utilizing the facility, whether it is a rock band, symphony, or a Theatre Company, would only have to bring its instruments and players to perform here,” says Executive Director of the Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts, David A. White III. “I was looking for a truly plug-and-play solution and Wireworks Corporation was able to provide this through its custom panels that are user-friendly and most importantly, reliable.”
Wireworks offers one of the most extensive lines of custom panels in the audio, theater, installation/contractor and broadcast industries. Its Perfect Custom Panels are manufactured with solid anodized, rigid grade aluminum with a brushed finish. Using the company’s propriety system, precision deep engraving and paint filling ensures a perfectly filled paint finish, enhancing each panel’s attractiveness and clarifying connector designations. Wireworks superior manufacturing eliminates punching and pop rivets, typical of panels manufactured elsewhere. All cutouts are flat-bed machined and screw holes are tapped, eliminating any loose nuts. Wireworks complete line of Perfect Custom Panels includes Wall Panels, Gang Plates, Rack Panels, Floor box Plates and the newest introduction to its custom panel lines — the rear illuminated, LumaVue.
While most historic theatres don’t have the luxury of a crawl space and end up putting the sound booth in the last row underneath the balcony, the Missouri Theater Center was built with four-feet underneath the main floor. The sound team was able to create an inset in rows L-N, right at the balcony line, so that the sound console could be inserted beneath the main floor level. As a result, there are no sight limitations for guests sitting in row O.
Since the theater was originally designed for Vaudeville, the original lighting consisted of down lighting, a spot light and a movie screen. Today, as a result of the work done by Peer Bolte Consultants, the space has three spotlight positions, left and right tormentors with intelligent lights and the entire last row of the balcony has an entire front lighting system. The space initially had 36 lights, there are now nearly 200. The original lighting system included 14 line sets, now the theater has 38 as well as front lighting, which the auditorium was never designed to have.
The renovated theater opened on May 21st with a concert from legendary performer Tony Bennett. Thanks to the success of the renovations, the theater is currently booked through March of 2009.