Thursday, April 28, 2016

Designing lights for the January 2014 show of “Almost Maine,” Kaitrin Higbee works with the new lighting console at the Bristol Opera House. The Elkhart County Community Foundation awarded the Elkhart Civic Theatre, owner of the theater, a grant to install the lighting console and new, energy friendly lights. (Photo Supplied)
New lights installed at Bristol Opera House thanks to Elkhart County Community Foundation grant

Posted on Feb. 18, 2014 at 5:43 p.m.

BRISTOL — Elkhart Civic Theatre is looking on the bright side.

A new high-tech lighting system has been installed at the historic Bristol Opera House thanks to a major grant from the Elkhart County Community Foundation.

Artistic director John Shoup said the theater’s analog lighting system was on its way out and needed to be updated.

“It was one of the first computerized systems, and we babied that thing for as long as we could,” he said. “It finally started hiccuping, and we knew we were going to have to replace the system or else we were going to be in trouble because you can’t produce a show without lights.”

The theater installed a new lighting console in September and finished final electrical work this month. The new digital system with theatrical lights, Shoup pointed out, is more energy efficient, using less power and creating less heat than traditional stage lights.

The grant from the community foundation included $9,000 plus a 20 percent match from the theater group.

“For almost all not-for-profits, it’s always a struggle to find additional money when you’re budgeting for other things, so the Elkhart County Community Foundation’s grant process can really help when you have issues like we were with our lighting,” Shoup explained.

Shoup said he has gotten positive feedback from theatergoers about the new lights.

“When you’re acting, you don’t notice the light as much, but you do when you’re an audience member,” he said. “With the vibrancy of the new lights we were able to install and the way our new lighting board allows us to operate those lights, it adds more excitement to the theatrical experience.”

Follow Elkhart Truth reporter Angelle Barbazon on Twitter at @tweetangelle.