A construction accident at the Epic Theatre – a 150-seat blackbox theater in Kalamazoo, Michigan – led to an upgrade through ETC’s 2014 Theater program. When the building’s heating units were being replaced, workers damaged the ETC Sensor® dimmer racks that the theater had been using since 1999. A quick, economical fix was needed. That’s where ETC and dealer John S. Hyatt and Associates, Inc., stepped in.
The dimmers were upgraded to CEM3 processors, with new software, fans and filters. “The equipment is easy to use, and it’s not complicated,” says Beth McCann, deputy director of the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo. “My techs are happy. We work with a lot of interns from Kalamazoo College, and it’s user-friendly for them. It really fits our needs.”
The upgrade was quick, preventing the theater from having to disrupt their performance schedule. “The installation was pretty flawless,” describes Jessi Nix, sales associate for John S. Hyatt and Associates, Inc. “On this particular job, it took our technician one day, which – in my opinion – is great for the end user, because it means minimal downtime.”
Epic Theatre needed to upgrade their dimmers, but due to other funding priorities, had not done so. The damage, while unfortunate, gave Epic Theatre the opportunity to take advantage of the 2014 Theater program much sooner than expected. “I think the program is great,” explains Nix. “It allows facilities to upgrade older systems to current technology. When it comes down to it, budgets dictate a lot of the ability for theaters to have state-of-the-art technology. This program gives these facilities a low-cost upgrade that puts them on the correct track. The price is great.”
In addition to the new dimmer racks, Epic Theatre also got a power package warranty, which covers the entire racks for three years. Says Nix: “I think another great feature of the 2014 Theater program is the warranty. You are gaining maintenance that in most cases really needs to be done on the rack. You’re buying a warranty, and not just any warranty, but a warranty for three or five years. That in and of itself is worth the money.”
To see if the 2014 Theater program could work for you, talk to your dealer or contact ETC Field Service Manager Dan Boggess at
Earlier this year, ETC unveiled the 2014 Theater program, which allows venues to upgrade their existing ETC lighting systems without the need for a costly retrofit. The University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) was one of the first to participate in the program, getting updated ETC dimming systems for several of their theaters.
When Shawn Harmon of ETC dealer Barbizon Lighting in Charlotte, North Carolina, learned of the 2014 Theater program, he began to reach out to customers who could benefit from the program. "I contacted Brent LaFever at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts about it in May," explains Harmon. "He informed me that the university had already considered upgrading a few of their systems, and that's when we knew this program would be a great fit."