By Meg Dickens
Heritage Hall Theatre is a staple in the Johnson County Community. Johnson County Schools host concerts, plays, and more within its walls. Locals and outsiders alike perform on stage. It is the performance center of the community. Now Heritage Hall is taking steps to improve the overall experience with over $50,000 in improvements.
The Foresight Committee’s annual survey includes a question asking what would improve the theatre experience. Approximately 130 people responded to the 2018 survey, and the most common responses featured improved sound quality. This project has been in progress for about a year. The most prominent upgrade is the speakers. Heritage Hall replaced the original ten speakers with 20 new custom JBL brand speakers spread throughout the theatre. Heritage Hall plans to donate the original speakers to local organizations and churches.
“It’s going to sound the same whether you’re in the front row or the back row,” explained Heritage Hall Vice-President and Foresight Committee Chairman Chase McGlamery. “We want every seat to be the best seat.”
Heritage Hall is going digital. Its seamless wifi and new updates make it possible for sound engineers to access the sound booth from the audience. Now, engineers can identify and fix problems as soon as they arise. Sound improvements also include eight Listen Technologies upgraded personal hearing devices available to hard of hearing patrons per Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.
“We want to grow with our community,” said McGlamery. “We are able to keep up with the times because of this community.“
These improvements are part of a bigger plan. This phase deals with core equipment, including speakers, a mixer, and amplifiers. Phase two deals with more specific details of the project. The update additions include additions of multiple types of microphones, wireless stage monitors, and new cables. A special anniversary show in September will feature the improvements.
Heritage Hall Theatre is a nonprofit organization owned by the town of Mountain City and designated as a Parks and Recreation organization. This organization is run entirely by volunteers and is closed from January through February for yearly maintenance. Anyone interested in volunteering or making a donation should visit heritagehalltheatre.org or email [email protected] for more information.
“We have space for everyone,” said McGlamery, who started volunteering at Heritage Hall as a child. “It doesn’t matter what their expertise is.”