Tech upgrades – improvements to stage lighting and audio systems – have been a major push for FOL over the past several years, and are so again this Summer — with good reason:
Many people have heard that when FOL began our work to restore and reopen the then-shuttered Loew’s, the Projection Booth had been gutted of all equipment. But did you also know that the Theatre had NO sound system for live audio and that the only stage lighting it had dated from 1929 — but even that did not work? In other words, the Loew’s had ZERO capacity to present live show.
As a stopgap, FOL got the old 1929 lighting system working again, and we installed a relatively small PA system for live sound. But we realized that better equipment would be needed before the Loew’s could practically host many kinds of shows. Of course this would not come cheap, but the expectation was that, based on the plans and commitments Jersey City had made with FOL, the Loew’s would be able to make a good case to seek grants and donations just like other arts centers across the country do with support from their local governments. But Jersey City made those plans impossible by failing to keep most of its promises. Big fundraising was not possible, and so installing better stage audio and lighting seemed impossible, too. That meant for many kinds of shows, all the necessary equipment had to be brought in, causing rental and labor costs that often proved prohibitive.
But several years ago FOL used our own funding – earned from shows and raised through small donations – to take advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to buy modern lighting and sound equipment for the Loew’s at fire-sale prices. And since then, we’ve been working to install it.
A lot has already been accomplished: new dimmers and DMX control, a new lighting board, new control and digital cabling, new analogue and digital audio snakes, a new tech control position at the rear of the auditorium, and a new production intercom.
But there’s still more work to do. This Summer we need to pull additional cabling, attach XLR and other connectors, and create extension and other portable drops to allow for specials and other portable stage lighting.
Skills Needed: In general, the ability to crimp wires, etc., and a willingness to “get your hands dirty” pulling control and audio cabling. Some background in stage lighting and audio would be very helpful.
Tools & Equipment That Will Be Provided: Crimpers, cutters, strippers, screwdrivers.
Number of People Needed: Two to three at any one time.
Length of Project: It’s expected the work will continue through the Summer.
Commitment: We ask those who want to help with this important project commit at least one day to it. But because the nature of this work benefits from consistency and the ability to build on experience, we hope some of those who volunteer will make a continuing commitment to it.