A Stage for all Stages: Restoring the Little Theatre’s Big Rigging

A Stage for all Stages: Restoring the Little Theatre’s Big Rigging

Grant Year: 2020 | Focus Area: Arts & Culture | Grant Amount: $106,000 | Grant Status: Completed

A Stage for all Stages: Restoring the Little Theatre's Big Rigging

Pensacola Little Theatre, Inc.

The mission of Pensacola Little Theatre (PLT) is to enrich, educate, and entertain the community by providing a diverse theatre experience through volunteer-driven performances and educational outreach. PLT has captured the hearts of children and families in the Pensacola Bay Area since 1936. Having played Mother Hen to virtually every artistic organization throughout their tenure inside the historic building owned and operated by PLT, the Pensacola Cultural Center embodies cultural diversity, progression, and opportunity for the community. PLT impacts over 100,000 individuals each year, with over a thousand volunteers devoting nearly 80,000 hours of volunteer service. As the hub of Pensacola's artistic community, PLT takes pride in serving as the longest continually operating community theatre in the southeastern United States. PLT has evolved from humble beginnings into a beacon of volunteer-driven theatre and educational outreach in Northwest Florida. They offer three series - Mainstage, Treehouse, and Studio 400. PLT truly targets and offers something for every audience from every walk of life.

Project Description

IMPACT 100 funds will be used to replace the entire theatre rigging system used for every performance and community event on the stage. The grant dollars will cover the site preparation, permitting, construction, materials, and labor. Rigging systems are the backstage backbone used to quickly, quietly, and safely hang and transport curtains, lights, scenery, set pieces, stage effects, and even people. Every piece of scenery, every moving light, every curtain or screen is all operated by the rigging or "fly" system. Safety is at the forefront of PLT’s mission. With over 1,000 volunteers dedicating nearly 80,000 volunteer service hours each year, PLT’s priority is to remain up-to-code in all aspects of their home-away-from-home. The existing system was built over 20 years ago. Since then, there have been drastic improvements in theatre rigging/flying design, and to ensure safe, quality performances, PLT will replace the current rigging system with one made of stainless steel and a lifespan of 30 years. PLT is home to many local arts organizations. Because of the continued use of their stage by community partners such as the Center for Civic Engagement, Entrecon, Civicon, Pensacon, the Stamped LGBTQ Film Festival and the Pensacola Human Trafficking Task Force, the need for continued improvements is vital.

Community Impact

Pensacola Little Theatre is dedicated to the maintenance and preservation of its historically significant home, the Pensacola Cultural Center, which houses not only the Pensacola Little Theatre and its productions, but many other cultural and community events. All major PLT performances, as well as every major community and cultural event housed inside the Cultural Center’s walls, are only possible through the use of the rigging system above the stage. Currently, PLT impacts over 100,000 individuals each year. The impacted population isn't just people who love theatre. PLT provides education classes to diverse audiences ages 4 and up, annually, impacting over 700 students across 16 different classrooms. People come to PLT to learn about human trafficking and how it is impacting children. People come to PLT for worship on Sunday morning. People celebrate diversity at PLT during the local LGBTQ film festival. Each one of these community opportunities only works if the theatre rigging works. The theatre and all patrons of the Cultural Center will benefit from this project as it further allows PLT to fulfill the organization’s mission.