The CHS stage is (almost) set

By Sophie Brown, Reporter

A remodeling of the Cleveland auditorium will take place this spring. It will be done in time for the annual Springtasia performance, furnished with up to date lights, curtains, and riggings.

The electrical equipment used in the auditorium was given a 20-year lifespan in 1958. It hasn’t been replaced. The electrical board, running 220 volts, actually shocked a number of students. When this came to the attention of theater director Tom Beckett and the faculty, it was immediately shut off to prevent any injuries. All riggings, ropes, curtains, and pipes were supposed to be updated in 1988. It’s taken 58 years to finally get around to it, but by spring, Cleveland will have the modern, up-to-date stage that we were supposed to get in 1988.

“When I got here three years ago in 2013, I took a look at the auditorium, and there were frayed ropes, there were electrical boxes that had exposed wiring–there were numerous problems that I saw,” said Beckett.

Beckett, along with the principal at the time, Paul Cook, decided to get a professional’s opinion. Stagecraft ended up inspecting it, and they found 12 violations that could shut it down and a total of 79 that needed to be fixed. Luckily, there was $10 million dollars that the district found in capital funding a year and a half ago. Beckett and Cook were able to get a portion of that to fix the auditorium.

“In theory, if everything goes ok, Springtasia will be on a fully refurbished auditorium here at Cleveland High School,” said Beckett.

The construction was originally planned for this past fall. Night of Ashes, the fall show, had to be moved from the auditorium to the Winningstad Theater. The next upcoming show, Fiddler on the Roof, will be performed in the Cleveland auditorium like normal.

“Fiddler will be done here on stage, but it will be done without the usual tricks and illusions that we can create. It’s going to be a unique opportunity for the audience to be with the stage, sort of with its bones,” explained Beckett.

At the moment, all lights, ropes, and even the asbestos-ridden curtains have been removed from the stage. The ceiling is clearly visible from the ground, the view unhindered from the usual mass of equipment that usually blocks it.

Fiddler on the Roof will run in late February to early March. “We’ll be back to Roman times here,” as Beckett puts it.