The Lightboard Challenge

Ever since our first informal reunion in 2000, many of us have asked: what could alumni do so that today’s and tomorrow’s Mimes & Mummers experience the best of what we enjoyed during our days on the Collins stage? Well, inspired by the 150th anniversary of the Mimes and Mummers, Mimes alum Ed Lenci (FCRH ’85) presented a matching gift challenge to us.

With ambitions to play a part in the restoration of our fabled theater, the Mimes & Mummers Alumni Association committed to raise funds toward a new lightboard system for Collins, and Ed Lenci agreed to match, up to $12,500, each dollar we contributed.  The result--a total of $28,505 exceeding our fundraising goal by 12%!

We can certainly afford to purchase a state of the art lightboard now, but the electrical system in Collins is outdated and cannot handle a new lightboard.  Major electrical work - part of a renovation of the theatre - has to happen first.

On April 17, 2009, Chris Rodgers, Asst. Dean of Student Affairs provided an update for us on the Collins renovation project:

“Though it's certainly taken longer than we would have liked, we have been working with our Facilities and Engineering people and the contractor, and are putting finishing touches on a plan to make the improvements in the right way…We rapidly learned through the consultants and our own engineers that simply purchasing the equipment noted by the alums/donors was not going to be possible. The new equipment purchases intended by the alums/donors require improvements and renovations, some of which are to infrastructure and are extensive. The planning has been slow as it has gotten more complicated than we anticipated. Of course, a complete renovation is on our wish list at this point, as the space has the potential to be quite beautiful. We have also wanted to avoid completely shutting down productions in Collins for Mimes during the academic year.

Due to delays, we have switched our lighting design contractor and plan to give the final go-ahead for work at the end of May.
The following general work is scheduled for this summer:
• New Lights
• New Dimmers
• The addition of Spot Lights
• New rigging for the lights at the back of the theater and suspended from the ceiling (and just above the stage)

We are very happy with the rapid work of the new designer, who has proposed renovations and improvements that will be quick and within the limited budget.”

Since this report in April, we have confirmed that the final go-ahead has been given, and the work will happen this summer. Obviously this is wonderful news for all Mimes Alum! We will keep you posted….

In case you've forgotten, below are pictures of  what the lightboard currently looks like. It is well over half a century old.


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