Restorations and Online Ticketing bring Clague Playhouse into the 21st century

The last time Clague Playhouse got new seats, it was 1995. The last major renovation was in 1991. The paper ticketing system has been in place for decades. Let’s just say that Clague was due for some loving upgrades, and that’s what has happened!

When you walk into the 93-seat theater, you don’t get the impression that it’s an 87-year-old building (the Clague Playhouse itself has been in the barn area now for about 50 years). New carpeting and a fresh coat of paint in the house give a clean, modern feel to the environment.

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Russ Kilpatrick in front of “new” seats at Clague Playhouse

“I just wanted to keep what’s best for the theater in mind,” says Russ Kilpatrick, the head of Building and Grounds at Clague. Kilpatrick headed the restoration portion, leading the charge in the process of refurbishing every seat in the audience… and more.

“Richie Lynch, Kevin Snyder and I ripped all of the seats out ourselves,” he chuckles. In all, 93 seats were removed, re-padded, re-covered and reinstalled. The once “faded peach” seats now have new foam and a rich red fabric. The chairs are all newly-marked, and they feel oh-so-comfy. By doing the work themselves, they saved on labor. By refurbishing as opposed to replacing, they kept all of the material out of landfills.

Along with being California fire code rated, “the fabric has been through a ‘Million Rub Test’,” says Kilpatrick. No really – that exists. I cannot make that  up.

The planning for the project began in July of 2015 and also encompassed some other updates to the theater.

Kilpatrick says they “put in new platforms for the seating units, raising the seats up about 2″ from the floor.” This helps audiences with leg comfort, and also gives the feeling of more space between the rows.

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Sample of old donor seat plaque

But what about all of the old engraved donor tags that were on the old seats? Records were
kept on all donor names and seat designations, and there is a plan for the old plates – possibly a board of honor or something similar. In the meantime a new Name-A-Seat campaign will bring new donors and newly engraved plates to the beautifully renovated seats.

The stage itself had an almost 1/2″ thick layer of old paint scraped off the deck.  How long did it take for all of those layers to accumulate? That’s about 1/56″ of paint per year for 25 years of layering goodness! Needless to say, the playing space needed some leveling out, and the flat area is good for everyone, both on and off stage.

Not only do those near the stage get to experience an update, but those behind the scenes benefit, too. The light booth window was widened about 20″ – giving Board Operator “Al” and company a greater field of vision during the shows to catch activity and cues from off to the side. The cable ports were also improved to run all of the cables through the theater.

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The old seats at Clague Playhouse

And we haven’t even gotten to the ticketing yet! When tickets go on sale for the 2016-2017 Clague Playhouse season, patrons have the option to not only purchase in person or by phone, but now also through the web! August 10, 2016 is the big on sale date, and patrons will be able to access Clague’s online Box Office or the Facebook and Twitter pages to purchase any time of day from the comfort of their own homes and offices (links will be live after 1:00pm on August 10, 2016 at http://clagueplayhouse.org).

Clague’s Administrative Assistant Tyson Douglas Rand explains that all tickets purchased online will be pulled at the theater and held at will call for pick up any time during box office hours. Tickets can be picked up the day after the online purchase, and during regular box office hours. Patrons can also pick up online orders at the desk one hour before the designated performance.

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Restored / “new” seats at Clague Playhouse

Ticket prices are the same, (Adults $16 / Seniors (60+) $15 / Students (with valid ID) $10), and there will be an additional online fee of $1.50 per ticket for purchasing tickets on the web (this helps defray the cost of the new ticketing system). There is no additional fee on tickets bought on the phone or in person.

So if you are inspired to buy at 2:00am on a Sunday, that convenience is now yours!

Of course all of this was done with the help of many, many volunteers, and Clague Playhouse is grateful to every single person who contributed.

Clague Playhouse 2016-2017 Season
* September 23 – October 16, 2016 – “What I Did Last Summer” by A. R. Gurney
* November 18 – December 18, 2016 – “Plaid Tidings” by Stuart Ross
* January 20 – February 12, 2017 – “Love From A Stranger, An Agatha Christie * Mystery” adapted by Frank Vosper
* March 17 – April 9, 2017 – “Outside Mullingar” by John Patrick Shanley
* May 12 – June 4, 2017 – “Incorruptible” by Michael Hollinger

Clague Playhouse
Address: 1371 Clague Rd, Westlake, OH 44145
Webhttp://clagueplayhouse.org
Phone: (440) 331-0403
Box Office hours: Wed.-Sat. 1PM-6PM

*Disclosure: Kate Klotzbach is a current Board Member of Clague Playhouse
** Correction 08/05/16: The original seats that were recently restored were put in place in 1995 (not 1975 as originally stated). 

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