Breckenridge Texan

Breckenridge’s National Theatre shines brightly with new lighting system

Breckenridge’s National Theatre shines brightly with new lighting system
June 06
19:45 2021

By Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

Breckenridge’s National Theatre will be able to offer its guests a new experience in illumination now that the lighting system has been upgraded for the first time since the theater was renovated almost 20 years ago.

Bo Asher, president of board for Friends of Historic Breckenridge, the nonprofit organization that owns and operates the theater, said that it was getting almost impossible to find replacement parts for the old lighting system.

Abdiel Bustamante uses a lift in the installation of the new lighting system at the National Theatre in Breckenridge. To see more photos from the project, click here for the photo gallery. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Additionally, the system was outdated and cumbersome to use. “We had to have somebody crawl up on a ladder up and adjust the light and then crawl back down to turn it on and check it. Is it right? No? Then, we would turn it off, let it cool off and crawl back up the ladder to adjust it,” Asher said. “For six lights, it would take an hour and a half.”

The new system is operated with an app on an iPad. Not only can the lights be moved with a click on the tablet, but they can also be adjusted for intensity and beam width. The lights also can be programmed to move along with the performers on stage. Additionally, there are built-in patterns and colors that can be projected throughout the theater, creating a light show effect.

“I’m excited to see what we can do with this, to see how we can use this to enhance our shows,” Asher said.

Jesus “Chuy” Esquivel, CEO of 4Stage AVL (audio, video, lighting), and Abdiel Bustamante and Ernesto Perez were in Breckenridge late last month to install the new system. He demonstrated some of the system’s features and trained Asher on using the software to control the lights.

The ability to fade the spotlights out of one spot and in on another spot, as well as the capability to program the lights to automatically move across the stage, will be game-changers for the theater experience, Esquivel said. “It’s what people haven’t seen before, and these kind of elements always bring a lot to the table,” he said.

Esquivel also said that because the system is easy to use and is controlled with an app, similar to a video game, upgrades such as this often bring in more volunteers to nonprofits like the National Theatre. “It’s like when you were a kid and had a new toy…everybody wants to play with it,” he said.

Not only can the lights be controlled from the iPad, but an entire show can be pre-programmed and then saved for use later. Additionally, the lighting programs can be shared with others, like templates.

The installation of the new lighting system was a major project. The 4Stage crew was in Breckenridge for several days. A row of the theater’s seats was temporarily removed to give them room to install the lights.

Asher said the lighting project was two years in the making and several fundraisers, including the raffle held earlier this year, providing the money for the new lights. There is at least one more major upgrade planned for the theater: a new sound system. “We had the projector done two years ago, lights this year, and then, in another year and a half, we’ll have surround sound,” Asher said.

The National Theatre, 116 E. Walker, will be the site for a town hall meeting by U.S. Rep. August Pfluger at 3 p.m. Monday, June 7.

And, next month, the theater will host the band Shine for a concert. The show is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 10, with the doors opening at 6 p.m. Tickets will cost $15 each for adults and $10 for students. A family package, which includes two adult tickets and two student tickets, will cost $40, a $10 savings. Tickets will go on sale June 21 at the Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce.

Shine includes Marlys Coursey on fiddle, Glenn Mitchell on mandolin, Jeff Mitchell on bass and Dave Ratliff on guitar. The concert will feature acoustic swing, bluegrass and country music.

The band, which came to Breckenridge in 2019, had planned to perform here last December but rescheduled due to the COVID-19 situation.

To see more photos from the installation of the new lighting system, click here for the Breckenridge Texan’s Photo Gallery.

Ernesto Perez and Abdiel Bustamante with 4Stage AVL work on the installation of the new lighting system in Breckenridge’s National Theatre. The Friends of Historic Breckenridge has been planning the project for a couple of years. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Cutline, top photo: Jesus “Chuy” Esquivel with 4Stage AVL, right, shows Bo Asher some of the features of the new lighting system at the National Theatre, including light patterns and colors that can be projected onto the walls of the theater. The system is controlled by an app on an iPad. For more photos, check out the Breckenridge Texan’s Photo Gallery. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Editor’s Note: This article was updated at 9:30 p.m. Sunday, June 6, to add more details about tickets to the Shine concert.


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