Director, Architectural Acoustics Group
Warner Theatre has been a landmark in Erie, Pennsylvania since opening in 1931 as a movie palace and vaudeville stage. Over the years, it hosted a multitude of performances, concerts, and movies. Although the 2,230-seat theatre was still in use and well-loved over the decades, the artists and musicians that used the space were pushing the boundaries of the theater’s capabilities. Erie Events, manager of the state-owned theater, set in motion its renovation and expansion in 2018.
Acentech collaborated with architect Daniel P. Coffey on improving the acoustics and audiovisual systems within the historic theater spaces. We also consulted on the new 13,500 addition, which encompasses a rehearsal room the size of the stage, production offices, dressing rooms, laundry, wardrobe studios and loading bays.
The stage features a new appropriate orchestra shell system that helps ensemble members hear themselves better, improve balance among sections and onstage locations as heard by the audience, and project a stronger, more powerful, and more blended sound to the audience. The rehearsal hall features a generous volume, large operable curtain for variable acoustics, and a carefully-designed sound reflecting and absorbing ceiling system to provide excellent ensemble hearing while controlling reverberation.
Acentech also provided audiovisual systems consulting for the theatre’s new sound system, ADA-compliant assistive listening system, and integrated intercom and AV monitoring systems for backstage areas including the dressing rooms, rehearsal room and green room.
The revitalized theatre hosts more than 150 performances each year, from the Erie Philharmonic, Lake Erie Ballet, and Erie Broadway Series to live rock bands, national comedy acts and Dancing with the Stars broadcasts. This lovingly-restored and flexible theatre is well positioned to bring quality entertainment to the Erie region and inspire audiences for decades to come.