Wabeno Area Players, Pride Ride and WHS Join Forces to Improve Nancy Volk Auditorium Technology

“When schools and community groups work together, everyone wins,” says Rebel Drama Director Nick J. Lowery. “We’ve gotten a recent donation from The Pride Ride to help with the Spring Musical, and the continued help we receive from the Players is greatly improving the facility in which both our groups perform and many residents of the area can enjoy high quality theatre.” 

Wabeno Area Players and Wabeno High School are continuing their community and school partnership to improve the Nancy Volk Auditorium at WHS. With additions, tweaks and maintenance of the lighting and sound systems, they are working on turning the space into a state-of-the-art theatre. It is coming just in time as Rebel Drama’s March 15-17 run of Queen’s We Will Rock You is going to need to utilize every bit of tech the high school tech crew can get their hands on.

Students, Community and Professionals come together to make the Nancy Volk Auditorium facility state-of-the-art.  Pictured Left to Right: Dean Kolze (Lighthouse Productions), Logan Riebe (WHS Student), Jan Volk (Wabeno Area Players), Evan Thomas (WHS Student) and Drew Arnold (Lighthouse Productions)

“We’ve had a wonderful facility since the addition to the school in the 1990’s,” says Lowery. “The core of the facility has remained the same, and it has always been a great performance space. But as time has gone by, the possibility for even better sound and lighting has arisen. The Players have done a great deal of work helping us maximize our facility’s potential while keeping the costs down. What’s even more amazing is that they are doing all this while preparing for their performance of On Golden Pond at Madonna Hall at the end of March! Rebel Drama can’t thank them enough.”
On February 27th, WAP and WHS took another step in their efforts to improve the technology available for performances in the “Nancy Volk Auditorium.” Dean Kolze from the Lighthouse of Green Bay brought in some new lighting fixtures and several used ones. He and a crew of volunteers from WAP and the WHS student body did maintenance on the existing lighting system, installed the new lights and spent time learning how to repair and maintain the lights and the system. WHS provided for the maintenance costs while WAP arranged for the training, equipment and installation. 

The result will be the elimination of several “holes” in the lighting grid and dark areas on the stage. Also, the increased number of lights will make it easier to highlight one area of the stage while leaving others dark. “We just didn’t have enough power to light one area without pulling lights from other areas,” explains Lowery. “Now, we should.”But WAP and WHS aren’t done there. The sound board from the lighting booth is being moved to the “house,” behind the seating in the main auditorium. Sound operators have had difficulty accurately hearing what the audience hears during a performance. The move will alleviate that. Moving the board includes knocking a hole through a cement wall and building a table, protective border and a locking cover for the board. WHS custodial staff, Fab Lab and WAP volunteers have worked together on the project.
All this is driving the new Fine Arts Series the Players have started.  The space will be ready for national touring groups that require advanced systems to perform.  This is Forest County’s premier performance venue. 
Audiences will get a chance to see what Rebel Drama does with the improvements to the Nancy Volk Auditorium in We Will Rock You this March, and a chance to see Wabeno Area Players get creative with the new tech in their production of Working this summer. With new lights to play with, the future is looking bright for both of our local theatre troupes.

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