The LHS theater gets a makeover


Teri Lance

Students in the theater after removal of seats

For the first time since the school’s opening, Lanier is undergoing a theater renovation. Although the stage will be the same, the carpet and audience seating will be replaced with new, updated models. The process started on the second of March, our digital learning day (DLD), when they dismantled and removed the seating.
The previous chairs in the theater were not up to par with the level of productions that Lanier has put on, and the drama club has wanted new seating for years. Under Lanier’s post announcing the theater’s renovation, @stageraiders on Instagram (Habersham Central Thespian Troupe) commented, “Oh thank goodness! All love to Lanier, but those seats were awful! Glad you are getting what you deserve for your audience.” To help the construction process the cast of Mamma Mia! joined the workers by helping pick up bolts and screws from the floor.
Although the students in theatre were excited to get new seats, they were still sad to see the old ones go. Before the seats were removed the Advanced Drama class took one last picture with the original house seats. However, for some students, a picture was not a big enough token; while the construction workers were busy unscrewing screws from the ground, some students were outside stacking seats in their trunks. When asked about this, Emily Nelson, a junior who plays Donna, said in a suggestive tone, “Seems I have a souvenir from the old theater. Can’t wait to see the new seats!” They plan to paint them as a kind of bonding experience, but besides that, no further plans have been made. This may seem like theft of school property, but don’t worry. The school is only reusing 100 of the seats for the field house, and the rest were to be thrown away.
While construction was underway, the drama club had a scheduled Mamma Mia! rehearsal to attend, and even though the theater was occupied with construction, Mrs. Lance, the director, still planned to continue. As expected, construction did delay rehearsals but the Mamma Mia! Cast and crew adapted and carried on.
Construction is still ongoing in the theater and is not planned to stop until the last week of March. People may think that it does not hinder the schoolday for Lanier’s faculty and students, some don’t even know that a renovation is taking place, but that is far from the truth for our theatre department. Mrs. Lance is in the process of directing five shows that all have to use the stage as their performance space. Considering the volume of the power tools, Lance and her students have had to yell just to hear someone one foot away from them. Although Mrs. Lance has found a temporary solution to the sound problem, she started using mics instead of yelling, it is still difficult when trying to rehearse a show on stage. To add to this stress, Junie B. Jones jr., the musical theatre class show, is planned to go on the day after construction is scheduled to end. Therefore, if construction is delayed, the show will have to find a creative alternative for audience seating.
To get further insight on the theater renovation I interviewed Mrs. Lance, she said, “We’re supposed to get a full renovation of lights, sound, floor, seats, and everything but they have started with the seats…We are currently at the point where the polished concrete is done it’s a very lovely shade of grey…and the chairs are coming in first thing tomorrow… Carpet is a TBD.” She commented on the theatre department’s feelings on this project as well, “We’re very excited to have seats that function and work and are nice. We’re very excited to not have carpet where people can spill drinks because even though we have a No Food No Drink policy, that seems to be ignored sometimes…It’s been a bit of a process waiting for them to get it all taken care of but we’re super excited and we only have about a week to go!” Thus far, the renovation has only been seats and flooring, but it will not stop there. Lance said, “We are on a list for [lighting and sound]. Last time I heard, it was waiting on a bid from the county system… They started with seats for everybody so we’re actually the first school to get new seats. …this summer Meadowcreek, Norcross, and Shiloh are all getting theres put in. We were the guinea pigs, but…sometimes it’s fun to be the guinea pigs because you get new things faster.”
Even though the lights and sound system have yet to be renovated, the seating and flooring is set to be finished on March 25th.