Bama Theater to Reopen Following Facility Renovations, Debuting First Show Saturday
After closing this summer for extensive renovations, the Bama Theater is reopening just in time for its fall season, which will kick off Saturday night.
As previously reported by the Thread, the Bama Theater shut down normal operations in late June to undergo much-needed facility upgrades. The facility originally planned to reopen in August, but construction issues pushed back its return.
Sandra Wolfe, executive director of the Arts and Humanities Council of Tuscaloosa County, said she is happy the theater is back open and cannot wait to have visitors experience the newest components of the facility.
"The excitement over opening this space after such a long time is more than I can describe," Wolfe said. "It is great to walk in and see the transformation because this is a special place for our community and I'm proud that our community has preserved this over the years. To be part of the preservation for the next 84 years is exciting. It's great to see the care and the love that the community has for the theater."
Wolfe said some of the key changes to the theater include the replacement of all of the seating, which are now maroon in color and complemented by aisle lighting and handicap-accessible seating throughout. The concrete flooring was removed to allow the wiring for the lighting to be housed in the flooring, creating a newly designed flooring that Wolfe said is polished and makes cleaning easier for staff.
"Visitors are going to notice in the theater itself, the stained and polished concrete floors," Wolfe said "My understanding is that back in the 1980's when they put in the seats at that time, they really didn't do anything to the concrete floors so they were really in rough shape. They were also hard to keep clean but these floors are shiny."
The carpet in the facility was replaced with paneled carpet, which Wolfe said allows easy replacement in the event of damage or staining. She said the carpet, which is blue and includes a unique design, creating great contrast throughout the auditorium.
"The carpet tiles, which are based on a medallion that is painted underneath one of the several of the light fixtures underneath the balcony section, was created in the carpet and made specifically for the Bama Theater," Wolfe said. "They'll be easy to replace as needed if there's a terrible spill or something like that, which is going to help with the longevity of that carpet. It's a huge difference and everything just ties together nicely. To have the color from the blues that are throughout the theater and that maroon color, it's nicely put together."
The concession area, along with the Junior League Gallery, includes acoustic wall panels that were replaced. Seats on the lower level of the balcony were also removed to allow better visibility and had new railing added for extra safety measures.
Wolfe said she is excited for the first featured event, the Pink Box Burlesque's 15th Annual showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, which will take place Saturday at 8 p.m. Wolfe said the opening will allow more events to follow, including several holiday events scheduled for the end of 2022 and early 2023.
"I'm I'm thrilled that they will be the first to open the space," Wolfe said. "Once we open, we are booked through Christmas. We'll be welcoming The Nutcracker back to the space, along with the Tuscaloosa Children's Theater performance of [Disney's] Frozen. The Junior League is hosting 'Merry and Bright at the Bama Theater' where they are showing the movies, "Elf" and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation." We will also be having a donor appreciation party on January 26."
Check out the new features in a gallery of photos compiled by the Thread below.