The Woodland Theatre in Kettle Falls is getting new heating and cooling systems thanks to a Community Strategies Grant from Inland NW Community Foundation. The grant covers the cost of the equipment with matching funds from Major Donors and the Friends of Woodland covering the costs for related electrical upgrades and weatherization, as well as the overall project coordination. Woodland members have also pitched in hours of labor to prepare for the furnace installations. The goal of the new heating and cooling systems is to extend the theater season to year-round performances and bookings.
In the true spirit of Woodlands, this is a community effort. While project coordinator Andrew Urbaniak has been coordinating the work by Norstar Heating and Cooling, Floener Electric and Rainbow Insulation, Woodland Theatre Facilities Chairperson Sean Taboloff has been busy building a roof protection over the backstage compressor and will be helping direct additional work parties of Woodland members to support the project.
Work on upgrades has been scheduled around a full calendar of fall performances. As the backstage system nears completion, the Woodland Theatre fall play, The Octette Bridge Club, is in rehearsal for performances October 7, 8, 9, 14, 15 and 16. Performers will soon have safer and more efficient gas heat backstage during their rehearsals and performances instead of plug-in electrical heaters.
Woodlands band and chorus are also in rehearsal for two concerts, an instrumental concert scheduled for Nov. 19 and 20 and a choral concert December 10 and 11, with rehearsals currently at the Colville Jr. High School, until the play concludes. Tom Anderson and Dan Raska of Norstar have assured Woodland performers the switch from the old theatre furnace to the new systems can happen in a day or two to ensure a seamless transition.
Now that the internal, less visible improvements are well underway, Woodlands plans to focus attention on the theater façade. The Woodland Board determined project focus in 2017 will be refurbishing the front façade to increase the visibility and the historic look of the theatre. Woodland Theatre, build it 1940, is one of the older buildings in Kettle Falls but over time has lost the original look to numerous repairs and upgrades while much of the interior still retains the original feel of the 1940s.
Plans for the façade will restore the exterior front to a more historic look while improving signage for performances.