Furman SmartSequencing Technology Helps Historic Theater Operate with Ease After 70th Anniversary Restoration

When The Garland Theater opened its doors in 1945, it quickly became an iconic presence in Spokane, Washington. In 1999, Katherine Fritchie purchased the theater, realizing that the treasured venue needed some serious upgrades if it was going to continue to be a vital part of the community. Dedicated to revitalizing theater while maintaining its beloved history, Fritchie turned to local integration firm Hoffman Pro Systems to design and install a new AV system protected, powered and operated by a Furman SmartSequencer™. 

“I have been working with Katherine and her staff for more than three years, helping them maintain the original, outdated system,” System Designer and Project Manager at Hoffman Pro Systems David Lewis explained. “When I finally received a call regarding the plan for a total AV upgrade, I was overjoyed. It was a pleasure to put together a complete package of equipment for the theater’s revitalization.”

Prior to the renovation, The Garland Theater had a manual outlining a detailed procedure to turn the system on and off. If one switch was flipped incorrectly, it could tarnish the patron’s cinema experience or even damage the equipment. To simplify the system’s operation, a Furman CN-2400s SmartSequencer with a keyed ON/OFF switch was installed into the rack.  The CN-2400s enables a pre-set sequence for powering up and powering off the connected equipment. Plus, it delivers classic Furman filtration and protection to ensure the connected gear operates at its optimum performance. “Now, when a new staff member joins The Garland Theater, they learn to turn the key on the Furman and not to touch anything else,” Lewis joked. 

Focusing heavily on the theater’s audio, the goal of this project was to update the original JBL system that had been in the theater for more the 10 years. Overcoming many challenges due to the building’s historic architecture, Hoffman Pro Systems successfully installed more than 30 new speakers, amplifiers and subwoofers to enhance the cinema experience. 

“For better coverage, riggings and lifts were incorporated throughout the theater to elevate the speakers off of floor level and behind the screen,” Lewis stated. “By updating the left / right surrounds, adding four speakers in the rear of the theater and one on each side, we were able to bring the system up to 7.1, ultimately covering the theater with great side and rear fills for patrons’ enjoyment.”

A new Christie projector was installed as well as new seating and upgrades to the main entrance. With improved food options and a full bar, The Garland Theater has become a hot spot to watch special events such as the Rocky Horror Picture Show and sporting events like Washington SeaHawks game and the Super Bowl. 

During the day, The Garland Theater can be rented out by local businesses for meetings and events. In order to adjust the sound system to accommodate these occasions, a SoundCraft EPM mixer was included for wireless microphone inputs as well as background music and computer sources. Utilizing the mixer and the Furman SmartSequencer, the theater’s staff can set up the room and system quickly for presentations, including PowerPoint or video inputs.   

“We were able to install the entire system under budget and in time for the venue’s 70th anniversary celebration,” Lewis concluded. “It was a special moment to sit in a theater that I helped revive, while watching ‘The Jungle Book,’ the first movie that I went to see with my parents as a child.”

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