Newsletter – 05/07/2021



9am – NOON

(Please wear a mask)

Dear Strand Fan, 

It has been a busy few weeks at the Strand.   First and most important was to repair our roof leak.   The freeze/thaw cycle plays havoc with our 50+ year old roof.   It is one of those items that needs to be replaced, but we need to just help it limp along.    The leak was devestaging this year, damaging our tin ceiling and wall plaster.   Last week the weather was finally in our favor and we repaired the damage.

(Warning, tech talk ahead)   The roof over the auditorium is a built-up tar roof.   It has had many coats of tar and seal.  We have resealed it 4 times since 2008.   The roof over the lobby is a new rubber roof.   Before we installed our new HVAC in 2015 it was a project that had to be completed.   The entire area of the 1916 building drains to a single valley.   When we inspected sure enough there were cracks in the valley.   The valley drains into a roof drain in our neighbors building.   When the alley was vacated so the two buildings to our south could be joined, this was the solution for our water problems.   It is a good solution but still makes us nervous.   Our gutters from the stagehouse portion of the theater (1875) are piped to that drain too.

On a sunny Saturday two volunteers traveled to the roof with patch and fiber in hand.    They patched every evidence of a crack.   The major cracks were easy to spot, but there were a myriad of little cracks too.    After a long morning everything was finished.    We will reinspect throughout the summer.   Our rain event of 1.5” this week proved successful.  Bone dry inside.   Now the unenviable task of assembling the scaffolding and heading to the ceiling to repair the damage. 

We also prepared the last bit of space under the stage for our concrete.   This week the day arrived and a crew of 10 from Runnebohm Construction descended into the Strand.    Shelby Materials poured the concrete into a pumper, which took it down under the stage.    There is a moisture barrier under the concrete, so we knew it would take some time to cure.    After a long day the floor was finished.   It is perfectly level and looks fantastic!    The space of our old dressing room was embarrassing.   It was not to the standards of the rest of the theater.   Those days will be gone soon.   As we see the new dressing room take shape, it will be clean, crisp, and double the size!   

In order to accommodate the secondary access under the stage, we had to remove a  1’ x 5’ section of the concrete ramp.  Easier said than done.    Professional Concrete Drilling came to the theater to accomplish the task.    The prep work was amazing.    It was time the hydraulic saws got to work.   Quickly the 6+” concrete was cut and removed.   This was done as a wet cut, and there was no dust!   The contractor took great care with our theater and when he left it was spic and span clean.    Another major item checked off the list. 

Now to put everything back together.   First order of business is the floor joists.   After much back and forth our wonderful volunteer Bob Schlick devised a solution that negated the need for a steel support.   Late this week Strand supporter Jim Marshall came up with another fantastic idea.  Rather that support the joists from the back masonry wall, just use the interior stud wall we intended to build anyway.   Brilliant!   The job just got a whole lot easier.    The ledger board for the stage end of the joists is installed and ready.    

The next order of business was to finally design the stage left stairs from the new space.   This will be a crossover, allowing actor entrances from stage left as well as the existing stage right entrance.   The stairs were designed and everything fit perfectly.    We will have a 9” trend with a 6-⅞” rise.  Ideal.   Thoses, along with the stud walls, will be built in the next few weeks.   We have HVAC, electrical, and plumbing work to do too.   The main gas line feeding the theater has to be moved one foot up.   We decided it was a job for a professional, not us!

Our work session this week will focus on turning our space back into a theater.   We will remove all the protective plastic, and mop every floor surface.  The stage will get cleaned and mopped, sound system tested, seats wiped down, carpet cleaned, and bathrooms brought back to performance ready condition.    That is a lot to do.   We could use your help!

Our plans are still to gently start performances at the end of June.   We will be moving slowly due to the uncertainty of the pandemic.  There is a time to be a leader, and now is not that time for the Strand.  Too many health related concerns for us to be back into full operation.    We have always said our mantra for performances was Audience Safety, Audience Comfort.   Until we can guarantee both, we will be patient and remain closed or on a very short schedule.  

At this point we plan to get somewhat up to speed starting in October.   We are booking a full season for 2022 for 150+ performances.    We can’t wait!

If you need your theater fix, you are in luck.  The Shelbyville High School Theatre Department is performing VINTAGE HITCHCOCK: A LIVE RADIO PLAY.  This online play will showcase talented students.   Check their website for tickets and additional information.

This week there is a performer bringing classical guitar at the Charles Davis Mansion.   The pandemic inspired performance features Seraphina Provenzano on guitar.   Nice to see live music starting.  

As we are closed don’t forget that many of our outstanding local bands perform at local bars.    The level of talent is great and we hope to be welcoming them back to the Strand yet this summer. 

Our marquee has a Shakespeare quote.  Any guesses to which play?   Also for all you out of town readers, the past few weeks we have included a message in Spanish on our marquee.    It is fun.

This week we have our normal work session on Saturday May 8.  We are taking Saturday May 15 off, but will be back the following week.  

Things are getting exciting.  Thank you for the support.   See you at the Strand!