The set of curtains which have served Colestock Auditorium since 2000 have taken their final bow, while a new set has taken their place.
An installation process on new stage and window curtains for the auditorium was completed Wednesday. The drapes were purchased through a grant from the John Nesbit Rees & Sarah Henne Rees Charitable Foundation, with the amount given coming to a little over $18,000, according to Colestock Auditorium Manager Robert Cartney.
Cartney said the original set of curtains were experiencing a range of problems from nearly two decades of use. This included the bottom of the stage curtain becoming dirty and the insulation of the window drapes beginning to fail.
“Just from use and all that, they were starting to show their age and they were starting to have issues with the curtains,” Cartney said.
The new set were installed by Pittsburgh Stage Inc., a Pennsylvania theatrical supply company. Installation took three days, with the workers finishing just around the close of the school day on Wednesday.
These drapes have many features over their predecessors. Both sets of new curtains have fire retardant woven directly into the fabric, while the window curtains have a lining that makes them better for heating and cooling the auditorium, according to Cartney.
Cartney said the Titusville Area School District is dedicated to the preservation of the auditorium, which he called a “hallmark of the school district.” According to him, people from other schools are often surprised to see such a high-class auditorium in a town of Titusville’s size.
“It is always a pleasure to hear people’s comments when they first come to the auditorium,” Cartney wrote in a thank-you letter to the Rees Foundation. “They marvel at what a small town has done to keep up such a historical place.”
Titusville Summer Theatre and Youth Theatre both wrote letters of support in the district’s application for the grant. Both companies use Colestock Auditorium regularly for their plays and musicals. The room is also used for assemblies, concerts by school musical groups and during prom.
The curtains come during a year when Titusville High School is celebrating its 150th anniversary, with the milestone being the theme of Homecoming this year. The auditorium has long been a part of the school’s history, having been built in 1931. It was part of Colestock High School, which still serves as the district’s high school, though under a different name. Before that, the district had multiple other school buildings for secondary schooling, including a wooden building on Main Street.
Ray can be reached, by email, at firstname.lastname@example.org.