Lighting Up The North Shore

Fun Opportunity to Help the NorShor

A few weeks ago, The Norshor Theatre’s Facebook Page called for volunteers to help unpack, assemble, and hang stage lights. It sounded like a great opportunity to get involved with the theatre’s redevelopment and get a look at the incredible transformation that has taken place inside the – once abandoned – historic landmark.

NorShor Theatre renovation

Amazing progress in the NorShor Theatre. Image: Kyle Chisholm.

Related: A Brief History of Duluth’s Historic Arts & Theater District

The “Light Hanging Party”, as it was called, took place on January 14th. It was a cold day, but that didn’t deter a crowd of eager volunteers from arriving shortly after 9am – including me! Now, I’ve seen a lot of historic and current restoration photos… but this did not prepare me for the experience of stepping into a live restoration project. In fact, as soon as I stepped into the lobby I was awestruck by the space’s reforged magnificence. One of the volunteers who came in with me, immediately bellowed, “Wow…I haven’t been in here for maybe 20 years…and…WOW!” It was an impressive first impression, to say the least.

NorShor Theatre view of stage

Not a bad seat in the house! Here’s the view from the balcony. Image: Kyle Chisholm.

Related: A New Legacy for the NorShor

Once the volunteers were organized on stage, the crew leader (I believe his name was Mike) showed us the tools we’d be using and how to assemble the lights. We learned how to install the light bulbs and where to set them based on their model number. Then we transported the lights to different locations around the theatre. The process was pretty straightforward after I got through a careful practice round. The trickiest part was preventing oil residue from the c-clamps from getting on the bulbs. We had gloves and alcohol to get the job done cleanly, but any oil on the lights could reduce their longevity by hundreds (if not thousands) of hours. It was a big responsibility but all of the dedicated volunteers were committed to doing a thorough job.

In addition to exploring the renovated theatre, I got to see some its components in action. The stage lights are mounted on bars that are lowered and raised depending on lighting and maintenance needs for the various productions. The system runs incredibly smooth and quiet – something the Playhouse stage crew noted over and over with delight. I even got to go up into the higher reaches of the theater like the projection room and balcony catwalk which provided a stunning view of the stage.

I also made a brief visit to the upper floor office area. It’s a clean, bright space, with a great view of Superior Street below. By now, a heavy snow was falling and I spotted a great photo opportunity that I just couldn’t pass up. It’s not everyday that you get to see The NorShor Theatre marquee from upstairs.

NorShor Theatre Marquee

Looking out at the marquee on a snowy January day. Image: Kyle Chisholm.

Related: Follow The Norshor Theatre on Facebook!

The Norshor Theatre looks amazing and I am absolutely certain that you will enjoy the renovated space and the new energy that countless volunteers, hard-working construction workers, and tireless Playhouse team members have created. It is truly something to celebrate. Believe me folks, the NorShor will be a fabulous place for many celebrations to come.

If you’d like to explore The HART District and go behind-the-scenes to learn more about the Norshor Theatre and other exciting businesses, check out the HART of Duluth Walking Tour. It’s an exclusive, behind-the-scenes sensory experience that includes food samples, art demonstrations, craft cocktails and locally brewed beer.

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