Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Sunrise Theatre in Fort Pierce opened its doors in 1923 as the largest theatre on Florida’s East Coast. Sixty years later, the theatre closed its doors due to the decline of the downtown area and refusal to convert to multi-screen operation.
In 1988, the Main Street Fort Pierce Association was established and began its effort to save the historic theatre, and in 1997, the St. Lucie Preservation Association, Inc purchased it.
By 2006, the theatre had been completely renovated to its original splendor and is now owned and operated by the City of Fort Pierce. The 1,236-seat theatre hosts national Broadway touring companies, concerts and comedy acts, and ballet and opera companies with full orchestras.
This year, the Sunrise Theatre upgraded its house sound system to digital by installing a Yamaha CL5 console with Rio3224-D and Rio1608-D input/output boxes. Visiting engineers for Tony Bennett, Ziggy Marley, The Alan Parsons Project Live, and Hotel California have already gotten their hands on the theatre’s new console.
“John Wilkes, our executive director, announced in front an audience that we had two donors from our board of directors that wanted to donate money for a new FOH console,” states Eric Hatcher, front of house engineer. “I found out about that at the same time the audience did. It was very shocking and yet exciting at the same time. I was given the go ahead to research new boards within a specific budget and looked at a Yamaha PM5D, Avid Profile, Soundcraft Vi6, and several others.
“A visiting engineer told me about the CL Series, so I researched that as well. As I began to look into it, I immediately fell in love with the CL, and the rest is history. The demo I was given after the fact, was icing on the cake.”
Hatcher notes that he went on various online forums, and he and the theatre’s technical director, Marty Petlock, spoke with some of the engineers that were coming through to see if they were agreeable to use the CL even though his (Hatcher’s) decision had already been made that the CL console was what he wanted.
“It sounds absolutely wonderful,” he says. “I am an analog man but this was one of the few digital consoles out right now that really impressed me, especially with the updated VCMs and effects, iPad control, and, the Premium Rack.”
Hatcher adds that he is running Dante networking in redundant mode. “I’ve also hooked my computer up to the CL to use Nuendo Live—purely awesome. This was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, thanks to our executives and donors.”
The theatre complex is also home to a 220-seat Black Box theatre, a state-of-the-art venue offering a variety of national, regional, local programming, completely outfitted with Yamaha products.