Hale Center Theatre’s new facility in Sandy is nearing completion and is set to open later this fall. Officially called the Mountain America Performing Arts Centre, it features two separate stages and innovative stage technology.
The larger Centre Stage will incorporate Hale’s signature moving platform stage at the center of the theater.
With 900 seats, it’s significantly larger and features more legroom, with a steeper slope to the stage for unobstructed views.
"There is no stage in the world with as much stage technology as this," said Mark Dietlein, who is Hale’s CEO and the grandson of founders Nathan and Ruth Hale.
"This is part of our effort to create the ultimate live theatre experience," Dietline said to reporters touring the facility Wednesday.
New technology includes listening systems for people with hearing loss, “slip stages” that allow crews to slide pre-built sets onto the stage for a quick transition, and a state of the art fly system.
The stage at the center of the theatre is actually shaped like an oval, rather than a perfect circle. It features new automation which allows several parts of it to rise, lower, rotate and slide.
Dietlein notes that the machinery is much quieter and twice as fast as the current stage in Hale’s West Valley City theatre.
According to production designer Kacey Udy, the new space will up the ante for stage magic.
"We have our little book of our secrets that we’re hoping to play with in the next ten years," Udy said, adding that the stage is "the most flexible and the most entertaining space that we could think of."
The building, including its large parking structure and outdoor plaza, is worth more than $100 million. Sandy City bonded for more than $42 million and owns the building. About $37 million came from private and corporate donations.
Dietlein says the increased seating will allow the theatre company to nearly double its annual patronage. Hale currently performs to more than 270,000 people a year. Dietlein estimates that will surpass 500,000 patrons in the new performing arts center.
Ticket prices will increase, though only slightly. An adult ticket at the new theatre will cost $40, up from the previous $34. Youth tickets are available for $20 per show.
The smaller Jewel Box Stage opens September 1 with performances of "Forever Plaid." The Centre Stage opens Nov. 17 with a run of "Aida."