The Peace Center says, 'Peace out,' to 2,000 seats
Aug 01, 2018 09:17AM ● Published by Emily Stevenson
By Emily Stevenson
Photos by Amy Randall Photography
It’s out with the old and in with the new at the Peace Center. Twenty-eight years after the performing arts venue opened, the existing 2,111 seats in the Peace Concert Hall have been removed to make way for new seats and upholstery, in addition to other upgrades to the hall.
“The seats and most of the other features in the audience chamber are original to when the building first opened in 1990,” says Tara McNamara, director of communications for the Peace Center. “At 28 years old, they have held up remarkably well. But after thousands of performances, it’s time for a refresh.”
For the new fabric, the Peace Center is utilizing KM Fabrics, Inc., who manufactured the fabric for the original seats. KM provides woven velvet for stage curtains used in theaters and communities around the world. They also provide luxurious and durable woven upholstery fabrics in offices, hotels, casinos, theaters, and other venues. In addition, the company’s line of fabrics includes specialty fabrics for custom applications in automotive, aircraft, and various other end uses.
“We’re thrilled to use them again,” says McNamara. “They are well-respected textile manufacturers in the theater industry. This is a great opportunity to support a local business and make sure a bit of Greenville is in the theater.
“And the Huguenot Loft, which is attached to the Concert Hall, used to be a textile mill, so it’s nice to keep that aspect of the project local.”
KM Fabrics was established in 1979 in Greenville by Richard Heusel and currently employs 85 individuals. The company is excited about the opportunity to partner with the Peace Center again.
“Our community has greatly benefited from the presence of this facility, and so many lives have been enriched through the events held at the Peace Center,” says Mark Brown, CFO of KM Fabrics.
The $2.4 million capital project is exclusive to the Peace Concert Hall. More accessible seats will be added, including transfer seats with armrests that can be raised. The accessible seats will be scattered around the theater instead of in one location, offering more choice for patrons and more companion seating. A ramp has been added to the right side of the lobby so that both sides of the orchestra level are fully accessible.
There will also be some updates to the assisted listening systems. The soundboard, which is currently located mid-way back on the right side of the theater, will move to the center of the back wall of the audience chamber. This mix position is preferred by audio technicians, as it allows for the best sound experience. The Peace Center is also updating infrastructure in anticipation of future sound and lighting upgrades.
“The Peace Center is here and successful because the people of Greenville have been supportive for so many years,” says McNamara. “We’re always looking for ways to improve the experience of our patrons, and this is the most recent step in that journey. We’re excited to welcome the community back into the Peace Concert Hall to see the changes in September.”