Down the Road: Orange City Enjoys New Knight Center Theater
By Larry Wentz
ORANGE CITY, IA — For years, the traditional Night Show was held in the old Town Hall in downtown Orange City. But this year the Night Show, which is "The Music Man" is moving here to the new $5.4 million Knight Center at Unity Christian High School. This new, state-of-the-art theatre seats 750 people, about a hundred more than the old town hall, which served the purpose for many years. "You know we always had those nice seats that you could sit in in the front. But then we had the bleacher seats. And if you didn't bring one of those bleacher seat backrests... you were doomed," said Night Show producer Sharon Vermeer. Vermeer has produced the Night Show for years. She says not only are there obvious improvements, like comfort, and great acoustics, but the new venue has forced the producers and the cast of nearly 40 actors and singers to make some changes. "We've had to make a larger set than we had. Our backdrops have completely changed. What we've been doing with mics has been changing. So there have been a lot of changes that we've run into. But they're all good things. We're looking forward to it," said Vermeer. Not only is the inside of the Knight Center a big improvement, but the entrance provides a much needed change too. "This space is more welcoming and inviting and air conditioned, there's lots of room at intermission, even after a show to thank and congratulate the performers," said Unity Christian High School Principal Wayne Dykstra. Dykstra says there's also been an added benefit for the school. "We have seen discipline go down because there's just room for kids to be and to socialize. We have more teacher, even though they're not on duty, that just come and hang out in here during their break. So we just see a lot more staff and student interaction," he said.Another unusual thing about the Knight Center: it's not often you see a city or public entity share the cost and use of building such this facility with a private school and fundraising campaign. Certainly some great teamwork there.
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