- Associated Press - Monday, March 20, 2017

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - Names will still shine in lights at the Bama Theatre’s wraparound marquee, as they have for its nearly eight decades as a movie palace and performing arts venue, but, starting this week, with a 21st-century touch.

The central panel of the three-part Bama marquee has been converted to a digital LED screen, after a week of installation that began March 13. While the physical work is complete, electric circuitry was still in progress Friday afternoon.

The Arts and Humanities Council of Tuscaloosa, which operates the Bama, had hoped to fire it up for a Friday night performance, but it will more likely be on for the first time Monday night, for the Hudson Strode Film Series showing of the 2006 Chinese film “The Banquet,” loosely based on Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.”

“We only got the install date (March 10), and didn’t know if it would be ready in time” for the weekend, said Meghan Truhett, marketing coordinator for the Bama Theatre.

The digital LED screen, which will display current and upcoming shows and events, can be programmed from inside the building. With the older method, an employee had to climb a ladder and place plastic letters by hand. Some concern was expressed about the alteration, but the Arts Council noted the central portion being replaced isn’t original to the 1938 structure.

For those who prefer the older look, the two side panels, facing Greensboro Avenue and Sixth Street, retain the physical lettering. The display panel is centered on the old facade, which retains the neon BAMA sign, with the chasing bulbs still in place.

The city of Tuscaloosa’s Zoning Board of Adjustment granted the Arts Council a variance for the LED installation. Funding for the sign came from the Bama Theatre Restoration Fund, a $1 fee charged to patrons attending events at the venue. Knight Sign Industries of Tuscaloosa installed the piece, with panels produced by Daktronics, a South Dakota-based manufacturer.

The Bama, at 600 Greensboro Ave. in downtown Tuscaloosa, hosts films, theater, dance, exhibits, comedy, music and more, both in Arts Council productions, and as rented out to other agencies. For more about the venue and its programming, see www.bamatheatre.org, or www.tuscarts.org for the Arts Council.


Information from: The Tuscaloosa News, https://www.tuscaloosanews.com

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