Oldest Running Movie Theater in Canada Updates Sound with AlphaSorb™ Acoustical Panels

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The one hundred year old Patricia Theatre in Powell River, BC used an anonymous donation to enhance their audio with ASI’s Acoustical Panels

The elegant interior of the Patricia Theatre

There was a fantastic response from all audiences

The Patricia Theatre, located in British Columbia, is the oldest running movie theatre in Canada. Since 1913, it has also been the only way to view new feature films in the small community of Powell River. To continue showing new releases, the establishment had to convert to digital this year and upgrade its sound system. This normally costs tens of thousands of dollars. Luckily, the non-profit ‘Friends of the Historic Patricia Theatre’ ran a creative fundraising campaign and were able to raise the $90,000 that digital projection equipment would cost. But there was one more issue that the staff knew they had to address.

A large portion of the Patricia Theatre’s audience is elderly, and the new digital format does nothing to improve the intelligibility of the films’ audio. This is a problem for some of the most loyal Patricia Theatre patrons who may already have trouble understanding the films.

“One of the things that gets in the way of enjoyment for some people is their own hearing loss due to aging,” said Ann Nelson, who runs the Patricia Theatre with her son Brian.

An anonymous patron who recognized this issue donated funds to have AlphaSorb™ Acoustical Panels installed around the perimeter of the theater. The panels lowered reverberation and greatly improved the intelligibility and overall quality of sound.

“We’ve already had two severe tests of their effectiveness,” said Nelson, “a film last week that presented all of the biggest tests we ever face for comprehension: foreign accents and a mature target audience with 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel', and a live band concert with lots of wind instruments yesterday. There was a fantastic response from all audiences. Much improved dialogue comprehension with the film and much ‘smoother’ live performance sound”.

The AlphaSorb™ Acoustical Panels were made to match the existing walls and are barely noticeable beneath the colorful murals on the theater's interior. “[The panels are] really unobtrusive, which is perfect for a heritage building whose character-defining elements are so distinctive” said Nelson, “We’re so very happy and ready to talk to anyone who wants to about the experience!”

AlphaSorb™ Acoustical Panels are class 1 fire rated and available in one and two-inch thicknesses with NRC ratings up to 1.30. The panels are customizable in sizes up to 4’x10’ and are fabric wrapped with a wide variety of designer line Guilford of Maine patterns to choose from.

About Acoustical Solutions, Inc.:

Since 1989 Acoustical Solutions, Inc. has provided the detailed expertise needed to serve the noise control community. Acoustical Solutions, Inc. works with a wide variety of customers from commercial and residential development to worship facilities, recording studios and home theater designers. Acoustical Solutions, Inc. offers the industry's most comprehensive selection of noise control and soundproofing products, including a full line of indoor and outdoor industrial, commercial, environmental and architectural noise control products. For more information please visit http://www.AcousticalSolutions.com, call 1-800-782-5742, or see our media kit.

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Aimee Sanford
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