Lincoln Theater co-owner Marty Marchant looks at the exposed rafters of the theater on Saturday after they were uncovered by workers who removed the ceiling the previous week. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Lincoln Theater co-owner Marty Marchant looks at the exposed rafters of the theater on Saturday after they were uncovered by workers who removed the ceiling the previous week. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Lincoln Theater transformation a step closer

Demolition phase completed with removal of ceiling

PORT ANGELES — The century-old Lincoln Theater in downtown Port Angeles is one step closer to resuming its role as a premier playhouse for stage plays and theatrical performances as the next phase of renovation prepares to get underway.

The interior ceiling of the theater has been removed, revealing the roof structure and completing the demolition phase of the rejuvenation project.

Now comes architectural assessment, planning and permitting, which will pave the way for future new construction.

Ron Graham, president of Ghostlight Productions, said now that ceiling removal is complete, the theater can begin its transformation into a first-class venue.

“The deconstruction of the ceiling was one thing,” he said. “The next idea is to build a lift area — a fly area — over what will eventually be the stage.”

Ghostlight Productions is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit acting as a fiscal sponsor for the Lincoln. The Ghostlight troupe will be the 375- to 400-seat theater’s primary resident.

The Lincoln Theatre Renovation Project was given $175,000 during Giving Tuesday last December. The donation, received from an anonymous, private individual, is earmarked for finalizing the plans for the renovation of the theater at 103 E. First St.

Graham said now that the ceiling has been removed, blueprints would be drawn up for the next phase of the project, which takes the theater from renovation and into new construction.

Those plans currently include work in the area above what will become the stage, excavation of an orchestra pit and assembly of the stage itself.

The backstage area will be converted into dressing rooms with a green room for performers waiting to appear.

Also included in the plan is a cinema screen with a state-of-the-art sound system, a redesigned lobby with ADA-accessible equipment and a new exterior facade based upon the original 1916 theater design.

“It will become a working theatre,” Graham said.

Lincoln co-owner Marty Marchant was admiring the ceiling removal and the exposed roof structure on Saturday, pointing out structural features and eyeing the possibilities for the future of the theater.

“You gotta get back to the bones; then you can go forward,” Marchant said. “And that’s where we’re at.

“I’m pretty excited. I’m excited for the community.”

The current timeline calls for the project to be fully completed in 2025 or 2026.

Despite the downtown proximity with the under-construction Field Arts & Events Center, which is scheduled to open as a 500-seat performing arts auditorium with meeting rooms and convention space in 2023, the Lincoln will avoid competition, Graham said. The two venues will have different missions.

“We don’t see much of a conflict with them,” he said. “What we’re going to be doing is probably not something they’ll be able to do. And for what they are going to be very good at, we really don’t want to take any competition away from them.”

When complete, the Lincoln is expected to take its position as a major entertainment attraction at a coveted spot in downtown Port Angeles.

“It fills a niche that isn’t really filled by any other place right now,” Graham said.

Marchant said that although Ghostlight will be the Lincoln’s major tenant, he has hopes that theater’s calendar could be filled with other events, including the possibility of weekly comedy nights, open mic evenings and second-run cinematic films.

Ghostlight has plans for as many as four stage productions per year in the renovated Lincoln.

Graham said being guests in other venues has been successful for his acting troupe, but having a permanent home would open the door to bigger and better things.

“There’s a lot more we could have done if we had had our own place,” he said. “We could have brought in all the elements of a major of a Broadway production that we’d like to do. We will have that available to us here.”

________

Photojournalist Keith Thorpe can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 59050, or at kthorpe@peninsuladailynews.com.

Lincoln Theater co-owner Marty Marchant, left, and Ron Graham, president of Ghostlight Productions, examine the recently uncovered ceiling of the theater’s balcony area on Saturday in Port Angeles. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Lincoln Theater co-owner Marty Marchant, left, and Ron Graham, president of Ghostlight Productions, examine the recently uncovered ceiling of the theater’s balcony area on Saturday in Port Angeles. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

A ghostlight, a traditional playhouse fixture and signature of Ghostlight Productions, stands in the box office of the Lincoln Theater in Port Angeles. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

A ghostlight, a traditional playhouse fixture and signature of Ghostlight Productions, stands in the box office of the Lincoln Theater in Port Angeles. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Ron Graham, president of Ghostlight Productions, stands in the former lobby of the Lincoln Theater on Friday in downtown Port Angeles. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Ron Graham, president of Ghostlight Productions, stands in the former lobby of the Lincoln Theater on Friday in downtown Port Angeles. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

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