Something New Every Day – Like a ‘Green Roof’

July 27, 2006

One of the things I enjoy most (and sometimes least) about working in theater is that every day is a new adventure.

You never know what problems may arise or situations may pop up.  An actor may fall ill and emergency understudy rehearsals are needed.  Set pieces or props may have been broken during the show the night before.  Or perhaps the computer network will fail and cause chaos in the box office.

All of these things just help make each day interesting.  This year, however, as we complete construction of the new theater by day and host productions in the space by night, the daily unexpected surprises have reached a new height.

Each night after dinner as I head to the theater to prepare for another evening of ticket taking, I wonder what new surprises may be waiting for me.  Will it be new doors? New house lights?  Handrails?  Or perhaps some doorknobs?

The only thing which is certain is that there will be SOMETHING new which makes the theater more beautiful, more useful, and closer to being completed.

When we opened our new space June 20, after nine months of breakneck-pace construction, the theater was complete enough to be functional and allow for a wonderful production of “Master Class.”

However, as many patrons noted, the theater was not quite complete.  Finish work and aesthetic elements were still needed.  Since that evening, construction crews have worked around our performances, technical rehearsals and dress rehearsals and managed to accomplish a tremendous amount of work.

The large red-sided sliding panels on each side of the theater, which allow us to keep the space entirely open-air on warm evenings and close the space if it rains or is cold are complete and in use each evening.  Stunning cedar doors have been installed at the theater’s entrances.  The balcony has been completed and opened for use along with a skybridge from the upper parking lot constructed from the glulams (large support beams) in the old theater.

Additionally, the red barn exterior siding is nearly complete.  The interior of the theater is being sided in cedar, and each day finishing touches on the theater’s interior walls, ledges and closets are being added.

Perhaps one of the most fascinating changes occurred this week as we watched the vegetative or “green” roof be installed on the audience pavilion.

First, a layer of soil was laid out.  Then seeds were spread over the entire surface, and finally the roof was “plugged” with individual sedum plants.  Within two weeks, they say, the plants will have taken root and we can watch as our green roof really takes shape.

Aside from being a beautiful and interesting feature of the new theater, the vegetative roof is practical.  The soil and plants will break the sound of rain hitting the roof during performances and dramatically decrease runoff which could be noisy and burdensome.  Furthermore, the green roof should help keep the space cooler in the hot summer months.

While there is still work to be done on the space including the completion of handicapped restrooms on the main floor and balcony level, a second set of stairs from the balcony, and the tweaking of the sound system, the theater is continually reaching a more complete state.

Soon, we will be able to really settle in and call it home.  For now, I will continue to look forward to my daily evening jaunt through the theater to discover what wonderful surprises have been added during the day.

Please join us in our increasingly beautiful new home for a night of madcap comedy with “Noises Off” through July 30 or for the award-winning musical “Cabaret” beginning August 3.  For tickets, visit our website at or phone the box office at 920-868-3287.  See you by the bay!

Megan Felsburg is Director of Development at Peninsula Players Theatre.