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Alberta Bair Theater prepares for full, 1,500-seat capacity in Billings

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Posted at 9:03 PM, Jun 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-04 00:11:16-04

The Alberta Bair Theater announced this week that it has lifted its limit of 300 at test events.

The testing will continue as the crew prepares for the grand opening in the fall.

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Stakeholders, who include donors and past ticket holders, have enjoyed one test show so far at the Alberta Bair Theater and the crew is getting ready for the real shows.

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KTVQ photo

"Everything is so fluid right now with COVID capacities being different in regions and states that it's been hard for big touring productions to get a route that can come together well," said Jody Grant, the theater's programming and marketing director. "But yes, we do have dates that I have now written down in pen. It's super exciting to get rid of the pencil and move to pen. This is really happening."

Everything looks ready and open, but they have a lot of testing to do.

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KTVQ photo

"We need to test, or go through rehearsals with all of the new systems in the theater," said Jan Dietrich, executive director for the theater. "Sound. Lights. But each of the genres have different requirements to what they set up. We need to be ready for our community and our patrons. That's why we're doing the test events."

During the first test show, seating was limited to 300 in the 1,500 seat theater.

Now theater management has lifted those capacity restrictions.

"Along with testing our concessions and scan-able tickets, we're testing the audience we need to make sure we're ready for full capacity," Dietrich said.

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This is all done so the theater can be ready in the fall,

"So we begin full capacity concerts with Kristen Chenoweth on Sept. 18," Grant said. "And then we move to John Driscoll Hopkins band on Sept. 21. And from there on out it's pedal to the metal. No capacities, we're bringing it all back to ABT."

"We're all very excited to be back home," Dietrich said.

Those who are not vaccinated will need to wear masks in auditorium, lobbies, and restrooms.