Auburn State Theatre
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Organization Details


Auburn State Theatre is a 501(c)3 nonprofit performing arts center in downtown Auburn, California. Since 1930, Auburn State Theatre (AST) has served as a vital hub linking entertainment, arts, and local businesses. AST has welcomed audiences for nine decades, carrying on through wars and economic downturns. Established as a non-profit organization in 2001 the AST functioned as a small 130 seat movie theatre until 2013. AST then made significant building improvements and developed a 340 seat art deco theatre. When the beautifully renovated State Theatre re-opened in 2014, it sparked a rejuvenation in Auburn. Shows at the Theatre attract over 19,000 patrons annually, with one-quarter of those coming from outside Placer County. We have always offered the best motion pictures and films, and we are happy we'll be able to welcome you back to the Theatre very soon! In addition, look for our outdoor movie presentations at the Station Public House!
Program Successes
- Auburn State Theatre has enhanced its programming and its facilities since re-opening in 2014
- Film successes have been consistent through 2018-2021. The diverse selection of films, even streamed, has increased visibility through marketing.
Auburn State Theatre's On Stage at the State series is an ongoing program that is on hold, but the performers are eager to return to the theater. State Theatre Acting Company will re-launch its production of The Drowsy Chaperone as soon as patrons are allowed back into our seats. We have also begun booking exciting acts with the hope that we can welcome audiences back in mid-2021.
Program Successes
Auburn State Theatre is eager to welcome audiences back for the exceptionally popular live music and acts we are famous for.
Even with the complete or partial closures do to COVID-19, upgrades in operations and programming will still present a need for enhanced fundraising. For the 2019-2020 season, Auburn State Theatre raised the bar on selection of attractions and headline entertainers that have greater audience potential. While this provides exciting shows, it also brings, higher costs and financial guarantees to performers. Auburn State Theatre is balancing these expanded costs with attracting larger audiences, and in its range of ticket pricing. The earned income through ticket sales covers the contractual costs of presenting, but not always the house overhead expenses. In the Auburn State Theatre Presents On Stage at the State, as well as Cinema at the State, sponsorships close the gap. The enjoyment of the Cinema and On Stage at the State events and programming is evident in the increased number of people purchasing tickets and patronizing local restaurants and shops. The theater's operation is an important driver in economic stability in downtown Auburn. With growth in clientele and larger shows, there is a need for expansion of the technical equipment to support the shows and reduce the amount of equipment rented. Rented equipment is often inferior to what we should own. What follows is a list of current technical equipment needs.

Auburn State Theatre Technical Equipment Needs:

Projector Upgrade
*Note: This project continues in the long-term planning stage. Industry trends in movie distribution influence this project. In addition, the project is also influenced by Auburn State Theatre's long-term movie programming strategy.
- Description: The Auburn State Theatre's current movie projector is 5,000-lumen LCD-based, with a contrast rating of 2,000. Upgraded equipment, such as an DLP projector, would provide better color contrast and a brighter image, potentially with better resolution. In addition, digital cinema projection is guided by a new technology standard, the Digital Cinema Initiative (DCI). This standard specifies methods for digital download, content protection through encryption, and display standards. As the cost of DCI support is very high, we will need to investigate whether a mainstream projector upgrade will be sufficient to meet future needs, or whether DCI-compliant equipment and server are necessary.
- Approximate Cost: Between $35K (Increased lumens digital projector) and $50K (DCI projector and server)

Digital Stage Snake
- Description: Digital snake to connect audio inputs to the Behringer X32 mixer.
- We currently use eight-channel analog stage "snakes" (bundled cords) to connect from audio devices on stage to the mixing console. A digital snake would eliminate some of the analog snakes by providing a direct connection from the stage position to the mixer. This digital snake transmits 24 channels over an Ethernet cable.
- The benefit of the digital snake is that setup time is reduced, and that we can rely on high quality digital signals to transmit the audio feed. We have experienced audio "pops" during a band performance due to use of a lower quality analog stage snake.
- Approximate Cost: $700 for the S16 snake

Video Image Server
- Description: Device to display fixed and video images.
- A personal computer is currently used to display advertisements and other images. Background images are used during most of our theatrical productions and the personal computer is also used to display these. This standalone device would replace the computer. It would allow cueing to be controlled automatically by the lighting console. In addition, it should improve the reliability of the advertisement display, as it does not rely on a general purpose operating system and applications. The device has the capability to enhance images via text or color overlays.
- Approximate cost: $1,000

Operational Capacity Enhancement:

More funding is required to build operational capacity and staffing. The need this request addresses is the need to increase financial support and operational capacity to increase the types of entertainment being presented through Auburn State Theatre Presents On Stage and Cinema at the State programs as well as needs of rental clients. The successes bring the need for better ability to support the entertainment and sustain excellence and professionalism. This will enhance the experience of the patrons as well as the entertainers.

Theater rentals mutually benefit Auburn State Theatre and the rental client. One challenge is balancing the rental rate to non-profits with Auburn State Theatre's need for the revenue, as a non-profit organization operating the theater building. The ongoing support of community through annual giving and unrestricted donations closes the earned revenue gaps. With expenses increasing as we strive in bring bigger and a more relevant variety of entertainment to the area, the need being met is additional funds to bolster earned revenue from shows. This is how the theater will continue to grow in popularity and audience. As this occurs Auburn State Theatre also is building capacity through equipment expansion, more marketing through advertising, and radio underwriting to widen audience and increase ticket sales.
Program Successes
Thanks to generous financial support through donations and ticket purchases, Auburn State Theatre will continue to grow, especially once we can re-open our doors.

There are many ways to provide needed financial support to Auburn State Theatre. Consider a Marquee Membership and receive discounts on tickets to events, make a donation at time of ticket purchase through the "tip-jar," or attend our Fall fundraising event.

Proceeds from our Fall fundraisers in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 allowed the Auburn State Theatre to seal and repaint the theatre building, purchase technical equipment that enhances all events, and upgrade the concession area, leading to higher quality entertainment and increased audiences. Donors, community volunteers, board members and patrons continue to lead the way forward in creating economic prosperity through the arts in Auburn's gem, the historic State Theatre.