Voice: Southwest theater too cold for shows

December 06, 2001

My husband and I attended the recent performance of "Funny Girl" on Nov. 20 at the Southwest Performing Arts Theatre. I thought the performance was delightful but the interior temperature of the facility was extremely cold! This was immediately evident when walking into the main auditorium! (Our $25 seats were in the loge section.)

I in turn politely asked an usher if the air conditioner could be turned down to a more comfortable temperature control and she responded, "I will see what I can do about it" and left. (We never saw her again and there was never any noticeable change in the temperature of the area.)

Because we had arrived early, there was time for my husband to return to our personal van and get and return with our golf rain gear and sweaters and stocking hat, which we wore the entire "Funny Girl" production. All those seated around us admired us for wearing the "weather gear" as they too were voicing their displeasure at the coldness in the auditorium! Many around us were elderly and had no outer gear with them, no sweaters, no jackets, no coats etc …


During the entire Act I, the auditorium remained very cold! At intermission many people around us left and did not return to their seats. My husband wandered to the top of the stadium seeking a possible warmer environment but to no avail, although he did encounter other people who were all complaining how cold they were.

I again asked an usher if the air conditioner could be turned down and she responded, "There is nothing that can be done!"

At that point, my husband and I went down to the premium orchestra area and sat down, as there were by now many empty seats available. The gentleman who my husband sat next to stated, "This place is so cold. I will never come back!" After the performance we were two of the first persons in the parking lot and it was also most evident that many had already left at intermission!

Mr. William Gay, as the president of the El Centro Education Foundation, how does it feel to support a fine architectural building but still cause great discomfort and perhaps health concerns to the audience? How do you think the performers reacted when they came out for Act II and saw so many empty seats that were previously filled during Act I? They put many hours and years to achieve their performance status and what a "slam" to not know why!

It is hopeful that the foundation board and the Southwest theater would address this problem, correct it for all and then return to continued successful performances.

In Christ's love:


El Centro

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