While many industries took a hit during the COVID pandemic, the home entertainment business is booming. More than 74 million Americans use Netflix, and online viewing time grew 44% worldwide in the last three months of 2020, according to USA Today. That makes Fulton-Montgomery’s newly transformed RAO Theater space all the more visionary.
“Today, the performing arts industry is on pause,” theater director Jason Radalin said in a recent interview, “but soon we’ll be back to normal, and we’re going to be ready to start pumping students out into this industry locally and in other places, too.”
In fact, the pandemic created an opportunity for Radalin and the FM Foundation to upgrade the theater with technologies that couldn’t have been imagined when it was built in 1998. Funding provided by the Rao family and Stewart’s shops equipped the theater with LED lighting fixtures, a 4k laser projector, digital sound, and a movie-sized screen, among other improvements. These cutting edge additions empower students to learn the science and craft of entertainment technology on the very tools they’ll be using in the field when they graduate.
“We’re the only SUNY program that’s doing this,”
“We’re the only SUNY program that’s doing this,” Radalin notes proudly.
“Not only are we training students in live performance technology, but also audio and video and computer networking and, essentially, computer programming because everything is digital today. We’re trying to give students lots of different tools so they can go out there and freelance in this new world of content.”
The versatile venue serves multiple functions on campus in addition to training future directors, sound and light engineers, and digital content producers. It provides a meeting space for the entire community. We hope this is the place that you will come to be enlightened by engaging speakers, to be thrilled by theatrical performances, to be moved by local and visiting musicians, or to catch a sneak preview screening of a student film.
We see the new and improved RAO Theater as the future of the entertainment business. It’s an incubator for your favorite streaming program of 2023. It’s where the next great New York band is going to premier. It’s where we’ll spend some of our most memorable moments together when we can finally get back together. We want to see you there, but you don’t have to wait to get involved. You can join other art and technology lovers today in supporting the newly renovated theatre by purchasing a seat-naming opportunity. Let everyone know that your seat is already taken. Click below to learn more