Guild Hall, East Hampton






Originally built in 1931 as a meeting place for the community and a traditional theater for new productions and traveling shows, the 360-seat John Drew Theater at Guild Hall has continued to grow. In 2009, the theater was restored to its initial glory with its circus tent style ceiling, original moldings, and the reconstruction of the beloved balloons chandelier. During that renovation, expansive upgrades to the sound and lighting were completed. In June of 2018, a new wave of upgrades began with the installation of a more advanced sound system, followed this past month by the installation of a cinema industry-standard Stewart perforated screen.
The octagonal shape of the theater paired with its high ceiling presented a challenge for the acoustics, which required improvement through sound technology. Michael Conrader, chief audio engineer, was the consulting Project Manager for the 2018 audio system upgrades which include a top-of-the-line d&b Audiotechnik point source speaker system with amplifiers that deliver unprecedented sonic clarity and power, supported by 12 channels of Shure ULXD wireless microphones and new professional computers and software for playback of songs and theatrical cuing.
d&b is internationally regarded as the leading company for sound reinforcement systems. This system focuses on delivering the same quality of sound no matter where you are seated in the audience or balcony. The new system has been engineered holistically so the loud speakers and electronics work harmoniously to maximize efficiency, consistency, and ease of use.
The Shure ULXD wireless microphones offer uncompromising audio clarity. This hardware delivers the best-performing digital wireless technology available, offering an extended rechargeable runtime that is generations ahead of any other available system in its class, thus ensuring that no amplified word spoken from the stage will ever again be lost.
The perforated screen allows audio to pass unimpeded from onstage speakers newly positioned directly behind it. This screen, standard in every cinema in the United States, allows the viewer to be fully drawn into and immersed in the film experience. Dialogue, supporting music and sound effects now emanate with greater clarity and intelligibility from the image on the screen instead of from a distant location across the theater, far removed from the image source. The perforated screen is the new, key ingredient that binds together all of the other enhanced audio elements.
“Michael Conrader led our technical team of Kevin Preller, Anthony Quartararo, Sebastian Paczynski, and Joe Brondo, and these gentlemen worked long hours, late nights and pulled off a complex and amazing job racing against a pretty tight clock,” says Josh Gladstone, the John Drew Theater’s longstanding Artistic Director. “Working carefully within a budget generously supported by Guild Hall’s Board of Trustees, they spearheaded a two-part campaign that began in June, implementing equipment that sonically lifted the room to amazing new heights. Summer audiences were thrilled with the sound at concerts by world-class artists like Yo La Tengo, Richard Thompson, Bela Fleck, and The Avett Brothers – and the artists were thrilled too. We got a LOT of compliments on the room.”
“With the new screen and speaker positions in place,” Gladstone continues, “the whole vision comes together gorgeously – dare I say, symphonically. The cinema and telecast experience sounds just as crisp and sharp as the live concert or play-going experience. Come to the Drew and close your eyes – you won’t be able to tell if Alec Baldwin is speaking from the screen of Mission Impossible: Fallout or live from the lip of the stage 10 feet in front of you. I’m exceedingly partial, but I do believe that the John Drew Theater is now, without a doubt, the best sounding room between Montauk and Hoboken.”
158 Main Street, East Hampton, N.Y.
Phone: (631) 324-0806
Box Office: (631) 324-4050
Guild Hall, one of the first multidisciplinary centers in the country to combine a museum, theater, and education space under one roof, was established in 1931 as a gathering place for community where an appreciation for the arts would serve to encourage greater civic participation. For nearly nine decades, Guild Hall has embraced this open-minded vision and provided a welcoming environment for the public to engage with art exhibitions, performances, and educational offerings. Art and artists have long been the engine of Guild Hall’s activities and the institution continues to find innovative ways to support creativity in everyone. 



AAQ Resource: Austin Patterson Disston Architects