In a recent visit to Memorial Hall’s beloved Anderson Theater, you may have noticed that the light bulbs on the proscenium (the plaster arches over the stage) and the beautiful Tiffany glass chandeliers have been increasingly going dark. It’s not because we’re too lazy to change the bulbs! This is a complicated issue with two dimensions:

Theatrical Tech & Bulbs – Because we use sophisticated theatrical technology to dim all of the lights in the theater, we require a special kind of light bulb. Unfortunately, the bulbs that were specified when we finished the renovation have been discontinued. The company we turn to for theatrical technology, ETC, has recommended a new combination of lighting dimming system and bulb to maintain the standards to which we adhere.

Plaster and Sockets – Although $11 million was spent on the 2015-16 renovation in Memorial Hall, it was not enough to address every aspect of the building. You may be surprised to learn that the sockets and wiring inside the proscenium arches are largely the same wiring from 1908! Moreover, the shape of light bulbs was different at that time. The socket depth and plaster rosettes (decorative rings) around each bulb were suited to an elongated bulb. Put simply, modern bulbs can’t reach the recessed sockets, which themselves are decades upon decades obsolete.

Access to Chandeliers – When the building opened in 1908, a pulley system was used to lower the four Tiffany glass chandeliers to the floor for the light bulbs to be changed. That system disintegrated over time. When the building was renovated, floor-to-ceiling scaffolding was installed to give access to these. Without the scaffold, no bulb-changing extension or lift is able to reach these bulbs.

In order to repair this issue:

1) We must replace the dimming system for the proscenium and house lighting.

2) We must buy new bulbs that will perform effectively with that system.

3) Scaffolding must be built to access the proscenia.

4) A plasterer must remove the rosettes to allow access to electrical components.

5) An electrician will then install contemporary wiring and light sockets with appropriate depth.

6) The plasterer will re-install the rosettes.

7) A painter will touch-up the areas around the rosettes.

8) A rigger will install a new pulley system to lower the front two chandeliers to the ground to allow them to be changed. An electrician will install a long “tail” of cable to allow the chandeliers to travel.

We project that this two-week project will cost approximately $60,000 with the following budget:

Memorial Hall Proscenium Lighting Repair Budget

Proscenium Arches

New Dimming System: $10,000.00
New Bulbs: $4,500.00
Scaffolding: $6,800.00
Plaster Work: $13,500.00
Electrical Work: $20,000.00
Painter: $2,000.00


Pulley System: $2,500.00
Electrical Work: $500.00

TOTAL: $59,800.00


Please consider a gift to help keep the proscenium Lights On at Memorial Hall! Even a small gift will go a long way to ensuring that our treasured venue looks as fantastic as the day it opened nearly 120 years ago.

Donations to non-profit Memorial Hall are also fully tax-deductible.


To make a contribution:

Online: CLICK HERE and make a donation via credit card.

Phone: call the Memorial Hall Box Office at 513.977.8838 (Tu – Fr, 1pm – 6pm)

Mail: Mail a check payable to the “Cincinnati Memorial Hall Society” to 1225 Elm Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202