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Digital Marquee Installed at Cortland Repertory Theatre Downtown

The long-awaited marquee sign was officially unveiled at Cortland Repertory Theatre's downtown location.

Cortland Theatre Marquee Sign on exterior
Photo Credit: Cortland Repertory Theatre

When Cortland Repertory Theatre was renovating the building at 24-26 Port Watson Street in the city of Cortland to create the new performing arts space “CRT Downtown”, a marquee for the front of the building was planned as an important feature. “With a flat-fronted building, we needed some way to show passers-by who and what we were,” says Producing Artistic Director Kerby Thompson. However, after a long 5-year capital campaign that ended in 2015, and the goal of $2.25M successfully raised just for construction and building renovation costs, the idea of a marquee had to be put on the back burner. “We never lost sight of it, though, and we continued to investigate possibilities while putting money aside for the project when we could.” Thompson says.

Then the Covid health crisis took hold, and the theatre was essentially closed for a year and a half. Thanks to research by the CRT Board Treasurer Garrison Marsted and the CRT staff, federal and state funding opportunities were discovered to help struggling performance venues keep afloat during those difficult times. Grants were written and with financial assistance, the marquee was back on the table for discussion. Cost concerns created adjustments to the size and pixelation of the sign, and limitations of how far a sign can overhang a sidewalk on a state road caused redesigns. “We originally pictured a digital version of an old-style movie theatre marquee,” Thompson says, “but that was not meant to be because of the shallow depth we were allowed.” Meetings with the mayor and city council created workable alternatives, allowing the project to move forward. However, Covid-related slow deliveries caused the materials for the building of the digital sign to be delayed.

Finally, on the morning of May 3, the Binghamton-based companies of C&E Electronic Displays and Matzo Electric Signs installed the marquee in just over four hours. “We’re very happy with the look of it, though we are still learning about how it all works!” Thompson says that the sign messages are controlled wirelessly through a program installed on the theatre’s computers. “Of course, the ultimate goal is to introduce new people to our shows and events. The addition of this marquee is a significant part of CRT’s 50th Anniversary year.”

"...the ultimate goal is to introduce new people to our shows and events. The addition of this marquee is a significant part of CRT’s 50th Anniversary year." – Kerby Thompson

The CRT Box Office will open for all summer ticket sales on Monday, May 23. Currently, summer subscriptions, flex passes, and gift certificates are available for purchase by calling 800-427-6160, visiting, or stopping by the Box Office. Spring Box Office hours are Mon-Fri 9:00A–4:00P; when summer sales begin, hours will be Mon-Fri 9:00A – 6:00P and Saturdays from noon-6:00P.



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