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But now, the Mayfair Theatre's front-of-house lighting truss has been replaced, theatre manager Bruce Collier says.
"The front-of-house lighting truss is suspended above the audience in the auditorium, and with up to half a tonne of lighting equipment attached to it, the risk of failure is unacceptable."
Mr Collier said the theatre's former lighting truss was "home-built" and had been shining light on the stage since about 1970.
However, it no longer met modern safety standards in the entertainment industry.
Mr Collier said the new truss cost $17,000 and would greatly improve the safety of patrons attending shows in the theatre.
The theatre had been increasingly busy during the past two years, which meant it could fund the new truss with theatre reserves which had built up from "modest" operating surpluses, he said.
"Safety issues are the first priority for available funds, before new carpets, paint work or other cosmetic improvements which we would nevertheless like to make in due course."