Saving The Stage

September 18, 2013 Updated Sep 18, 2013 at 12:57 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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September 18, 2013 Updated Sep 18, 2013 at 12:57 PM EDT

Ernie Lawrence loves singing the blues. One of his favorite places to perform is “The Stage” in Warsaw New York.

“The stage is a very special place,” Lawrence said.

It's a historic non profit theatre that hosts music, plays and movies.

“A lot of time, energy and financial resources were put in to making this a great place,” Lawrence said.

Paul Penner is the President of Western New York Performance Center Inc.

“The first building on this site was built in 1903,” Penner said.

It was turned into a movie theatre in 40 years later. The equipment has not been update since about 1960.

“Thirty-five millimeter projector and run in analog film. The reels are put on this machine and platters and spliced together. You build a film then it goes through these pullies and through the projector,” Penner said.

Now, They have a sign in front that says "Go Digital or Go dark". The entire move industry is doing away with this type of equipment by the end of the year.

“We have to replace our current 35 millimeter cameras with brand new technology, a digital project,” Penner said.

It cost about $15,000 to lease these projectors. The group will be holding a performance to raise the money.

Jacqueline Hoyt is with the Wyoming Arts Council. She said this theatre is important to the community.

“It's the only theatre of it's kind in Genesee County,” Hoyt said.

The theatre holds about 500 people for any performance or movie. They said the seats sell out quickly.

As a non-profit, they say community support is a must. It opens residents up to a world of art and imagination.

Lawrence said the theatre not only gives back to the audience but the performers as well.

“It would be the only venue of its type within 40 or 50 miles that can offer what the stage can,” Lawrence said.