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Wauneta’s community-led Chateau Theatre offers top-notch digital entertainment PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Thursday, 09 February 2012 19:10

Rod Keiser and Richard ‘Pudge’ Hamilton stand next to the new computer-based system’s digital projector, front left.  The movie experience is arranged and managed through the server, left rear.

By Sheri Hink

The Wauneta Breeze


Wauneta’s Chateau Theatre offers top-notch entertainment to area residents. The movie going experience was recently improved, thanks to a new digital projection system.

The Wauneta Chamber of Commerce manages the operation of the theatre. Area businesses and individuals support the theater through sponsorships and community volunteers take tickets and sell concession items.


Digital projection

The Chateau was an early adopter of the mandated conversion of theaters from 35mm film to digital projection.

Theaters were required to make the switch by the end of 2012, but Wauneta made the switch in August of 2011.

Richard ‘Pudge’ Hamilton, Chateau Theatre manager, has been showing the latest big screen shows to Wauneta moviegoers since 1972.

Over the years Hamilton has seen many changes at the Chateau, including the recent switch from film to digital projection.

According to Hamilton, it used to take an hour or more to prepare the movie films for each showing. Now with the digital system he prepares the system once per week and that “takes care” of all the showings that week.

Movies arrive in Wauneta on hard drives which are uploaded to the Chateau’s server and validated with a license key delivered via email.

The digital system automatically adjusts the lights within the theater according to how Hamilton sets them prior to the showing.

Hamilton says he had a lot to learn when the upgrade was made and that he has relied on Rod Keiser for help with the new computerized system.

The purchase of the new system was made possible through generous donations from BWTelcom, individual donors who made gifts through the Wauneta Community Foundation Fund and Keno money.

Rod Keiser, Chateau Theatre volunteer, says the new digital system provides three main benefits to moviegoers — image quality, digital sound and the opportunity to view 3D movies.

The Chateau Theatre upgraded to digital sound prior to the conversion to digital picture. However, according to Keiser, the sound is even better on the new system.

The new system, which is a top-of-the-line digital projection system, offers other benefits to the community as well.

Keiser and Hamilton explained that the digital system allows playback directly from a laptop computer, a blu-ray disc, cable or satellite programing.

These capabilities give the Theatre a lot of options when approached to offer some new service to the community.



The Chateau Theatre was willed to the Wauneta Chamber of Commerce in the 1970s by Dr. Frank and Maryan Rider. The Riders also arranged for a trust to be established with the Village of Wauneta to support the theater in future years.

“We are very fortunate to have the Rider Trust because if we didn’t have the trust we may not have been able to keep our theater open and going for this long,” says Kathy Kerchal with the Wauneta Chamber.

Support for the theater is provided from the Rider Trust, sponsorships and ticket sales. Individuals or businesses can sponsor a movie for $250 which covers the cost of the movie and delivery fees. Sponsorships also help pay for utilities and insurance costs.

The Chamber strives to keep ticket prices low and sponsorships have provided the means to do so. The Wauneta Women of Today first suggested movie sponsors as a way of keeping the theater’s doors open. The theater is now in its third year of sponsored movies.

Community volunteers have come together to take tickets and sell concessions. These volunteers help keep ticket prices down and the doors open. If you are interested in volunteering at the Chateau contact Theatre manager Richard ‘Pudge’ Hamilton.


New Sunday Matinée

In February, the theatre will offer a Sunday matinée in addition to the Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening showings at 7 p.m. M.T./ 8 p.m. C.T.

The matinée, offered at 1:00 p.m. M.T./ 2 p.m. C.T., will allow individuals who may not want to get out for an evening showing the opportunity to attend.

Last Updated on Thursday, 09 February 2012 19:13