Orpheum Theater Opens New Screening Room

The Orpheum Theatre in Saugerties celebrated the opening of its brand new state-of-the-art screening room with a three-day celebration April 15-17.
The Orpheum Theatre in Saugerties celebrated the opening of its brand new state-of-the-art screening room with a three-day celebration April 15-17.

As a result of their relentless efforts to immortalize the Hudson Valley’s passion for film, Upstate Films has kicked off spring with a fresh addition to one of their classic theaters.

The Orpheum Theatre in Saugerties celebrated the completion of their brand new multi-purpose screening room, The Mark, with a three-day grand opening between March 15-17. 

The Mark, situated on the second floor of the century-old Orpheum Theatre, was designed by award-winning architecture firm Walters-Storyk Design Group and seeks to provide “the best place to experience movies in the region” for moviegoers in the Hudson Valley. 

A slew of diverse showings took place during the three-day weekend opening, with some highlights being a screening of Buster Keaton’s classic 1926 film, “The General,” alongside a live orchestra playing the score, and a comedy show featuring five seasoned comedians.

“We packed the house and completely sold out,” said Upstate Films events producer Mia Barbuto. “It was a really great celebration.”

The Mark is dedicated to the late Mark Braunstein, founder of broadcast supply house Markertek and frequent supporter of Upstate Films. 

Besides the addition of new, more comfortable seats and a modern visual refashioning, The Mark’s most significant feature is its sound system.

The Mark boasts a top-of-the-line, fully immersive Dolby Atmos speaker system, making it one of the technologically finest theaters in the region. On top of the speaker system, meticulously placed custom-perforated wood and insulated fabric panels line the side walls, enhancing the audio quality even further. 

“It’s truly a one-of-a-kind experience,” Barbuto said. “You have surround sound, where you have sound from the front and the sides of you, but Dolby Atmos is the front, the side, the back, the top of you. You’re hearing sounds that are engineered for the speakers in the room.”

In addition to being a state-of-the-art screening room, The Mark is designed to host numerous other types of events. 

“It’s going to be used for live shows, live music events and screenings, of course,” Barbuto said. “We even want to do, in the future, recordings of things in there.”

Upstate Films is a not-for-profit arts organization with a mission of “connecting the Hudson Valley through transformative cinematic experiences.” The Orpheum is one of two theaters that Upstate Films operates out of, the other being the Starr Cinema in Rhinebeck.

The Mark is considered by Upstate Films to be “phase two” in the process of revitalizing The Orpheum, with phase one being a remodeling of the lobby in 2021. According to Barbuto, phase three would likely be a renovation of The Orpheum’s exterior.  

“We’ve had a lot of conversations about how … [people] can’t tell that The Orpheum is open. It looks so dark inside even when the lights and marquee are on,” Barbuto said. “We’ve been planning this for some time and working out the kinks and design aspects of making the exterior of The Orpheum more inviting and bright.”

For tickets and information about The Mark and all things Upstate Films, check out their website: upstatefilms.org.