The Amanda Theater at Array
in Four Months Flat

From a Storage Area to a 50-Seat State-Of-the-Art Screening Room

Our screening room construction project for filmmaker Ava DuVernay’s Array Campus in Echo Park, Los Angeles required not only the highest aesthetic and performance values, but rollout on a jet-speed timeline. A project like this normally would take eight months. The Amanda Theater had to be designed, built, finished, and ready for its debut in four months flat.

Cinergy and its owners have a deep affinity for movie theaters; co-owner Greg Francis spent many happy hours of his childhood in his grandfather’s theater in West Los Angeles, and both Greg and partner Graham Osborne have a tremendous amount of respect for Ava and what Array stands for. Clearly this would be a passion project. We took the challenge – gladly.

The mission was to create a 50-seat custom-designed screening room within the dimensions and confines of existing spaces; to ensure a sound-and-picture-perfect audiovisual experience; to configure the seating and traffic flow to accommodate frequent public events; to deliver a unique and beautiful space; and, above all, to finish on time.

From this …
… to this.

Mission Accomplished: How We Made the Array Theater Happen

The scope of the project included remodeling a storage area into a screening room, remodeling and building an addition onto adjoining office spaces to create a projector room, retrofitting a new structural ceiling, constructing exterior ADA-compliant entrances, and doing a full remodel of the exterior.

The 4-month timeline required expediting every aspect of the project: design, permitting, structural retrofits, complete build-out, and finish.

At the start, we had a conceptual design and engineering specifications. We brought in Paradise Theater to create a finished design, and we worked through solutions as we built out the project to keep all aspects moving forward to meet the deadline.

The Result: On Time and Under Budget – and Praise from the Client

Acting as General Contractor for the job, Cinergy compiled and managed a team consisting of an architect, acoustic consultants, structural and civil engineers, and electrical, mechanical, fire, and audiovisual crews.

As promised, we completed the Amanda Theater in time for its premiere screening – and to boot, this one-off custom-designed theater project came in under budget. 

From Zero to Finished: Watch the Amanda Theater Build-Out

Right after the screening we received this lovely email from Ava DuVernay herself:

A note of gratitude from me to you. You delivered. Big time. I thought contractors were supposed to be sneaky. And always late. And never keep their promises? Promise kept by Cinergy. Beautifully so. I’m truly and deeply grateful. I thank you from my heart.

~ Ava DuVernay

Array’s Director of Programming, Mercedes Cooper, also praised the theater in this ARRAY 360 Film Series trailer: check out her comments at the end of the video (3:38).

Amanda Theater Press Coverage

It’s no surprise that the addition of the Amanda Theater to Array’s campus and the rollout of films to be screened at Array generated high-level media interest, but we were especially pleased to see the glowing comments about the theater itself, made by writers for the Los Angeles Times, IndieWire, and

A note about Array: Founded in 2010 by filmmaker Ava DuVernay, ARRAY is a grassroots distribution, arts, and advocacy collective focused on films by people of color and women. To learn more about the Amanda Theater and the films and events taking place there, visit the Array website.