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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is taking steps to increase security in the Cultural District.
Flights of fancy and make believe draw us to the stages of the Cultural Trust, but outside the doors, it’s a very real world.
“It’s an unfortunate reality of the world that we live in now,” Kevin Wilkes, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s chief security officer, said.
Soon, to enter the world of entertainment, you’ll have to pass through metal detectors.
The staff is currently being trained and will start screening audiences arriving at the Byham Theater on Oct. 13. The August Wilson Center will be next with screening launching there on Oct. 20.
“In the month of November, the Benedum Center, which is our largest venue, will have these security measures as well,” Cultural Trust Communications Director Robin Elrod said.
Wilkes says this is the natural progression for security in Pittsburgh’s theaters and it does not come as a result of any kind of a credible threat.
“No, absolutely not,” Wilkes said. “We are being proactive. We want to make sure we are ahead of the curve rather than behind the curve.”
Elrod says more and more traveling shows that come to Pittsburgh’s theaters want the theaters to employ these security measures.
The good news is the Cultural Trust acquired state-of-the-art screening devices.
“We’re actually able to keep almost all items in your pockets. Your cell phone, your keys, wallets, all get to stay on you,” Joe Pavlik, project leader and screening manager for Securitas, said.
“Our equipment is only going to detect those weapons or those knives or guns that have that metal density that is consistent with those types of things that would alert on our technology,” Wilkes said.
All bags carried into the theaters will be manually checked so patrons can expect a delay and should plan on coming early.
Elroad says to encourage early arrivals they’ve got a special offer.
“You will be surprised and delighted to find that our drinks and concessions will be at a discount,” Elrod said.
She says just come about a half hour earlier than you normally would.
Expansion of this new security level is being considered for all the theaters in the Cultural District.