Celestion makes its name in theatre
Tuesday, 26 March 2002
Celestion makes its name in theatreAlan Beatty of Glasgow sound rental company BSF
Celestion's CXi range has won praise for its role in 'Evita' at the Theatre Royal Glasgow, one of its first excursions into mainstream theatre. The production, in February, was the Scottish amateur premiere, staged by the Orpheus Club, one of Scotland's oldest amateur operatic societies.

Audio was specified and provided by Glasgow sound rental company, BSF. "The Theatre Royal has been hiring Celestion from us on a trial basis with a view to purchasing the system," explained Alan Beatty of BSF. "For 'Evita', they asked us to provide a system of the highest quality which would be invisible to the audience." This provided a challenge for the BSF team. The Theatre Royal has listed building status, which prevents any alterations to its interior: the sound engineers were not allowed to hang or fly equipment, or even to touch the walls, the PA system had to fit in with the space constraints and not block audience sightlines. The situation was made more complicated by the theatre's layout: the stage opening is the full width of one wall, facing four floors of seating for 1400 people.

The solution to the problem was to think inside the box. Beatty and his partner Graham Fraser placed Celestion CXi speakers inside the theatre boxes either side of the stage: "We put them on tripods to raise them to exactly the level of each audience area. There was a pair of CXi 1221 for the 600 seats in the stalls, a pair of CXi 821 with a pair of Substation 15s for the first circle. Another pair of CXi 821s addressed the second circle, while the 500 seats in the top-floor gallery were handled by a pair of CXi 1221s. The only visible speakers was a pair of CXi 821s just at the edge of the stage for front fill.

The production, which featured an 18-channel Trantec radio system on stage and a 22-piece orchestra in the pit, was mixed entirely digitally on a 48-channel Roland V-Mix. "The audio never left the stage; I mixed from out front on the V-Mix remote control," says Beatty. "With the compact and manageable Celestion speakers, a digital desk that needs no multicore, just a data cable, and a rack which has all the amps, radio mic receivers and mixers plugged in, it took us just 45 minutes to do the whole get-out from the Theatre Royal!"

BSF has only recently purchased its stock of CXi, and Beatty reports that its versatility is such that he expects it to spend 38 weeks of its first year out on rental.

(Ruth Rossington)


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