Camp Siegfried at the Old Vic with EM Acoustics
Wednesday, 3 November 2021
referenceSeventy Reference Series and EMS Series loudspeakers were deployed throughout the theatre
UK - Inspired by the real-life history of summer camps organised during the 1930s by the German American Bund in support of the 3rd Reich, Bess Wohl’s play, Camp Siegfried is a story of teenage passion against a sinister backdrop of Nazi ideology. Set in 1938, the drama focuses on two young teens, known only as ‘Him’ and ‘Her’, as they meet, chat and fall in love in the seemingly idyllic environment of a summer camp in Long Island.
However, the camp’s real aim is soon revealed as the two young people become increasingly consumed and impassioned by fascist rhetoric. Autograph Sound, were responsible for the design and implementation of the audio for this unsual production; sound designer Ian Dickinson selected the new Reference Series loudspeakers from EM Acoustics to form the core of the sound system.
“I’d already heard the R10s at a factory visit last year and was immensely impressed,” says Dickinson. “I was really keen to hear them in more than just a stereo setup - ideally in a multi-speaker system. I’d also heard that the R8s weren’t far off being ready and knowing that the R8s would be smaller than the R10s and thus perhaps a suitable hi-spec option for many of the West End’s smaller playhouses, I was even more interested.
“In terms of designing shows in and around the West End, obviously the boxes have to sound great, but the aesthetic is also a hugely important factor. Reference Series ticks both of those boxes, and Camp Siegfried at the Old Vic was the ideal opportunity to put them to the test.”
Dickinson specified two R10s in the stalls, two in the circle and two in the upper [Baylis] circle as the main FOH system, with two R8s as stalls in-fills and a further pair as down-fill/centre-fill, which were mainly used for vocal reinforcement. “The Old Vic is a deceptively large space and I knew the R10s would work well in there pushing that amount of air around, whilst being sympathetic to the building and set design,” explains Dickinson. “We had a mixture of EM Acoustics EMS-81s and 101s as FX speakers and this was all supplemented by EMS-51s for delays throughout.”
In total, Dickinson deployed no fewer than 70 Reference Series and EMS Series loudspeakers throughout the theatre, all driven by EM Acoustics DQ Series amplifiers.
Dickinson is thrilled with the results. “I think they have a real punch and clarity to them, whilst not forsaking any warmth when you need it. The show has a mix of loud sfx and music as well as mic’d dialogue and Reference Series handled both brilliantly.”

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