Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in Melbourne
Australia - Major theatre productions often have lives involving multiple productions in multiple countries, which provides an opportunity for the production team to assess the equipment they are using and make changes to benefit from advances in technology. This was exactly the situation multi-award-winning sound designer Gareth Fry found himself in, opening Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in Melbourne, Australia after its success in London and New York.
“DPA’s d:screet 4061 Miniature Microphones have long been theatre stalwarts because they sound great, are very tough and are small enough to hide on cast members,” Fry explains. “I’ve been using the legacy version of these microphones for years, and we typically hide them in the hairline, on the forehead, so they are not visible to the audience.”
In 2017, a year after the play opened in London, a second production was established on Broadway. By this stage DPA had launched its new d:screet CORE 4061 Miniature Microphones featuring ‘CORE by DPA’ amplifier technology. This development minimises distortion and expands dynamic range so that the microphones deliver an even clearer sound - from the ‘highest of the highs’ to the ‘lowest of the lows’.
“For the Broadway production I was keen to take advantage of technological developments to get the best possible sound out of the microphones,” Fry says. “Then, when we opened in Melbourne, I was keen to make them as invisible as possible.”
Five months before the play was due to open in Melbourne, DPA Microphones launched its new 6000 Series of Sub-miniature Microphones, which at only 3mm across, are significantly smaller than anything else the company produces.
“Radio mics get bashed, dropped, sat on and jumped on,” Fry adds. “There’s a lot of stress on the cable connectors, not to mention plenty of sweat, makeup and hairspray around the place. It’s a hard life for a radio mic.”
Fry says he is delighted with the new DPA d:screet 6000 Series – both in terms of the sound quality they are delivering and their robustness and aesthetics.
“They are so tiny that they just disappear. With a 4061, if it isn’t well hidden you can definitely see a microphone, especially if you are double mic’ing, but with these you just mistake them for a small mole. They are effectively invisible. The actors prefer wearing them too, because they are less obtrusive.”
As well as preparing for the San Francisco and Hamburg productions of Harry Potter, opening in 2019 and 2020 respectively, Fry has just opened an adaptation of the best-selling novel, Alys, Always, at the Bridge Theatre, London. Again, the cast are miked up using DPA 6061 microphones, this time utilising the Sony DWT-B03R mini digital transmitters.
(Jim Evans)

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