Audience members attending Hugh Whitemore’s new play God Only Knows at The Vaudeville Theatre in London may not realise that they are witnessing a small revolution in theatre sound design: Aura associate Robert Tory and Aura director John Leonard have decided to make it the West-End’s first ‘mixing-desk free’ show . . .
The original touring equipment list, supplied to the production by Autograph Sound, included a Yamaha 02R digital desk, along with an Akai S6000 sampler, playing out through Richmond Sound Design’s AudioBox and controlled by RSD’s Showman show-control program to replay the atmospheric sound effects mix, and to ‘fly’ a sinister helicopter effect around the auditorium for the play’s denouement. Both Tory and Leonard, along with Aura’s show-control expert Scott George, were keen to investigate the latest option for AudioBox users, CM Automation’s MotorMix, which adds a motorised fader-pack to Richmond’s audio-playback matrix. The unit facilitates hands-on programming and provides a fader mimic for the AudioBox, as well as providing full remote control for show-running. Following Aura’s comprehensive use of the AudioBox and associated ABEdit software for Madame Tussaud’s New York exhibition (see L&SI, Dec 2000), Leonard and George were confident that the entire show could be handled just by the AudioBox and MotorMix combination and that any other front-end equipment could safely be made redundant.
Aura specified a complete double system, with a standby AudioBox tracking the m
Technical theatre consultant Graham Walne has launched a new website this month. Designed by Lisa Stannard it contains a newsletter, experience-at-a-glance page, full projects list and photographs. Since migrating to Perth, Western Australia (WA) in 1998, Walne has enjoyed some notable achievements in his new home - lead consultant to the state government’s venues strategy; consultant to several local authority venues; lead consultant on the implementation in WA of vocational qualifications for the backstage occupations; co-founder and chairman of the Institute of Independent Arts Consultants (WA); author of a regular column in the Australasian publication Connections and lighting designer of several notable productions for Perth Theatre Company.
The Adam Hall group has announced its agreement with California-based RPM Optoelectronics to distribute RPM’s innovative new Racklight throughout Europe. Racklight represents a new dimension in glare-free directional focused lighting for rack cabinets. Technical advances incorporated in the ‘Racklight’ provide visually uniform, brilliant illumination unavailable in other products. The unique design of the UV-resistant acrylic light guide provides heat-free, concentrated light with no hot bulbs to handle or change, and is guaranteed for five years. Racklight illuminates one metre of rack space with cool, even light. Built with high quality materials around dependable solid state lighting, ‘Racklight’ is a safe and durable addition to any rack equipment, and is available in a variety of light source colours.
Federal Signal, the leading supplier of public address and voice alarm (PA/VA) systems, is hosting a new summer roadshow to highlight the significance of British Standards for PA/VA systems. The initiative is aimed at consultants and specifiers from across the PA/VA and fire protection industry who need to know more about the issue of operating standards and why it is important to use systems with BS5839 compliance.
The guest speaker will be Doug Edworthy, formerly of Millbank Electronics and a leading expert in systems engineering, marketing and quality management. He has been running his own consultancy since 1994. Jason Hatswell, commerial sales manager at Federal Signal, said: "The road show will explain why British Standards are so important to those responsible for product specification, design and installation. We will also show Federal Signal’s equipment and explain how it complies with the standards."
The dates for the road show are as follows: 14 June, Federal Signal House, Macclesfield; 21 June, Birmingham Metropole Hotel; 26 June, London Swallow Hotel; 5 July, Newcastle Malmaison Hotel. For more information, telephone +44 (0)1625 666600.
The established relationship with British Airways, enjoyed by both the TOA Corporation and Unitek Displays, reached a pinnacle last month when the new Concorde Lounge opened at Heathrow’s Terminal 4.
Designed by Sir Terence Conran, in preparation for a resumption of supersonic services later this spring, the airline’s ambition is clear to see. In addition to employing top designers - including FutureBrand for the simultaneous development of their new First Class Lounge - they also invited spa specialists Molton Brown to create a shower room, steam room and massage area.
In the Molton Brown spa, a discrete TOA PC-5WL speaker can be found in each shower cubicle as well as the massage room, with local volume control independent of the overall level setting. The area is also serviced by a single TOA HB1 sub-bass unit.
However, the scheme in the new Executive Lounges has not been realised without some acoustic compromises. Since the architect requirement was for a completely flat ceiling, the 25 soft-dome, process-controlled TOA PC-121Cs have been utilised without their suspended spheres, designed to allow wide-dispersion soundwaves to be distributed coherently, and panned via TOA’s bespoke Sound Space Design spatializer. Although the sphere has been removed to facilitate total recess-mounting, using TOA’s AC-120 to provide dedicated system control, there is little evidence of cancellation or dead spots. This circular ceiling speaker is run in combination with TOA F-101 full-range speakers, which, like the 121s, house a 4" driver.
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The Arena Club in Exeter has recently undergone a major refurbishment, which included the installation of completely new audio and lighting systems. Installation company PSD specified and installed two Mach M128 and eight M126 top box units, along with sub bass units from Martin Audio. Two BSS Omnidrives provide processing while amplification is provided by Ecler PAM 2600, PAM 2000 and PAM 560 with mixing from an Ecler Mac 901. On the lighting side, PSD specified a large amount of Martin Professional gear including MAC 500s and 600s, Pro 518 and 918 scanners, MX-4 scanners RoboColor IIIs and Destroyers. Two Martin Pro 2000 foggers provide atmospheric smoke effects. Control is from a Martin Windows-based LightJockey DMX controller.
Point Promotions have announced a 72% increase in attendance at last week’s ABTT Theatre Show. The show this year expanded into both of the Royal Horticultural Halls, and had widened its remit to attract 30 new exhibitors. The initial un-audited visitor attendance figures show an increase of 72% over last year’s registered numbers. Point Promotions was appointed by the Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT) to administer the change from the ABTT Trade Show to the bigger and improved ABTT Theatre Show. The expanded show featured on-stage technology such as lighting, rigging, drapes and sound and also many exhibitors with front-of-house technology including seating and staging.
The Medusa multi-screen theatre in Bologna, a 31,000sq.ft theatre complex featuring nine separate theatres, has been outfitted with a Mach speaker system and Martin intelligent lighting equipment. Audio is provided by eight Mach Installation series M68 in-fill speakers, four Mach M208 subwoofers and four Mach M62 two-way, nearfield speakers. In the large foyer, eight MAC 600 washlights provide colour wash with eight MAC 250 profile spots adding pattern and logo projections. A Martin ProScenium, a versatile DMX lighting control package for multi-media and architectural applications, is used to syncronize lights, audio and video-trailers for the foyer. Outside the complex two Exterior 600 washlights bathe the building in a colorful mix of yellows and blues while 2 PAL 1200 scanners add gobo and logo projection. Lighting Designer and Systems Integrator for the Medusa project was Roberto Ferrari from Creative Communication Milan.
MAVCO has been involved in the recent $21 million renovations onboard United States Lines’ Patriot - now the largest US-flagged cruise ship. MAVCO’s involvement included the design and installation of audio-visual equipment in a number of areas, plus refits of existing facilities. The renovated areas included the Broadway Lounge, Eagle’s Watch, Founders Lounge and Stars and Stripes Show Lounge; which were all fitted with audio systems. The two-tier Stars & Stripes Show Lounge features revues, cultural shows and nostalgia nights from the 70s: here MAVCO has installed an audio system with equipment sourced from Shure, Apogee, Mackie, Sony and EAW. New areas include the Waikiki Lounge and Outrigger Deck - both fitted with audio systems. The flexible lighting systems for the two areas were primarily sourced from Altman, Leprecon, High End/Powerline and Jem Smoke. The Conference Centre, meanwhile, offers everything from Denon CD and cassette players to 3M overhead projectors, Kodak slide and video projectors and a complete portable audio system sourced from JBL, C-Audio, Lexicon and Mackie.
MAVCO’s expertise and long history with cruise ships enabled them to complete the design/build job on schedule and in their usual style. In addition to their work on the above areas Pete Canzonetta was responsible for putting MAVCO’s stamp on the refit of the Broadcast Room, increasing the TV system from 5 to 22 channels, including 10 satellite channels. MAVCO will continue its association with United States Lines with a contract to design, supply and project m
We have heard much, over the last few years, of theatres being given large sums of lottery cash to undertake major improvements. But what of the poor souls left behind without major injections of cash?
The Hazlitt Theatre in Maidstone is owned by Maidstone Borough Council and, like all other departments of the council, has to take its place in a long queue for what small amount of money is available. A general re-fit was accomplished 20 years ago, but since then there has been no major injection of cash available to it.
Theatre manager, Mandy Hare, took the reins just over three years ago and set about raising the profile of the venue, putting in more events, a wider artistic base, a thriving youth theatre, a regular programme of workshops and a selection of outside events. Production and operations manager, Eric Lund, joined the team just over two years ago and soon realised that the existing resources just didn’t shape up. "I realised that the technical resources available to the two theatres at the Hazlitt were simply not going to be able to cope. With a combined technical budget of just £5,000 to last a year, we were barely standing still. Not only that, all the new equipment which had been put in 20 years ago, needed either major servicing or replacing."
Hare and Lund devised a cunning plan. Knowing that a single major cash injection was not going to be possible, they decided to split their requirements into several separate projects, each requiring only a (relatively) small amount of funding. They took their plan to councillors who, impressed wi
Matthew Tonks has joined Stage Technologies as project manager. Tonks, formerly a project manager with Glantre Engineering and more recently with Impact AudioVisual, will concentrate on the company’s growing cruise installation work.
The countdown to the PLASA Show 2001 has begun! The entertainment technology industry’s leading event will run from 9 - 12 September at Earls Court Exhibition Centre, London. With over 89% of the available stand space already sold and all the leading manufacturers booked into the show, PLASA 2001 promises to live up to its reputation as the showcase event that launches the entertainment technology year. Venue improvements have continued, with over £500,000 invested in the last 12 months to improve comfort cooling at the Show. Furthermore, an overall investment of £6million will ensure that Earls Court is a fully air-conditioned exhibition centre by 2002. Over 400 exhibitors and 14,000 UK and international visitors are expected to attend and experience the sound and lighting extravaganza that has become synonymous with PLASA. Manufacturers, suppliers and distributors of professional lighting, sound and AV equipment will descend upon Earls Court to unveil their latest products and technical developments for the vibrant and hugely diverse entertainment and leisure industry.
Almost 13,000 visitors, including a record 25% from overseas, attended the PLASA Show last year. Specifiers, consultants, attraction managers, recording technicians, disc and light jockeys, corporate presentation planners, technicians, architects, installers and other professionals from the world of entertainment technology traveled from all corners of the globe to see the very latest products, innovations and designs showcased.
The PLASA Show 2001 will feature many of the attractions that cont
Glyndebourne Opera House in East Sussex has a new control system for its three electrical bridges, supplied and installed by Suffolk-based AVW Controls. The system, an upgrade of that installed seven years ago, provides Glyndebourne with absolute control of the bridges, each of which weighs seven tonnes and is capable of lifting 2.5 tonnes. Rather than disrupt the production schedule, the work was completed during the first two weeks of December 2000, while the Opera was on tour. The upgrade was the second phase of a contract originally undertaken by AVW as a sub-contractor to the erstwhile Glantre Engineering, the first phase of which involved upgrade work on the bridges themselves. Following Glantre’s demise, Glyndebourne contacted AVW direct, and is very pleased with the results. Dave Locker, production manager, said: "We are absolutely delighted with the new control system which AVW has supplied and installed. Being easy to use, staff have been able to assimilate the new system quickly, reducing the amount of time needed for training."
Royal Caribbean International recently introduced the first of its Radiance class ships - Radiance of the Seas. Delivered in Miami on 21 March, the ultra-luxurious Radiance of the Seas’ cruise starts in April. This stunning vessel is the largest ship ever to have been built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, and the first joint venture between a German shipyard and an American cruise line. Local company Funa GmbH was the main contractor for the lighting and sound systems, with the key part of the entertainment lighting equipment supplied by ETC. Royal Caribbean International has a tradition of introducing surprise features on each new vessel and guests on board Radiance of the Seas will not be disappointed. With highlights such as the Colony Club, customisable entertainment space comprising four different clubs, and the breathtaking, three storey high Aurora Theatre, passengers will be spoilt for choice of entertainment.
The theme of the Aurora Theatre is based on the Aurora Borealis and here the audience will enjoy the experience of dynamic productions with all the glamour and special effects of Broadway or Las Vegas. ETC has supplied three Sensor SR48 dimmer racks and over 100 Source Four ellipsoidals plus Source Four PARs. Control is by ETC’s Obsession II 1500 channel dual processor system.
PLASA Media has learned that Home nightclub in Leicester Square, London, has been closed after an undercover police investigation showed there was open and serious Class A drug dealing and usage at the venue. Westminster Council made the decision to revoke the club’s entertainment licence with immediate effect, at an emergency meeting following police advice. Chief Inspector Chris Bradford, of the Metropolitan Police Clubs and Vice Unit, said: "We felt it was necessary to take the unusual course of action in a bid to try and eradicate this serious and open problem from the premises.
"A full investigation has been carried out by my officers and we have explored many other courses of action to avoid having to make this application. Our actions in this case should act as a warning to other premises where there is a serious drug problem that we are prepared to take every step in our power to solve the problem."
It is believed to be the first time that a club of this size has had its licence revoked, police said.
Stagetec (UK) Ltd has been awarded the contract to supply a sound and lighting system for the 'Pride of Rotterdam' - the first of P&O North Sea Ferries' two new cruise ferries. The new vessels will have accommodation including luxury suites and all cabins will have their own private facilities. They will also offer an à la carte restaurant, a two-tiered show lounge, wine bar, business centre and even a cyber zone, where passengers can surf the web. The system, being supplied through Ellie Jay Cruising Entertainment, consists of a Compulite Spark 4D lighting control desk, Allen & Heath GL3300 32-channel mixer, Sennheiser Evolution radio mic systems and a complement of signal processing and effects equipment. The ship sails on 12th April and will sail daily from Hull to Rotterdam.
Fast-expanding installation contractors, Promedia Systems have just completed an audio fit-out of City Bars & Restaurants plc’s flagship venue, 10 Covent Garden - a transfiguration of the New Connaught Rooms banqueting facility. Promedia have deployed 10 C Audio Pulse 2x1100s and a single 2x650 amplifier to drive the sound systems installed throughout the five rooms, and director Ian Woodall says that the flexibility this affords has provided a winning combination. "We have an ISDN line in the amplifier room, with one of the channels hooked up to Soundweb and the other to the C Audio’s proprietary Connect network to allow remote amplifier diagnostic and reprogramming of the EQ and/or matrix parameters. This means that the network can be dialled up from home and any problems solved remotely." But he adds that since 95% of problems end to be user error, it makes a great diagnostic tool. At 10 Covent Garden it is the BSS Soundweb which forms the entire control backbone for all five rooms, including All About Eve and The 10 Room, matrixed via two 9088 devices, a 9010 Jellyfish and four 9012 Shrimps, offering a local input and output in each room. The Shrimps have been reconfigured, with a little help from some neat programming in the Jellyfish, to facilitate 11 separate sources. Thus from a single point in the venue the engineer can control any of the CD multiplay sound sources fed to any of the rooms.
London’s Mermaid Theatre, at Blackfriars, is appealing for support after being threatened with demolition by the site’s owners, Blackfriars Development Limited. The current owners plan to raze the building and replace it with an office block which will include a “conference-style” theatre, which will be barely a quarter of the present venue’s size, with minimal backstage facilities. The Theatre Trust and the organisers of the Mermaid Theatre Appeal are asking for support to prevent the Corporation of the City of London from accepting the application. More information is available from campaign coordinator Maggie Sutton at the ‘Save The Mermaid Theatre’ Appeal.
Production Resource Group (PRG) has announced that it has established new credit totaling $125 million with GMAC Business Credit, to support its strategic plans. This refinancing was coupled with the sale of PRG's Systems Group consisting of Signal Perfection Ltd and the Ancha and SPL-Integrated Solutions divisions, to a newly-formed entity controlled by shareholders of PRG and Systems Group management. "With such rapid expansion, there have been obstacles and growing pains. None the less, the hard work of the talented people that make up PRG and the new management we've implemented has significantly reduced our debt from $190 million to $110 million," says Jere Harris, chairman and CEO. "I attribute these achievements to the continual efforts of our employees. It's their diligence, dedication and teamwork that has directly resulted in improved performance."
PRG anticipates continued growth as the management changes and investments made in the past year take full effect.
The latest phase in the development of Flagship Portsmouth, home to Nelson’s Victory, has been completed by Sarner International. Mike Mann reports.
The project, which involved several months of in-depth research, in collaboration with the Victory’s curators and crew, led to the installation of a shore-based ‘mood theatre’, which takes a personal view of the battle of Trafalgar in October 1805 - Nelson’s greatest, and final, triumph.
Using Alcorn McBride control and playback systems, Sarner’s David Dempsey, Ross Magri and John Griffin devised a four-scene experience, with an independently-controlled waiting area and several interactive elements. David Dempsey explained that in the case of the Victory Gallery, technology was used to make the story of Trafalgar more accessible, without trivialising this pivotal piece of naval history. "There was a huge amount that we had to leave out of the experience - but as both creative and technical people, we had to make sure that we didn’t ‘dumb down’ the story. We couldn’t lose sight of the fact that the Victory Gallery is a platform for educating people, rather than technology for its own sake."
Colin White, the museum’s deputy director and Peter Goodwyn, curator of the Victory herself, were keen to depict the human side of naval warfare, as well as presenting the strategic overview. To this end, individual mannequins were commissioned to man the replica cannons in the gallery’s ‘gun deck’; stock models were deemed inadequate, and memb
London superclub Fabric has commissioned loudspeaker manufacturers Martin Audio to supply a new sound reinforcement system to be installed into the club’s two famous dance rooms. The upgrade takes place just a year and a half after the club opened. For the main Room One system, designed by Fabric’s technical manager Dave Parry and Martin Audio’s Richie Rowley - in collaboration with the Fabric sound team - eight Martin Audio W8C compact enclosures were specified, formatted in a quad array around the dancefloor and underpinned by eight of Martin’s WSX monster sub bass units. The sound design for Fabric’s Room Two incorporates the flagship products of Martin’s Blackline range - the H2 and H3s. The H3s are placed in a quad array format around the dancefloor, supplemented by a further four bi-amped H2 cabinets providing satellite fill down the length of the dancefloor. This system will also augment into a multi-channel spatial zoning arrangement with an OutBoard Electronics TiMax system.
Traditional brewers Fuller, Smith & Turner, have entered the burgeoning London leisure suburb of Shoreditch - the trendiest colony in the capital - with their new brand, Katabatic.
With 3,200sq.ft offering a capacity of 480, and a late license inherited from the previous incumbents (Propoganda), this is prime real estate. The late night venue will eventually have cost £1.2 million to develop - a proportion of which has gone on an inspired sound, lighting and vision scheme across the two floors.
As well as offering views of the DJ practicising his craft inside, the exterior design shows off the encased foyer decor of AVR Colourchanger beams refracted from a cluster of tiny mirrorballs, with the campest of light sculptures providing an artistic backdrop. The colour-changing spots from Abstract and Martin Pro, working with the fibre optics, bring Katabatic (a metereological word meaning the downward flow of air) alive at night.
Marquee Installations’ Mark Brown was given a brief to develop two distinct environments - a high-quality midground sound upstairs and the latest London club spec in the basement that could hold its own alongside the best. To accomplish this, he was given all the freedom he needed.
RCF Monitor 5 loudspeakers, fed from a C-Burn Revolution 100 hard disk player, take care of the upstairs, while a pair of compact, flown EAW JF290Zs for the top end, and matching EAW SB330s for the sub-bass, handle the dance sound, augmented by eight RCF PA281 Vision Series for bar area infill. The audio is all driven by QSC amplification and the sound is digit
Bliss is a highly-sophisticated new bar/restaurant in Bournemouth conceived by experienced leisure entrepreneur, Richard Carr’s Future 2000 plc (the team behind the phenomenally successful Slinky dance nights).
Having owned the art deco building in Bournemouth’s town centre for several years, they contracted local interiors company, Design Mode, to convert the bottom two floors of the former Maples department store into the heavily marbellised Bliss, at a cost of £1.25 million. For the sound reinforcement, Future 3000’s head of technical services, Lee Price, stuck with the Martin Audio catalogue, which dominates the company’s other venues, as well as providing the touring sound for Slinky.
One of his prime considerations was the acoustic isolation necessary from the five storeys above the ground floor and basement, which the landlord has converted for student accommodation. This required an elaborate, acoustically-treated ceiling, with suspended, soundproofed flexi air-conditioning ducting, while the columns were given the same acoustical cladding. Most of the music (funk and soft jazz) is computer-driven, while in the evening a DJ takes over. Price has selected 26 of the EM26s divided into six zones. There are no bass bins and the whole sound is fed through a pair of BSS Soundwebs which routes the CD, DJ and band sources to their respective destinations.
A separate sound system carries 1970s kitsch film themes to a pair of Martin C516 recessed ceiling speakers in each of the Gents and Ladies lavatories. All inputs are separately EQ’d an
Installation and service subcontractor Install recently completed the relocation of its head office. The new premises, situated within three miles of the M6 and located within a newly built business complex, boast an 8,000sq.ft warehouse, an electronics workshop, a purpose-designed training and conference suite, and an extensively equipped office area. The rapid growth of Install over the past year has meant that the premises are not the only part of the company to have expanded. The 12-strong workforce has increased to 22, based both on and off-site. The most recent addition to the team is John Elves who becomes the company’s new general manager.