The Palace Theatre, Watford, is one of the few remaining producing theatres in the country, with many of its productions touring nationally and playing in the West End. The Grade II listed Edwardian theatre is currently undertaking a fundraising campaign to raise £1.5m for essential refurbishment and chief electrician Ian Saunders came up with the idea of projecting a fundraising message onto the safety curtain to highlight the appeal to the audience. To get the appeal off the ground, ETC Europe donated two Source Four lanterns to the theatre. ETC Europe's Peter Ed, made the presentation to Ian Saunders whilst Stage Technologies' Nikki Scott was instrumental in organising the donation.
At a cost of £23 million, the 100-year-old Dome complex in Brighton will see the first stage of its two-tier renovation programme completed this September. The 1,200-capacity Corn Exchange and 230-capacity Pavilion Theatre will both open following refurbishment. The second phase of the project will see the refurbishment of the 1,800-seat central auditorium completed some time next year.
Amersham-based Auditel has secured a US$4.5 million contract from the Government of Iran. The order is for a complete voting and sound and communications system for the Ministry of Housing of the Government of Iran and has been won in conjunction with Sony Corp of Dubai who will supply the TV broadcast equipment. Auditel is responsible for the project management and already has a team in place in Tehran. The installation covers sound reinforcement, voting systems, audio and TV and the entire system will be computer-controlled.
TOA voice alarm equipment features prominently in a rolling development programme at London's Natural History Museum which is currently being carried out by Static Systems Group plc. Presently the installation utilises three TOA equipment racks, plugged with V series amplification and processing. Each fire alarm fully communicates with the voice alarm, which sends out a common PA message. Destinations can be selected and the system will link the fireman's mic and broadcast to any PA zone via a touch-screen and Static Systems' proprietary TDM (Time Division Multiplex). The AMX front-end touch screens were supplied by TOA, to provide a visual switching and a map of the museum for paging and message broadcast purpose (messages are pre-recorded and stored using TOA's EV digital message machines). While much of the system is connected to standard loudspeakers, TOA F-777s are found in the main entrance hall, F-505s on the stairs and F-10Bs in the alcoves and balcony, each controlled via TOA's DP-0204 digital signal processors. Eventually, TOA expects eight racks to be commissioned, connecting areas such as the Earth Galleries, Whale Hall and Darwin Centre through the control rack in the Central Hall of the Waterhouse Building.
Oklahoma-based RSI has supplied a Turbosound system for the newly-built South Hill Christian Center in Washington. Representatives of the new church were insistent that the sound reinforcement system should be of high calibre and work with the acoustics of the new building. Dennis Cummins, co-pastor at South Hill, was reportedly shocked that a system of such intelligibility and warmth would be affordable to the coffers of his church. The installation consists of six Turbosound TCS-56 full-range two-way enclosures, three TCS-30 cabinets, two Turbosound TCS-115 and two TCS-118 subwoofers and four TCS-20s. The TCS-56s, designed primarily for speech and music, formed the main thrust of the system, configured three wide and two deep at the front of the church. Positioned below, one of the TCS-30 cabinets, distributing wide horizontal coverage, provides the front fill, a further two provide front side fills. The loudspeakers providing the low end for the system were integrated beneath the preaching platform in sealed boxes, whilst the TCS-20s underneath the balconies dealt with the delay.
Theatre Projects Consultants has been commissioned by the Singapore Tourism board and the National Art Council in Singapore to advise on the planning, design and construction of a new theatre in Singapore's Chinatown. Currently referred to as the Village Theatre, the new venue will occupy a one-block site on South Bridge Street in the heart of Chinatown. David Staples of TPC is leading the team preparing the brief for the Theatre and determining the size, form and type of theatre to be constructed on the site. DP Architects of Singapore have been appointed as the architects for the projects. They are also working with TPC on the Esplanade - Singapore's major new arts centre.
Sibelius Hall, the new concert hall in Lahti, Finland, opened its doors in March. Designed as the permanent home for the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, the Hall consists of three elements - the concert/congress hall, the Forest Hall and a renovated former carpentry factory. Artec Consultants of New York provided the theatre planning, acoustics consulting services and sound and communication system design for the venue. The concert/congress hall design includes a moving acoustic canopy, acoustic control curtains and acoustic banners. We will carry more on this in a future issue of L&SI.
R&W Sound Engineering has recently installed a complete audio system into the new London lounge bar, Mono. As customers would be unlikely to benefit from the advantages of a stereo image R&W specified a mono sound system, designed to be operated by staff with basic technical experience, is used for background music, DJ sets and live music sessions.Involved in the project from the outset, R&W's recommendation of a mono audio system, led to the name and theme of the members-only bar. The audio system's main source is a Marantz CC38/Pro 5-disc CD player, which feeds the system via a Cloud SX133 two-zone mixer and ARX EQ30 graphic equaliser. A separate Mackie 1402-VLz Pro mixer, connected via a recessed wall socket to the main system is used for live events. An ARX Microdrive three-channel amplifier drives four ARX Micromax loudspeakers and a hidden ARX sub-woofer.
The London Hippodrome has recently installed a new Pulsar control system. The state-of-the-art console features four new Masterpiece 216s and is capable of controlling the vast 1,500 channel Clay Paky and generic lighting rig. Each Masterpiece has a specific section of the lighting linked to it making programming extremely logical and structured. A MIDI keyboard and MIDI enabled PC communicate with the Masterpieces to synchronise powerful lightshows that can be programmed and recalled instantly for any occasion. The rig houses seven huge motorised satellites, each with six moving petal arms. The control of these has been integrated into the new system via five Masterpiece Replay Units. The complex articulation of the moving rig is accessed through a Touch Screen PC, that commands and mimics the massive structure.
The first week in April sees the opening of an ambitious new project by The Almeida Theatre Company who are in the process of converting the derelict Gainsborough Studios in North London. The Studios, home to many a famous Hitchcock movie, are due for total demolition later in the year, but not before the Almeida completes an exciting 22 week programme.The two storey high building has undergone radical internal restructuring to create a theatre- sized hall hosting as its first production, Shakespeare's Richard II, set to be performed from 30th March. This production will then be joined in repertoire, on June 1st , by Coriolanus, both plays starring Ralph Fiennes in the title roles. To accommodate three tiers of seating, the mid-floor of the Studios has been removed and, at the same time, a temporary lighting grid has been installed above the stage by Summit Steel. The show's design makes full use of the building, including a fissure that has been cut into the back wall from floor the ceiling. For this reason the lighting and all its rigging had to be fitted within the existing roof trusses, rather than hung from them in the conventional manner. Full coverage in the May issue of L&SI.
ARX USA has recently supplied NASA with 12 Ambience 1 70V compact loudspeakers for installation at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. The Ambience 1s are being used to monitor the communications between Houston, the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the orbiting Space Shuttles and - most importantly - the astronauts during 'EVAs' (Extra Vehicle Activities) or space-walks.
MAVCO has been awarded the contract to design, supply and provide project engineering services for the complete local entertainment, shipwide broadcast and PA/BGM systems for AMCV's Project America newbuild programme - for two 1,900-passenger cruise ships for service in Hawaii - the largest cruise ships ever built in the United States. The vessels will begin service in 2003 and 2004 under the United States Lines brand. The contract, which includes the design and preparation of complete engineering specifications for lighting, audio, video, rigging and show control systems for 15 venues, is being undertaken at MAVCO's recently-opened Design and Engineering office in the UK under the direction of Rob Shuard. Other current assignments include Costa Cruises' newest and largest ship, the 2,680 passenger Costa Atlantica currently being built in Finland. MAVCO is providing complete audio systems and project engineering from its new workshop fabrication and production facilities in Turku. The 84,000-ton Costa Atlantica offers seven bars, a two-level restaurant, cafe, gym, casino, conference room - and three swimming pools.
Tannoy Dual Concentric have been installed into Bateaux London's 350-capacity restaurant cruiser The Symphony by London-based Terry Tew Sound and Light. Tannoy speakers are used for both vocal and music reproduction and were specified for their sound quality and compact size. The speakers were installed into The Symphony to improve sound quality in the dance floor area and include a pair of T12 full-range multi-purpose speakers featuring Tannoy's Dual Concentric drive units. The T12s are used in conjunction with a single T40 compact sub-bass system to provide effective sound reinforcement on the dance floor area.
Pete Brotzman's new company, Crystal Pro Audio, undertook its first Walkabout Inn fit-out recently, using a Crest CA modular amplifier series (supplied by Sound Dept) with 'overbuilt' power supply to power the complex live and playback audio system, distributed across two floors. Brotzman used the CA series to run a Martin Audio Wavefront 8C PA and LE400 stage monitor system at the Swansea venue, along with a number of EM series boxes for delays and infills. The three sections of the Wavefront 8 were driven by CA2, CA6 and CA18 amplifiers respectively, while further CA4s, CA6s and CA9s power the EM boxes. A pair of BSS Omnidrive Installs are used to crossover the system, and the settings are programmed into a pair of BSS 9088 Soundwebs and fed to the relevant zones. Playback is sourced from a Rolec Hard Disk system and Tascam five-CD multi-changer.
After more than three years in development, the new £10.6million 200-seat Soho Theatre and Writers' Centre has opened in Dean Street, London. It becomes the West End's first ever purpose-built theatre for new work. Until 1995, the Company had been resident at the Cockpit Theatre, premiering the work of over 35 writers. Homeless in the interim, it was not until 1997 that it was able to purchase, 21 Dean Street and appoint Paxton Locher as Architects to oversee the conversion. Work began soon after and was completed in January this year. The new building includes a comfortable, air-conditioned theatre, a studio, rehearsal room and also, uniquely, space for writers and facilities for seminars and workshops - alongside, on the ground floor, the award-winning bar and restaurant Cafe Lazeez.
Stagetec has recently completed the supply and the installation of the performance lighting control systems, sound reinforcement and communication systems for two new music performance spaces and a sound recording studio at the new Mick Jagger Centre in Dartford. The project involved the redevelopment of parts of Dartford Grammar School, including the existing school hall, old gymnasium and old school library. The new spaces were integrated into the existing buildings and incorporate new foyer and administration areas. Theatre consultants Carr & Angier designed all aspects of the stage technical equipment. Full story in April L&SI.
As a repertory theatre, in theory Sadler's Wells could play host to a different company each week, so to make chief electrician Martin Hunt's life a little easier, he's installed 36 of Wybron's new CXI (Colour X Infinity) Colour Fusion colour changers. Offering an extensive palette, the CXIs enable Sadler's Wells to call up virtually every colour of the spectrum. Each scroller uses just two gel strings made up of graduated frames of cyan, yellow and magenta to make the commonly used gel colours from Rosco, Lee and GAM, plus a host of shades in between. For Hunt, this means that the gel strings don't have to be changed for each different production. The first production at Sadler's Wells to benefit was Dick Whittington, which was lit by Andy Bridge who is also using Wybron equipment on the UK production of Fosse.
Marquee Audio have embarked on the first four audio installations for an expanding pub chain operating in the Brighton and Guildford area. Zelgrain Ltd have grown their own estate to 25 leisure outlets in near record time, following the acquisition of Original Pub Holdings (OPH). The first refurbishment has seen the conversion of The Old Richmond, a legendary punk rock venue in Brighton's city centre, into Pressure Point. Marquee's Scott Wakelin designed the live PA system around Turbosound TCS series contractor products. These are driven by Yamaha P4500 and QSC Powerlight amplifiers via a BSS FDS-360 electronic crossover. This forms part of a highly specified FOH network of audio equipment, which also includes a Soundcraft Spirit 16/4/3 mixing console, BSS Opal Constant Q graphic, Behringer comp/limiters and Yamaha digital reverb. An existing CA SR707 was redeployed. Stage monitoring is provided by two Yamaha P4500 amps powering Renkus Heinz Q15s, while six each of Shure's classic SM57 and SM58 mics also form part of the order.
To coincide with this year's Frankfurt Music Messe [12-16 April 2000], Amina Technologies, in conjunction with NXT plc, will run a seminar presenting an overview of NXT- the new Acoustic Flat Panel Loudspeaker Technology - and its practical application and benefits within professional installations. The seminar will take place on Thursday 13 April at 11am at the Marriott Hotel, Frankfurt. The seminar will feature presentations from members of NXT - the developers of the actual technology itself, as well as Peter Mapp - one of the UK's leading audio consultants - who will give his expert advice on the application and installation of NXT-based products, whilst offering comparisons with conventional methods.
Liverpool superclub Cream will be heading south, if plans for a new venue in Brighton get the go-ahead from the local council. A planning application for the new club was submitted recently and is currently under consideration although there is no news yet of where the venue will be, if successful. Cream hope to have the Brighton venue up-and-running by the end of the year and although details of events and DJs have yet to be announced, the northern superclub's reputation alone should guarantee interest from clubbers across the south coast.
White Light recently took delivery of the first four Robert Juliat Cyrano Followspots off the production line. The Cyranos were then immediately delivered to the Royal Albert Hall where they will be permanently based as part of a long-term arrangement hire between Royal Albert Hall and White Light. One of the first shows to use the Cyrano spots was the Mountbatten Festival, where the rest of the largely automated rig was supplied by White Light's sister company - The Moving Light Company. The rig also included 17 High End StudioColors and 30 Martin MAC 500 and 250 luminaires. The Cyrano Followspot is a new addition to the range of RJ Followspots which White Light already own.
The Victorian Arts Centre has recently completed Australia's largest permanent theatre system installation in its Melbourne Concert Hall. Totalling more than 35 self-powered loudspeakers systems, provided by Meyer Sound Australia, the system design was no small feat.The new pro-audio system in the 2,600-seat hall comprises a central cluster of three Meyer MSL-4s over two CQ-1s with a UPA-IP and UPA-2P on either side. The balcony downfills include a left/centre/right configuration of CQ-2s over DS-4Ps for the left and right and a CQ-1 over a DS-4P for the centre down fill. 24 UPM-1P making up the under balcony fills. In addition, a PSW-6 per side is located above the stage and a left and right array of two DS-4Ps, 4 MSL-4s and a CQ-1 flown over 2 PSW-6s.
'The Trace', a unique multi-media installation by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer and Will Bauer, was at the centre of the retrospective of contemporary art that was exhibited recently at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in Canada. The installation was a 'telepresence' experience where people in different rooms of the museum could share the same interactive space. Two Martin Lighting Director (MLD) tracking systems were used to monitor the position and movement of participants in 3D and their presence was reconstructed in real time in the rooms using intersecting light beams, floor projections and positional sound. Automated followspots provided ghostly 3D representations which matched the movement of participants in the remote rooms. The installation used eight Mac 250 units for the aerials and four MAC 250+ fixtures for the projections. In addition, four MAC 300 moving heads were fitted with speakers and parabolic reflectors so that sound beams could also be directed to the location of the participants.
The Opera House in Bournemouth, Britain's largest independent nightclub and home to the infamous club-night 'Slinky', now boasts a complete Martin Audio Wavefront system which serves the whole venue. The club, awarded the South West Region's 'Club of the Year' title in the 1999 BEDA Awards, purchased units through London-based LMC Audio, to create a left and right flown array either side of the DJ booth in the main dance area. Each flown array consists of five W8S hybrid bass units, a full-range W8 and two W8C Wavefront compacts. The new house system is controlled via two BSS Soundweb DSP networking systems, one of which is tasked with limiting and compressing the main audio input and running the W8Cs, while the other is used to provide a mono sub/bass signal to the W8S and W8.