Hairspray returns with Orbital Sound
Friday, 23 July 2021
hairsprayHairspray returns to the West End
UK - Orbital Sound has returned to work with performances with audiences, with Hairspray leading the way. The Coliseum’s Edwardian auditorium celebrated the end of quarantine, with Michael Ball reprising his Olivier Award-winning role as Edna Turnblad.
Sound designer Andrew Keister, representing original Broadway designer Steve Kennedy, flew in for the project but had to quarantine prior to arrival in the theatre. In the meantime, Hairspray’s UK sound team - Josh Richardson, Callum Wills, Simon France, Robbie Barclay and Larry Golland - were hard at work along with the Orbital team led by Henry Pierce, ensuring everything was set up in advance at the Coliseum.
Andrew has high praise for the whole team saying, “It would have been amazing to be back in any theatre again after so many months of the industry being shut down, but to be back in the Coliseum, in the heart of the West End, with this incredible team was almost too good to be true.
“The original West End production of Hairspray in 2007 was the first time I had the pleasure of working with Orbital, and I’m happy to say that 14 years later they are still defying expectations. Our first performance was a very emotional experience for all of us after so much time away from the business that we love, and the roaring ovation from the audience at the curtain call was an experience I won’t soon forget.”
For Orbital, Hairspray represents a magical moment, as a celebration of the gradual reopening of theatres and a return to something like normality. Andrew wanted to try some updated elements for this latest production, utilising Meyer’s Leopard line array and Nemesis CCS-2 audio playback redundancy switchers.
Orbital’s MD Chris Headlam expanded, “While we couldn’t prep the show in the usual way, we all focused on creating a harmonious result through online collaboration and making sure that everything was spot on when the curtain went up. After so many dark months, it truly is ‘on with the show’.”

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