Henry VIII’s wives on song with DPA
Thursday, 6 June 2019
six-the-musical-1SIX the Musical is on an open run at the Arts Theatre
UK - DPA’s d:facto 4018V Vocal Microphone plays a starring role in the staging of SIX the Musical - and not just because it conveys the crystal clear audio that sound designer Paul Gatehouse was looking for.
Equally important is the look of the microphone and the fact that it is handheld, which truly conveys the concert-like atmosphere that this popular West End theatre show aims to replicate.
“The d:facto 4018V is a vital part of SIX’s visual imagery because the Queens (the main characters) convey their message using a handheld device,” Gatehouse explains. “The show’s creators, Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, wanted to present a unique experience, something that referenced Beyoncé at Roseland. Working with handheld microphones allows us to do that in a very powerful way.”
Written by Marlow and Moss while they were studying for their final year exams at Cambridge University, SIX the Musical is a modern re-telling of the lives of the six wives of Henry VIII. The story is presented as a pop concert in which the wives take turns singing in a bid to persuade the other wives - and the audience - that their time with King Henry was far worse than anyone else’s. It may sound like an odd concept for a musical but since opening at the Edinburgh Festival in 2017 it has been a major success and now has an indefinite run at the Arts Theatre in London’s West End.
With the exception of one DPA d:vote 4099 Instrument Microphone, which is used to amplify an acoustic guitar on stage, the only microphones used on this production are the d:facto 4081V Vocal Microphones, supplied by DPA’s UK subsidiary Sound Network.
“I wanted to use working microphones, not just props, so I was looking for something that was super clean and pop-y sounding and didn’t colour the actor’s voices,” Paul Gatehouse says. “That meant using a condenser microphone and that, in turn, led to the d:facto capsule. The fact that DPA makes the 4018V capsule adaptable with third party transmitters is great. We use a Sony DWX digital wireless system and the combination of this and the d:facto capsule gives us a really pure, clean sound.”
With more than 20 years’ experience in theatre sound, Gatehouse has worked on numerous top shows including Miss Saigon, The Lion King, Les Misérables and Phantom of the Opera. Dealing with challenges is all part of the job and with SIX his main challenge is the size of the venue.
With SIX the Musical on an open run at the Arts Theatre, Paul Gatehouse is turning his attention to other projects including sound design for the Mary Poppins musical, which opens in London later this year.
(Jim Evans)

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