Acting school looks to the future with DiGiCo
Tuesday, 31 August 2021
digico-gsachris-hallamGSA sound technician Chris Hallam
UK - Part of the University of Surrey, Guildford School of Acting (GSA) provides its Theatre Production course students with a rounded education in all aspects of technical production. Part of this, is ensuring the equipment they learn on is not only cutting-edge but prepares them for their professional careers. To this end, GSA has recently invested in a DiGiCo Quantum 338, purchased through Autograph Sound.
“As a drama conservatoire, GSA is renowned for its musical theatre and actor-musician training, creating many opportunities for the Theatre Production students to support the sound needs of this diverse performance programme,” says Gareth Evans, teaching fellow in Sound at GSA. “When we were looking to upgrade our existing SD8, we knew we wanted a console that both represented an industry standard for our students and would support the efficient workflows needed to facilitate the quantity and quality of shows.
“Although we considered the current SD line as an option, it seemed we stood at the precipice of a technological change in our industry and had to make a decision; to be facing the present as educators or to be facing the future. Thanks to the generous support of the institution, the choice was clear.”
For Evans, the Quantum 338 represents a long-term investment which will keep both GSA’s training and research relevant for its students for a long time to come. “The amazing way DiGiCo has ensured backwards compatibility with its technology and a consistency in its interface design means our students can leave being trained on the 338 and be comfortable with jumping on any of the SD range on consoles in the field,” he says.
The course has an annual intake of around 30 students per year, split between the disciplines of stage management, construction and scenic arts, lighting and sound. In the first year, they cover all topics, providing them with an overall understanding of a theatre’s technical departments. In their second year, they choose a discipline to specialise in.
“That’s something that’s quite different about GSA,” says GSA sound technician, Chris Hallam. “It’s really good for our students to know about all the disciplines. If the lighting tech has been trained in sound as well, when the lighting department is asked to move a light to accommodate the PA, they understand why they’re being asked to do it. And of course, having a tool like the Quantum 338 is a big incentive for everyone to want to learn about sound.”

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