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A Shure start for RADA’s new sound training

Developed with the sound department of the Royal Shakespeare Company, RADA's newest course includes a comprehensive hands-on exploration of current sound equipment, enhanced by a technical sponsorship from Shure Distribution UK.

Six months into the new Sound Design for the Theatre course at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), current student Philip Matejtschuk (pictured, left) admits he hasn’t slept much.

Matejtschuk’s training began immediately in September, running sound and assisting in choral recordings for RADA’s theatrical production of Blue Stockings (now playing at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre).
This was followed quickly by a week of intensive training in boom operation and location sound recording with industry veteran Steven ‘Stitch’ Richardson, a series of three radio dramas, another theatrical production – an ‘avant garde’ version of Peter Pan – three more radio dramas, two films and he is just starting work as assistant sound designer (with composer/sound designer Richard Hammarton) for RADA’s production of All’s Well That Ends Well – and all while recording RADA alumni for an ongoing series of online interviews. Phew.
“That’s our whole ethos with technical training; you’re basically doing the job so that when you leave here, you go into the industry there are no surprises. From the student’s point of view it means long hours, but it’s good practice,” says RADA’s head of sound Chris Mock (pictured, right).
Having plenty of industry-standard kit, courtesy of a technical sponsorship from Shure Distribution UK, is also keeping Matejtschuk up at night – experimenting in the studio.
“It’s a push. It’s as if someone’s said ‘Here’s lots of toys, go play with them’ which is obviously a fantastic thing to be able to have. It makes me want to come and use the studio more which is always a good thing. “
A technical sponsorship had been on Mock’s mind from the moment he joined RADA in 2007.
“When I came in I thought the studios were fantastic, but all the other departments had industry support or visitors coming in, so I was very keen to do that with sound.”
Mock’s opportunity came in 2011, when RADA hosted its inaugural OpenStage event, and he first met SDUK’s Kirsty Lamport: “She was interested in what we’re doing at RADA, so we started talking about the training and how it would be fantastic to use Shure products, as well as Sound Devices,” said Mock.

“Kirsty said to me ‘Have a look at the website, and anything you’d like to have in the department put it on the list ’ and literally everything I put on that list, we got.”
That list includes a full locker’s worth of Shure microphones, some of which Mock specifically requested like the SM7B vocal mic and a KSM353/ED ribbon microphone (“I never though I was going to get that one!” he said) alongside shotgun, dynamic and wireless microphone systems, and Sound Devices recorders for field use.
“Having such great support from the guys at Shure Distribution UK means that we can offer a very high level of training in the sound department across the academy, using the latest in studio and wireless microphones and sound devices field recorders gives our students the best possible start to their career in the sound industry,” concluded Mock.