After runs in Shanghai and Beijing, the smash hit musical Mamma Mia! is currently playing in Guangzhou, China, with a DiGiCo SD8 at FOH position. Although Western musicals have previously toured China, this is the first time that one has been performed by a local cast, with a translated script. Technically, the audio approach was the same as it has been for all other recent productions of Mamma Mia!, however a few hurdles had to be cleared regarding the supply of equipment. “Because of China’s import laws, we realised that it would be quite difficult to get the equipment in and out of the country,” says the production’s associate sound designer Richard Brooker, who works closely with sound designer Bobby Aitken and has been involved in 21 different productions of Mamma Mia! around the world.
“This being the first production of its kind in China, we had no historical experience of which Chinese production companies had the skills to manage this production. We needed to be confident in the finished result, so the responsibility was placed on Seoul Sound. They have a lot of experience of this level of show as they have put on many international productions in Korea.” This production of Mamma Mia! is classified as a medium-sized musical, boasting 13 principles, an ensemble and a six-piece band. It uses a total of 83 inputs, 54 outputs, and 117 snapshots/scenes during the performance and much use is being made of the SD8’s internal effects. “Two years ago, a decision was taken to make the show more accessible to smaller territories and producers. To achieve this, it was redesigned from all angles, including sound, so that it now fits on to an SD8 perfectly,” he explains. “It’s astonishing to think that it actually fits on to an SD8, but that says a lot more about the desk than anything else. The SD8 is designed for a certain market and really you wouldn’t think that market could encompass a production like Mamma Mia!, which is a global success.”