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PRO SOUND AWARDS 2014: Setting the stage for best theatre sound

Following on from our profile of the multiple-nominated Powersoft, SSE and Sound by Design – and in preparation for tomorrow’s PSNEurope-Live newsletter – here’s a closer look at the Pro Sound Awards’ Best Theatre Sound finalists!

Chris Mace was production engineer on I Can’t Sing! The X Factor Musical, which opened to positive reviews (including from one Dave Robinson of PSNEurope) at the London Palladium on 26 March, and ran till 10 May. (Pictured, from left, is I Can’t Sing! actor Nigel Harman, creator Simon Cowell and writer Harry Hill at the show’s press launch. Photo credit: Alastair Muir.)

“[Chris] worked a 15-hour day, six days a week, leading a team of up to 10 sound engineers to install over 200 speakers, 140 microphones and 21 computers,” said one impressed nominator. “It was all completed ahead of time without interfering too much with the rest of the departments. All in all, it was a mammoth task which was accomplished in an exemplary manner.”

“Mace coped with an extremely demanding system, within a ludicrously tight budget and entreatingly unrealistic schedule – and a predictably curmudgeonly production manager – in his traditionally unflappable way,” said another. “[H]e managed those under (and, frankly, over) him with a deftness of touch from which those entering the industry could learn a massive amount. What he did do worked – [and] what he didn’t do didn’t need doing.”

SSE Audio Group scored one of their three winning nominations for a new arena version of Jesus Christ Superstar, Lord Lloyd Webber and Sir Tim Rice’s rock musical, which toured throughout the UK last year.

Also in contention are the sound department at the National Theatre, for the Tori Amos musical The Light Princess (“A tour de force,” says Time Out), and Clive Goodwin, sound designer on the Tony Award-winning Once.

The shortlists for each category will now be presented to a panel of judges from across the spectrum of the pro audio industry, who will ultimately choose the winners of each award (with the exception of the Grand Prix and Lifetime Achievement prizes, which will be chosen by the Awards team, and Rising Star, to be decided by Audio Pro International).

The big night is 25 September at the Ministry of Sound, London. Tickets are available now from the Pro Sound Awards website, and include entry to the Pre-Roll – our new-for-this-year early evening sessions of insight and discussion, in a panel/Q&A format, with leading figures from the industry – drinks reception, food and entry to the after-party. Have you got yours yet?