London’s Theatre Royal recently hosted Terrence Rattigan’s Flare Path; Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead; Shakespeare’s The Tempest; and The Lion in Winter by James Goldman, which together featured an array of stars such as Ralph Fiennes, Sienna Miller, Robert Lindsay and Joanna Lumley. All four productions incorporated Yamaha digital consoles and DME series digital mixing engines; and the season has been so popular that several productions have earned an extended run.
“Based on my time working at the National Theatre, I designed an average ‘rep-like’ system for music, effects and so on, which had different components added to it, depending on the requirements of each production,” reveals sound design engineer, Paul Groothuis.
The system comprised a Yamaha DME64N for loudspeaker management, routing audio to a house system of Meyer, JBL and d&b loudspeakers. A Yamaha DM1000VCM console was deployed for The Lion in Winter and Flare Path, fitted with an MY16-AT ADAT interface card with 16 channels of music on QLab, running on two Macintosh computers.
Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead required 24 channels of Sennheiser radio mics. For this, Groothuis used a Yamaha PM5D mixing console, located at FOH position. The setup was retained for The Tempest and backing tracks were added to the mix.
“Two of the most important things are the reliability of the system and taking up as few seats as possible,” explains Groothuis. “Flare Path and The Lion In Winter didn’t need radio mics on the actors; there was a fair amount of music but no live singing, so we could do the show with the console on stage. The setup for the other two productions was necessarily more complex and needed a FOH mix position. The PM5D was the ideal choice, delivering everything that was needed from the sound design.”