A birds-eye view of the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival stage
A birds-eye view of the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival stage

A New Audio System for Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival

Stage Directions

With a stunning view of Lake Tahoe as its backdrop, Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival is located in the Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park. This year the Festival transformed their sound system with the help of Audio Logic Systems (ALS) of Minneapolis, MN. Audio Logic Systems provided a d&b Y-Series system.

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The Yamaha Rivage PM7 at the FOH at MPAC In Montgomery, AL
The Yamaha Rivage PM7 at the FOH at MPAC In Montgomery, AL

Montgomery PAC Upgrades its Audio

Stage Directions

The Montgomery Performing Arts Centre (MPAC), in Montgomery, AL, now has an audio mixing workflow worthy of the theater’s sonic characteristics, with the recent additions of Yamaha RIVAGE PM7 and CL5 digital consoles.

The MPAC team with Yamaha console. From left, Nate Sipple, PM; Alex Craig, TD; ”Overkill Bill” Young Sr. TD; and Allen Sanders, GM.

“We have a killer acoustic room with great sound treatments,” said Bill Young, senior technical director at MPAC. “Since opening in 2008, we’ve made serious upgrades in our hall’s design and loudspeaker systems and these new consoles were the final piece. Now we can hear what our system should really sound like.”

Many of the musical acts that play at MPAC don’t tour with front-of-house (FOH) or monitor consoles as part of their regular inventories. As a result, the MPAC team has often had to rent consoles to accommodate each tour. “We needed house consoles that would step us up sonically and also be as ‘rider-friendly’ as possible with little training time needed for tour engineers who might be unfamiliar with the desks,” Young said.

Young noted that since the PM7 and CL5 are widely used and their features are so familiar to engineers across all genres, most acts now are comfortable using the MPAC’s new house console set-up, in turn reducing MPAC’s rental frequency.

The Yamaha consoles were chosen due to a recent “surge in CL series and RIVAGE PM7 desks being accepted or requested on riders,” a trend Young attributed to the fact the consoles combine all the features live sound engineers commonly request: comfortable ergonomics, logical fader layouts, an easy-to-navigate menu system, the ability to save and easily recall settings from previous productions and enough inputs/outputs to support any type of performance. “The PM7 and CL5 addressed all our points and then some,” he added.

MPAC also hosts non-music events like speaker conferences and dance competitions and their new audio mixing capabilities allow the team to easily handle this diverse workload. 

The consoles run on a redundant Audinate Dante network using Yamaha 16-port network switches to manage primary and secondary lines into the consoles for fail-safe operation. “If the primary network goes down then the secondary takes over immediately,” he said.This also gives Young the flexibility to use either desk at FOH or monitors.

“If we need 20 stereo ear mixes for a show, then the PM7 goes to monitors,” he said. “Another show may only need six wedge mixes on stage so then the CL5 takes the monitor job. We can do either easily with the added benefit of multitracking everything for a live recording, for later editing in post-production or doing virtual soundchecks, all without having another copper split. The possibilities are endless.”

MPAC is using Yamaha Rio I/O boxes running Yamaha sample rate conversion HY cards to support different sample rates. “We can run the PM7 at FOH at 96 kHz and the CL5 on monitors operating at 48 kHz,” he said. “This card lets us use both consoles at those different rates and the Dante technology figures it out and makes it work. It’s human-friendly.”

The Yamaha equipment was supplied by Rod Sintow of Pro Sound & Video, Miami, Fla. Both desks are housed in custom-made flip cases built in Poland by Lukasz Zawada’s ZCase Company for fast one-person deployment. Young also credits MPAC’s management, especially GM Allen Sanders, with making audio quality a priority for the guests and performing artists, and that includes the upgrade to the Yamaha consoles. “Unlike older theaters built mainly to amplify the spoken word,” he said, “this is a ‘dead’ room, so for amplified music, it’s a sound man’s dream.”

Further information from Yamaha: www.yamahaca.com

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The exterior of the newly opened TheatreSquared
The exterior of the newly opened TheatreSquared

TheatreSquared Raises the Curtain on its New Home

Stage Directions

More than 550 Northwest Arkansas civic leaders and arts supporters gathered for a ribbon cutting celebration at TheatreSquared’s state-of-the-art, $31 million new home in Fayetteville, AR. “This is a signal moment—the opening of a true community space—and one we owe to a great deal of generosity and hard work by a great many people,”  said T2 Executive Director Martin Miller in remarks at the ribbon cutting event. Here's a video overview of the new space:
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Photo Credit: Maria Baranova
Photo Credit: Maria Baranova

Tyler Micoleau on Lighting Be More Chill

Stage Directions

Be More Chill is a musical based on the 2004 novel by Ned Vizzini. After a 2015 regional theatre production, the musical premiered Off-Broadway in 2018 and is now nearing the end of a successful run on Broadway, at the Lyceum Theatre. Lighting has been in the capable hands of Tyler Micoleau since the original production. At the Lyceum he has used GLP fixtures extensively, with the impression S350 and impression E350 making their Broadway debut, in combination with the JDC1, impression X4 Bar 20, and the staple impression X4. Here's a video montage of Be More Chill: {youtube}v=E__gB3OO_UY?t=5 {/youtube}

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USITT News: Women+ Increasingly Vacate Technical Theatre Positions

Stage Directions

Caitlyn Garrity’s article Building a Better Workplace in the latest issue of USITT’s Theatre Design & Technology journal explores the world of women+ in technical theatre and the challenging workplace cultures that result in the abandonment of their positions.

A full 90 percent of respondents to a recent survey of female-identifying theatre design and production practitioners say that they have experienced negative workplace environments, gender-based harassment, or pay gaps. The results of the survey appear in the Summer 2019 edition of Theatre Design & Technology(TD&T), the journal of USITT.

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The C.K. McClatchy High School auditorium recently got a massive upgrade along with a major audio system
The C.K. McClatchy High School auditorium recently got a massive upgrade along with a major audio system

Audio Upgrade at Historic High School Auditorium in Sacramento

Stage Directions

The C.K. McClatchy High School is the oldest high school in the City of Sacramento and serves 2,000 students. Recently, it launched the C.K. McClatchy Theater Project, a $23 million initiative designed to attract students interested in arts. The improvements included a complete renovation of the art deco auditorium, originally built in 1937. Although the auditorium was gutted down to the dirt inside, the new design retained the original shell and many features of the original build, including stained glass windows and the vaulted ceiling structure. A key element of the renovation that wasn’t period, however, was the installation of a state-of-the-art Yamaha Active Field Control (AFC3) system as part of the new AV system.

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The auditorium of the new theater at Southwest Christian High School
The auditorium of the new theater at Southwest Christian High School

Lighting the New Theater at Southwest Christian High School

Stage Directions

Southwest Christian High School in Chaska, MN, recently opened a new 64,000-square feet building expansion which included a new 734-seat Performing Arts Center. Wanting the aesthetics of the new theatre to be a modern interpretation of classic elegance, the design firm BGW Architects worked with MainStage Theatrical Supply and created a unique audience experience using Chalice LED downlights and Spectra Cube LED Wash luminaires from Altman Lighting. 

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The downstage and upstage truss systems for the Muny Theatre renovation were provided by TOMCAT
The downstage and upstage truss systems for the Muny Theatre renovation were provided by TOMCAT

New Truss Systems for the Muny Theatre Renovation

Stage Directions

The St. Louis Muny Theatre is the country’s oldest and largest outdoor musical theater, and recently completed a massive renovation, part of a large capital campaign to open its 101st season with a new stage filled with a lot of new technology. Read more about the renovation of the Muny Theatre in the August 2019 issue of Stage Directions.

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