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Autograph Delivers Essential Paging Upgrade At The Duke Of York’s

Paging and show relay systems are the almost invisible yet absolutely essential technology on which all professional theatre relies. Enabling instant communication between various points and selected zones in the building as well as relaying the show audio to backstage areas, these are as mission-critical as anything in modern theatre.

Autograph Sales & Installations recently completed a major paging and relay systems upgrade at The Duke Of York’s Theatre in London’s West End. A classic Victorian theatre opened in 1892, it was purchased by the Ambassador Theatre Group in 1992. Notable productions are far too numerous to list but from July to November 2018 it will stage a new production of King Lear, starring Sir Ian McKellen.

Autograph’s Adam Broom oversaw the design and implementation of the new three-zone system (covering front of house, backstage and the offices) which employs a range of products from various manufacturers, integrated into a cohesive design. QSC Q-Sys digital processing is at its heart, with a 110F processor below stage linked via network to their new I/O8-Flex channel expander in the at FOH kiosk. The former is connected to a Lab-Gruppen E 12:2 amplifier which drives all the backstage paging loudspeakers, while the latter drives another E 12:2, also in the kiosk, which powers the FOH speakers and those in the offices. The I/O8 Flex device also provides local inputs and outputs and GPIO at front of house and lives in an Autograph-configured rack which also contains the Lab-Gruppen amplifier and a Denon DN-F350 multi-media player. Routing to the FOH system can be from the Denon, the show relay feed or from an auxiliary input on the substage rack.

Three of Autograph’s own-design paging microphones were supplied and can be moved around four paging points as required, two at downstage left, one in prompt corner and the other at stage door. New wiring and loudspeakers were installed throughout, using compact Martin Audio CDD5s in the foyer, Penton ceiling speakers in the restrooms and TOA BS678T units (modified by Autograph to replace the three-position volume control with a smooth taper version) backstage and throughout the offices. The units in the latter two areas feature volume restoration so that the level of paging calls is unaffected by the local control.

Peter Chapman, the theatre's Chief Electrician, commented, 'The guys from Autograph were incredible, from the initial walk rounds, subsequent meetings to ascertain the exact system that we would benefit from right through to the weeks of installation, it was seamless.'

'All of the guys worked hard to minimise the intrusion of the install happening at a working theatre, and were very clean and quiet. I couldn’t have wished for a more straightforward professional contract from start to finish. I have already recommended their services to some of our other venues and I could not speak higher of them as a company as a whole. Fantastic job and a pleasure to work with. Thank you!'

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