West Yorkshire Playhouse upgrades digital mixing
Located in central Leeds, the West Yorkshire Playhouse provides top-class theatrical performance facilities for audiences throughout the region and beyond. It is a producing theatre which creates its own shows for both in-house production and national touring, whilst also collaborating frequently with other major regional theatres. Numerous shows have transferred to the West End from Leeds, the most recent being ‘Loserville’ which premiered at London’s Garrick Theatre in October 2012.
The Playhouse also provides one of the country's most comprehensive arts education programs, working with schools and young people in addition to offering a range of initiatives for adults and community groups. It is also a significant local employer with in excess of 200 staff representing every working discipline necessary to operate a contemporary theatre.
The West Yorkshire Playhouse facility includes two performance spaces, the 350-seat ‘Courtyard’ and the main ‘Quarry’ theatre which seats 750. The main theatre was until recently equipped with a large analogue mixing console, the use of which had been in steady decline as contemporary theatre sound designs made increasing use of the facilities afforded by digital consoles. The WYP had previously hired DiGiCo SD8 consoles for their 2011 Christmas programme, and this experience in tandem with an ongoing relationship with Autograph Sales & Installations convinced them that the time was right to upgrade their installed mixing console systems.
The DiGiCo SD8s did not provide quite enough inputs overall, so the obvious choice was a DiGiCo SD10. The WYP hired one from Autograph for their production of ‘Annie’, designed by Simon Baker, and in fact the same FOH setup remained in place for the next show as well, giving the house technical team the ideal opportunity to properly evaluate the SD10 in a real-world working environment. The DiGiCo subsequently proved itself well up to the many and various demands likely to made of it in a busy theatre, and in due course Autograph were delighted to supply and commission a new SD10 to the Playhouse during a short ‘dark’ period.
The equipment supplied includes a DiGiCo SD10 control surface plus two SD Racks, eight 8-input cards and four 8-output cards, giving a system total of 64 mic / line inputs and 32 multi-purpose outputs which can be deployed in any configuration between the two racks as required by individual projects. This combination of inputs and outputs will handle the majority of shows produced at the Playhouse, but there is spare capacity within the SD Racks allowing the system to be expanded if necessary.
The SD10 system also includes a single ADAT card to allow simple connection to the Playhouse’s QLab show control system and playback media. On initial installation the racks are connected to the SD10 via copper MADI links, but those will soon be replaced by fibre-optic cables using the integrated Optocore system.