Stage Electrics has chosen a DiGiCo SD9 console to control an all-new audio system, designed for both live performance and digital cinema, at the Trinity Theatre in Tunbridge Wells, UK.
Built in the mid 19th century, the Holy Trinity was Tunbridge Wells’ first parish church. After its final religious service in 1972 its Grade 1 listed status ensured safety from demolition, and by 1975 a public petition had secured permission from the Church Commissioners to produce a plan for community or public use.
An appeal committee raised £50,000 and five years later it reopened as The Trinity Theatre arts centre complete with a raked-seating auditorium: growing popularity soon saw an art gallery, licensed bar and computerized box office added.
Its latest upgrade sees the venerable space take on the very modern mantle of digital cinema, although a cursory gaze at the vaulted balconies, plush stage tabs and comfy seats reveals little. Only on closer inspection does it turn out to be the UK’s first digital cinema to employ the unique K-Array system, its mid/high hangs barely visible against the tabs, complemented by minuscule surround sound satellite loudspeakers discretely located around the auditorium. Supplied and installed by Stage Electrics, the system, powered by bespoke K-Array Class D high power density amplifiers with integral DSP, is controlled directly from a DiGiCo SD9 console.
“This was my first project after I joined Stage Electrics,” observes Business Development Manager for audio James Gosney. “Stage Electrics is doing bigger and bigger sound installations including the installation and supply of equipment to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre last year. As a consequence of being asked to design and supply high end audio systems, they have been expanding their audio team with people experienced in sound system design and installation, which is precisely my background.”
Coming from a family also deeply immersed in theatre, he says: “I immediately fell in love with the building. For the last 20 years I’ve been mostly involved in designing systems for big churches, so for me it was a perfect combination of the two: a theatre in a church… with a bar; it doesn’t get much better.”
“The brief was for a multipurpose theatre system, one that would work for all the types of the events that go on here,” explains Gosney. “Like jazz evenings, musical theatre, straight plays, opera, local amateur dramatic groups, pretty much everything – and on top of that, 7.1 digital cinema, with its specific Dolby processing requirements.”
The Stage Electrics commissioning team set up the DiGiCo’s system alignment and output processing with presets for cinema, musical theatre, straight plays, jazz and other types of events.
“We had shown our demo SD9 to [Trinity Theatre head technician] Simon Diaper who loved it, partly because it’s so easy to use and so logically set out, but particularly because of the sound quality, which is noiseless really. It’s beautiful,” concludes Gosney. “And that’s the system: a DiGiCo going into the K-Array amps into the K-Array speakers, and it’s that simple. I’m all for keeping sound systems as simple as possible. Keep the signal path as clean as you can and don’t complicate it with too much nonsense in between.”