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  •   A.C. completes major lighting and audio installation for York St John College

A.C. completes major lighting and audio installation for York St John College

17th January 2002

Adjacent to the City Walls and near the famous Minster in the historic city of York, York St John College offers a range of opportunities for postgraduate and post-experience study, alongside an extensive programme of MA and PhD research degrees. The main 9.87 acre site with a history dating back to 1841 is located on Lord Mayor's Walk, just a few minutes from city centre shops, restaurants, theatres, galleries and museums.

The College has recently embarked on a major programme of investment in infrastructure facilities to develop a state of the art learning centre including a new library and IT facilities. The programme has also included a significant installation of lighting and audio equipment to enhance the college's Communication Arts Studies in Media and Performance (CASMAP) facilities.

This part of the installation has been carried out by A.C. Lighting Ltd, creating two drama studios, a dance studio, a recording studio and facilities for music production and pre-production work. The drama and dance studios have been fitted with a high density of ceiling mounted internally wired lighting bars and an extensive range of Selecon and Vision lanterns. A number of Strand lanterns from a former college location have also been integrated into the facilities. Control is provided by a mixture of Strand and Zero 88 dimmers in conjunction with ETC and Zero 88 consoles. Extensive patching facilities have been incorporated as part of the dimmer installations. Each studio has also been extensively equipped with tracking and drapes to enable simple and rapid reconfiguration of the space on a day to day basis. This necessitated the provision of multiple DMX access points within each studio for the connection of trolley mounted lighting consoles.

John Merrylees, Lecturer in Technical Theatre at the college commented, "The whole key to this installation is flexibility and adaptability. Speed of change is critical to our use of the facilities and from the outset every aspect of the installation was designed to provide this."

The audio facilities fully reflect the installation philosophy of the lighting and were designed to permit a high level of connectivity between equipment. Audio mixing is provided on Soundcraft desks, with recording possible on three types of media, reel-to-reel tape, MiniDisc and CD, using equipment from Revox, Tascam and Denon. A variety of external effects units can be patched in as appropriate. Audio reproduction is provided for critical monitoring and general front of house public address. Studio 2, the largest of the performance areas has been fitted with Tannoy loudspeakers.

"Our audio flexibility is as important as the versatility of the lighting. One moment we can be recording live music for a drama production and a few hours later we need to redeploy equipment for sound reinforcement of a performance", added John Merrylees.

Adam Beaumont, of the A.C. Lighting Northern Region office based in Leeds, who handled the project stated, "This has been an extremely interesting and complex project. The requirement to provide such a high level of flexibility and redeployment capability in both lighting and audio equipment has presented a number of challenges. We've needed to pay a great deal of attention to the cabling involved to facilitate maximum connectivity whilst avoiding the potential for interference".