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  •   A.C. Special Projects Provides Best of Breed Technical Facilities for Innovative Production & Performance Courses

A.C. Special Projects Provides Best of Breed Technical Facilities for Innovative Production & Performance Courses

13th January 2009

A.C. Special Projects Ltd. has designed, supplied and installed full technical facilities for the Sidney Stringer School’s multi-purpose theatre and drama studio. The School has built a reputation as an innovator that encourages experimental teaching practices, and offers a range of BTEC vocational courses including Drama & Theatre Arts, and Music, for students aged 11-18.

After losing their original theatre in a fire the School’s Head of Drama, Michael Collins, approached A.C. Special Projects to provide complete technical facilities for the new installation. Starting with an empty shell and power feed, the company specified the entire lighting, rigging, audio and AV products inventory for the theatre. Also, various equipment was supplied for a separate drama rehearsal space.

To enable the School to utilise the new theatre for its end of term B-TEC assessed student productions,
A.C. Special Projects worked to the School’s very tight deadline to deliver the system design through to installation in five weeks. Also, the company worked with the School to help facilitate its innovative approach to learning. Students on the Drama & Theatre Arts course shadowed A.C. Special Projects throughout the theatrical installation to learn how to use the equipment, and the School is now assessing their ability to operate and maintain the facilities for regular show productions.

The lighting equipment includes an extensive list of ETC, Robe & Chroma-Q® conventional, moving light & LED fixtures, Strand digital dimming, internally wired lighting bars and associated cabling. The stand-alone Jands Vista T2 lighting console provides an intuitive visual interface, innovative timeline editing function and generic fixture control, enabling students to create shows on the very latest and user-friendly industry technology. Also, the School uses native Vista Mac software to teach students how to programme shows offline and WYSIWYG Learn lighting visualisation software to design their shows.

To facilitate the most efficient use of the space, A.C. Special Projects used Litec QD30S heavy-duty aluminium truss for the ground support system. The truss was specially ordered to the room’s dimensions to accommodate pull-out seating blocks between the legs. In addition, stage drapes were made to within 1m of their final hanging length, to enable them to be fitted in advance of the theatre being completed.

The audio system was chosen with space in mind as well as ease of use. A combination of KV2 EX6, EX10, EX12 full range loudspeakers and EX2.5 bass enclosures connected to a Yamaha LS9 32 channel digital mixing console deliver unrivalled sonic performance and reliability. Other equipment includes Shure microphones, Sennheiser radio microphones and a Clearcom comms system.

Other equipment includes an AV and DJ system featuring various Tascam, Denon and Pioneer source playback equipment. A.C. Special Projects supplied a Robe DigiSpot 5000 DT, the first combined digital moving light projector and LED-based wash light, to project images in any orientation, anywhere in the room. In addition, the company provided full technical training for the School’s drama staff the week before the show.

The School now has one of the most technically equipped theatre facilities in the country. It is being used for assemblies, lessons and performance work for its Drama & Theatre Arts and Music courses to audiences ranging from 60 to 150 people. Also, other community groups are benefitting by using the facilities for educational, recreational, social and cultural purposes after School hours.

Michael Collins, the School’s Head of Drama, commented: "The work done by A.C. Special Projects, their advice and support throughout the theatre project, was crucial to its success. “A.C.” engaged fully with the ethos and ideals of the school. They continue to show support and endless patience as the students and staff learn the technology. The Vista, WYSIWYG and the Color Block™ lighting products in particular are fantastic."