According to Tim Mortimer, installations manager at Wigwam Acoustics, it was “a bit of a shock” when he heard from his managing director that his team was a finalist for Installation Team of the Year in the Pro Sound Awards. “A lot of people see Wigwam just as a very large touring and hire company, even though we’ve done installations for years. It’s quite nice to be recognised.”
The award nomination extends to five people at the heart of the installations team: cited in addition to Mortimer are fellow installations manager Phil Goldsworth, plus David Orridge, Nigel Comrie and director Mick Spratt. The core team draws on a well-establisher pool of freelancers – there can be as many as 10 freelancers on larger projects, selected according to the disciplines required for the particular job. Mortimer has been working on installations with Wigwam for 20 years, initially as a freelancer himself.
An upcoming project for Wigwam will be installing a fully distributed Fohhn columns with Allen & Heath control in Halifax Minster – “a pretty standard cathedral system” according to Mortimer, with the distinction of being in a very large Grade I listed building, “the sort of thing we’re used to dealing with.”
The ability to work in listed buildings is one of qualities that sets the Wigwam team apart from many of its competitors. “A lot of companies are wary of going near these buidlings that are a major part of English heritage.” For Wigwam, its project list, which includes Lincoln, Liverpool and Salisbury cathedrals, helps to bring in more of this kind of work. “The architects know what they’re going to get, they know how we’re going to treat the building,” explained Mortimer, adding that the majority of the company’s installation work comes from word of mouth.
On the date of the Pro Sound Awards, 19 September, the Wigwam team will be in middle of a major project in Worcester: it will be installing at audio, video and lighting at The Convent complex, which consists of a live venue, studios and will probably also contain a hotel. “Probably some of the directors will be coming to the Awards,” said Mortimer, “though I’m sure the lads would rather be there than doing the wiring in The Convent!”