Avoiding aesthetic intrusion was among the priorities for Esbjerg Performing Arts Centre when it came to the development of a new theatre space, reports David Davies. The 500-seat venue was designed by architects Jan Utzon and his father, Jørn Utzon, whose credits include Sydney Opera House.
In-house sound technician Paul van Zijl recounted that “big line array systems” flown high above the proscenium did not constitute a viable option for the new theatre because they would “detract from the total theatre experience”. He added: “What we wanted was a sound system that could be built into the sides of the proscenium, hidden from view and covering the whole hall, including a balcony.”
Remembering a visit by a Dutch production crew that used an Alcons system instead of the in-house line array in the main hall, the sound team contacted Alcons’ Danish distributor, Ascon Trading. The new theatre’s tech spec was sent for analysis to Ascon Trading, who ultimately recommended an Alcons system based featuring four QR36 pro-ribbon line-source columns, two BF302 double 15” subwoofers and four Alcons ALC amplified loudspeaker controllers
“The QR36s proved to be perfect in the ability to be recessed into the side of the proscenium: two for the floor and two above these for the balcony along with the BF302 subs neatly hidden from view underneath the proscenium,” noted van Zijl.
Final adjustments were conducted by Ascon Trading in conjunction with Alcons’ system tech, Niels Janssen.
“Previous experience told me that we were in for a long day, but to my utter surprise we were done in time for lunch,” said van Zijl. “We can with confidence say that with the QR36 we have a highly transparent and pleasant reproduction over the complete frequency spectrum, without nasty reflections, putting our audience in the middle in true Utzon style. … Oh, did we mention, they are invisible, too!”