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Marquee AV designs system for new LAMDA facility

​​Marquee AV has designed and installed the AV and production lighting systems for LAMDA’s (London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art) recently opened £28.2m facility, which replaces the western part of its campus and more than doubles its overall size.

Founded in 1861 as the London Academy of Music, LAMDA is the oldest drama school in the UK and was the first such institution to offer acting tuition.

Charcoalblue LLP worked alongside Níall McLaughlin Architects to provide the performance specification for the consolidation of LAMDA’s remote teaching spaces onto the new single-site campus in Hammersmith. Development consisted of the 200-seat Sainsbury Theatre, the 120-seat Carne Studio Theatre, The Manny & Brigitta Davidson Foyer, The Sackler Library, a screen and audio suite, 10 training/rehearsal studios and full technical and wardrobe facilities.

Contractors, Volker Fitzpatrick, appointed Marquee AV to design and install the AV and production lighting systems to comply with the Charcoalblue specification. In addition to the building-wide AV infrastructure and paging systems, the project covered The Sainsbury Theatre, The Carne Studio Theatre, the screen and audio suite, and the Sound Studios.

The AV system provides distribution of audio and video show relay signals to key offices and front of house areas. Paging is split into zones of signal distribution, with volume controls specifically designed for operation in each room. Dedicated paging microphones are provided which connect via the audio data infrastructure.

The AV system in the main Sainsbury Theatre is centred around the combined amplifier/dimmer room on the second floor. From the patchbays located in the equipment racks in this room it is possible to route audio, video, data, communications and loudspeaker lines to socket outlet boxes throughout the theatre. A phased-array induction loop is installed to provide assisted hearing aid listening.

Lighting for The Sainsbury Theatre is provided by 192 centralised dimmers and relays. Socket outlets from the dimmer racks is distributed in custom facility panels throughout the space. Marquee AV provided a comprehensive stage lighting control network in the theatre, as well as dedicated digital stage lighting DMX control tie-lines to each of the facility panels.

The AV infrastructure in The Carne Studio Theatre is a simple but flexible arrangement to suit the changing requirements of the space. All tie-lines originate in a single AV rack located in the backstage area, with distributed facilities at both floor and high level within the theatre. The philosophy between The Carne Studio Theatre and The Sainsbury Theatre is as similar as possible and, as such, a phased-array induction loop is installed to provide assisted hearing aid listening. The existing LAMDA stage management console was integrated within the infrastructure and video and audio show relay systems are provided along with appropriate processing and distribution

The screen and audio suite is provided with a power and data infrastructure to enable the use of stage lighting fixtures, to support events and live performances in this space. The infrastructure in the Sound Studios includes outlet boxes in each of the three studios and one in the main sound department, allowing audio, data and video connectivity. Tie-lines originate from a single AV rack in the main sound department room.

Marquee AV senior projects manager, Rob Whitaker, commented: “This has been one of the most interesting theatre projects we have worked on – in many ways more complex than a normal theatre installation. We achieved the results set out in the specification on time and budget.”

Rob Young, head of technical training at LAMDA, said: “The young people we train go on to shape the future of the dramatic arts and through these exciting new facilities we can ensure they have the very best preparation for successful and sustained careers in the industry.”

Picture: Richard Hubert Smith