Opened in 1963 and funded by the Clark Foundation, the 343 seat theatre and cinema is a part of Strode College at Street, near Glastonbury. Acting both as a key community and educational resource, the theatre promotes a mixed programme of live professional and amateur stage productions, as well as mainstream and arthouse films alongside live and recorded transmissions of opera, ballet and theatre.
As a senior member of staff, Harvey was on hand while Dominic Sandford – the theatre’s technician and projectionist – explained how the new audio system came to be installed.
“The theatre’s audio system needed completely updating, so we made a big plan to upgrade it all,” says Dominic. “Supported by the Friends of Strode Theatre, the first phase was to replace the loudspeaker system. We had worked with Nexo PS15s before and really liked them so, after talking to Yamaha’s Karl Christmas at PLASA London, he suggested looking at a full Nexo solution.”
Choosing a system comprising a pair of Nexo GEO S1230s and two RS15 subs, with a pair of PS10s for balcony fills, powered by an NXamp 4×4, the new loudspeakers made a significant difference to the house sound, so attention turned next to replacing the analogue mixing console.
“We had a Yamaha CL5 lent to us and took to it straight away. It made the transition from analogue to digital very straightforward and I got to grips with it easily. I had used a Yamaha 02R previously and knew how reliable the consoles are, so we invested in our own CL5 and a Rio3224-D i/o unit,” says Dominic.
As part of Strode College, the theatre plays an important educational role, with students learning both technical and performing skills. The CL5’s ease of use means that students can be taught to use the desk and mix college productions. “It’s been a great tool for teaching them how live mixing works, giving them hands-on experience and keeping them in touch with the latest ‘real world’ theatre technology,” says Dominic.
He continues, “As well as that, it’s really important to make the audience experience as good as possible in a community theatre like this and the audience here has really benefited from the improvement in sound quality.
“Sound can be a pretty thankless task – people will complain about bad sound very quickly, but they rarely compliment you on good sound. But once the new system went in, from the outset people were asking why it sounded so good. We have a lot of regular visitors and they were coming up to us saying ‘Crikey, what have you done to the sound?’”
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