To facilitate students with a space for drama production and rehearsals, the Wimbledon campus of University of the Arts London has dedicated two large studio spaces to acting and performance. Currently undergoing a major site re-development, the Wimbledon college is set to be a world-class performance centre for summer 2022 with high-end rehearsal spaces now fitted with quality AV equipment, thanks to Flipside AV.
Previously built for a Print and Time-Based Media program, the Wimbledon studio spaces are spread across two floors. The downstairs space, being more enclosed, can split itself into two rooms for workshops and independent rehearsals, while the upstairs room provides an ideal performance hub the with sky light installations to let the room bring in natural light and air and church-like wood panels on the ceiling for acoustical balance.
Being simple, flexible enclosures; the acting and performance students at UAL have free range to use the rooms as they please. But with such diverse requirements comes a PA system needed to adapt and simultaneously connect the rooms together. “The team needed an infrastructure that could be used to do anything with any equipment they involved,” said James Cooper, managing director at Flipside.
“Their contractor did the initial specification designs which we then interpreted to our spec,” he added. “We added in a PA system split across two floors of studio space with main patch panels feeding out to lighting bar locations using fibre, DMX and Socapex cable extensions, all populated with Neutrik connectors – so a pretty technical project to work on.”
The studios have been recognised for their architectural intelligence and have the green standard for their sustainable design. The windows, blinds and lights across all levels are all automated meaning the rooms can allow as much light and air as they need. “They practically breathe on their own,” added Nigel Little, lighting and sound technician at Wimbledon College of Arts. “These are not the easiest space to work with, but they lend themselves to performance so naturally and we wanted to keep them as universal as possible and to host all different kinds of sessions in here. We just needed to add, lighting and patch points that connect both rooms together and Flipside knew exactly how to make that happen.”
A total of 6x Yamaha DZR10 Series Speakers have been installed across the spaces with a Denon DN-30X 6-Channel Mixer to connect all external devices and audio equipment between them. “James went above and beyond on this project,” said Little. “All the patching options for sound, video and fibreoptic now all tie lines in between and to have that interconnectivity is so useful for such two separate and diverse spaces – we can now patch sound in between the spaces as and when we need.”
The connectivity, via the Denon Channel Mixer, required a little bit of training which the UAL technician team soon picked up from Flipside. “It’s very simple and easy to control,” added Little. “This is extra beneficial for us because the students have learnt how to use it, meaning they can continue with their projects or rehearsals without any technical supervision.”
The first-floor studio has already been used as a backdrop for a student project based on the use of light in movement, material, and character development, captured in photography and film. Flipside has not only aided in the provided ease in configurability for student projects but has created the perfect AV infrastructure to breathe quality within its unique space – ready for the new term ahead.