Housed in its distinctive twin shells, Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay in Singapore is one of the world’s foremost arts centres. Just as its Opera House identifies Sydney to the outside world, so the unmistakable structure of the Esplanade places Singapore in the same league of globally renowned venues for the arts. Since opening in 2002 more than 18.5 million patrons have enjoyed more than 25,000 shows in state-of-the-art surroundings which rank amongst the finest in the world.
The technical complexities of regularly staging high-end, high-class international productions, as well as a host of smaller, intimate shows across five distinctly different spaces, are obviously demanding in the extreme. From opera to ballet; from full orchestral concerts to plays and recitals of all kinds, the stage-management requirements at the Esplanade are many, varied and pressurised in the extreme. Some years after its opening, the Esplanade’s head of sound, Robin Shuttleworth began to explore ways to improve this aspect of working-life across the venue. Now, GDS has been commissioned to supply five of its groundbreaking, bespoke Stage Manager’s Consoles to this Singapore icon.
The beauty of the GDS SM Console lies in its bespoke nature. Researched and developed with input from stage management professionals at every stage, the console was designed to be flexible and adaptable enough to respond to the precise requirements of any given performance space, providing its operator with the exact options she or he requires for the spectrum of productions to be managed. Each console is then constructed to meet those specific needs. The Esplanade presented the most demanding specifications GDS had ever encountered in respect of the two SM consoles that were supplied for the concert hall and theatre respectively. These two consoles were the largest and most sophisticated GDS have produced to date.
As well as an array of features chosen from the SM Console’s extensive range of existing options, a number of ‘firsts’ were built in, including height-adjustable bases and 32-inch HD-SDI display screens. Temperature and humidity displays to relay information from external sensors were also specified and constituted another first in GDS SM Console development.
Matt Lloyd, managing director of GDS observed that: “The five Stage Manager’s Consoles at the Esplanade are something of a representation of how GDS works. In a way they sum up much that defines us as a company. In developing our products the watchwords are creativity and innovation, alongside a lot of hard work and discussions with customers and consultants. We never stand still. Whatever the project, we like to think that we can always find a way to adapt, to develop and improve.”