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Britannia Row Productions at the London Evening Standard Awards

Britannia Row Productions at the London Evening Standard Awards

UK – As 2015 drew to a close, it was the turn of The Old Vic in London’s Lambeth to host the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards. This prestigious event, presented in partnership with the renowned West End restaurant, The Ivy, is an opportunity for the theatre community to recognise and applaud the best of the year’s productions and performances. Steering the ceremony was Rob Brydon just a month after starring in the theatre’s first production under its new director Matthew Warchus. He was ably assisted by co-hosts Dame Judi Dench and Sir Ian McKellen along with the Evening Standard’s dynamic owner, Evgeny Lebedev.

Production for the event was arranged by Mr Beautiful City and technical director, Jaie Genadt who called in Britannia Row Productions to handle the complex audio requirements for the show. Britrow’s Tom Brown was client liaison manager: “There were a number of factors that were always going to make this a challenging job. Despite its refurbishments over the years, the theatre is still essentially designed, quite beautifully, as a classic 19th century venue with all the associated issues when bringing in a 21st century audio system for a single event. However, we have a long and fruitful association with Jaie and he was happy and confident for us to design a system that would sound great without being overly intrusive.

“Aside from the main speaker hangs of L-Acoustics Kiva elements flown in two hangs, along with L-Acoustics SB15m sub bass in separate hangs of a single cabinet left and right, we used 108Ps for the front fill and separately flown systems of 108Ps and 112Ps for the Dress and Bailiff’s Circles. An L-Acoustics 108P system for the Foyer was also installed; there was a full orchestra playing behind a gauze upstage of the hosts and award recipients as well as Playback; a Yamaha MSP5 monitor system along with a Sennheiser G3/2000 IEM system; a live feed to BBC Radio 2 and, arguably most significant, our new Clearcom Comms system, FreeSpeak II.

“As veterans of such complex events, I and my crew, Chris Bayley (FoH), Sergiy Zhytnikov (systems), Sapna Patel (RF/comms) and Paul Gardiner (stage) are fully aware that reliable and clear communications are key to the success of such complicated events where almost every second of the evening is driven by communication between performers, guests, musicians and technicians. Any breakdown is a recipe for disaster. The FreeSpeak II has, without doubt, improved the service we are able to offer clients. It is a wireless system that is specifically designed to operate seamlessly in environments where extensive communication is vital; we can use to up fifty beltpacks at a time without loss of clarity or reception.”

The complexity of the sound design was matched in equal measure by the logistics of the load-in. “We had a very tight overnight window for load-in and set-up,” continues Brown. “The party bar was located at the furthest upstage section of the actual stage, with the orchestra downstage of that with a gauze between them and the active area of the stage which had been extended to accommodate everything. So rigging all the little hangs of fills as well as the FoH arrays as well as the intricacy of the on stage set up with the live Radio 2 feed was a pretty delicate operation with no room for error. To that end we made sure that we had enough crew of the right calibre to ensure everything ran smoothly. In addition to our show crew, Eiran Simpson headed up the overnight crew of Dakota Crouch, Sam King and Zoltan Pauli – just as important an ingredient to the end result as the show crew.”

“As always, Britannia Row Productions went that extra mile to ensure the event ran without a hitch,” concludes Genadt. “The quality of their hardware combined with the professionalism of the crew and the attention to every detail in pre-production planning that comes from decades of experience all combine to produce a seamless evening of audio excellence.”

photo: Anna Valley

3rd February 2016

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