Wyvern Theatre, Swindon (UK)

Swindon Borough Council last year saw fit to give the Wyvern Theatre a £1.3 million refurbishment of its auditorium.
Andrew Hill, director of the theatre, elaborates: "Initially we thought we would only be shut down for a short period of time so we tried to keep our programme of shows going. We built a temporary theatre in a local sports hall and relocated all our shows there. However, it soon became apparent that the shut down would go on longer than originally expected and relocating shows would become unsustainable. However, on the positive side, Swindon Borough Council agreed that it would be more expedient to upgrade much of our technical equipment and infrastructure, whilst the rest of the auditorium was being gutted".
To that end, Swindon Borough Council contracted the services of a long-term supplier to the Wyvern, Stage Electrics. The company designed, installed and supplied the entire technical infrastructure and new equipment for the venue. Simon Kenning, business development manager for Stage Electrics, says: "The brief was to ensure that the scheme be as cost-effective as possible for the client, whilst improving and supporting the theatre's diverse and multifunctional role. Budget-wise this was a challenge. Whilst the overall budget for the refurbishment was £1.3 million, the lighting, sound, communications and cinema package only accounted for 25% of that."
Stage Electrics worked in close association with architects Peter Case, Mark Rose and Steve Nicholls of Technical Services Group, and Swindon Commercial Services at Swindon Borough Council. As with much regional theatre, tight budgets and limited resources means the building has to be as flexible as possible in its offering: to that end, the Wyvern Theatre is not just a theatre. It's a cinema, a live music venue and a comedy club. Stage Electrics maximized this flexibility by specifying and installing Ethernet communications for both the sound and lighting networked systems.
Further expanding the flexibility of the system, Stage Electrics specified an RCF PA system, which comprises a central cluster of four Acustica C5212L 500W mid/high cabinets, and left and right hangs of two Acustica C5212L 500W mid/high cabinets a side, each with an Acustica S8028 subwoofer below. There are also four Acustica C5212W 500W mid/high speakers for delay in the auditorium.
Kenning says: "RCF produce a fantastic product in the Acustica series. The cabinets can easily cope with all formats of show, which The Wyvern has to manage on a weekly basis. The versatility of the cabinet ensures a crisp and clean sound, whatever the requirement and application."
Kenning worked in close association with Greg Oliver at RCF UK to design the optimum audio solution, taking into account the wide range of audio demands of the theatre and the budget. Everything from spoken voice to live music, playback to musicals - each has different demands and in isolation each will use a different kind of PA system set up in a particular way. All paging FOH and back stage is run from an RCF system, control of which is integrated in the stage manager's desk (manufactured by Stage Electrics) and various other sites around the building.
Kenning says: "RCF is one of only a few loudspeaker manufacturers worldwide which completely manufactures transducers, speaker systems and amplification and control electronics. There is a lot of black box product around these days; sadly most of them are still bits-in-a-box packages containing off-the-shelf drivers in a ply box. RCF's Acustica product range is designed and built by RCF, from the drivers to the rigging options, to be part of a complete installation solution."
Greg Oliver, technical sales consultant for RCF elaborates: "Simon contacted me with a brief for a multiple-use sound system, which covered panto to touring bands and everything in between. After the initial site visit it was clear that we needed a fairly compact. The Acustica series was chosen as it allows for easy installation but also can achieve the SPL levels required for the venue's multifarious uses. Once Stage Electrics had installed them, I spent a day with Simon at the theatre testing the system and setting up the delays, and with very little room equalisation necessary, the system was ready for use."
© Lighting&Sound International / PLASA Media Ltd 2007
8 x Acustica C5212L 4 x Acustica C5215-W 2 x Acustica S8028 Subwoofer
5 x HC2000 4 x HC3200
1 x DX4008
The show relay system comprises:
2 x PR4092 1U rack mount mixers 1 x PD1066 Zone switcher with 5 x BM3067 microphones. 1 x SA2095 Rack control unit 1 x Flexa modular amplifier system made up of 1 x MF6000 Frame, 1 x PS6640 PSU, 3 x UP6241 Amplifier. 1 x MS1033 Single CD-Tuner and USB MP3 player. Configured to allow show relay feeds to dressing rooms, BGM to foyer, and 2 zone paging to front of house and dressing rooms.
PL81A's in the foyer area