The Station is a new partnership project aimed at delivering a world-class, 32,000 sq ft facility for all young people in Bristol.
Fronted by Creative Youth Network, and based in a former city centre fire station — which at various times has functioned as a café bar and nightclub — the technical infrastructure was created by Stage Electrics, who leaned heavily towards RCF’s Acustica speaker series when specifying the multi-functional main performance space.
Anne Pengelly, Stage Electrics Business Development Manager (Technical), says that RCF is increasingly becoming her ‘go to’ brand when it comes to loudspeaker specification. “I am always keen to bring RCF to clients’ attention, particularly Acustica; once they have experienced a demo they are generally convinced.”
Realising that the main 500-capacity Multi Use Room needed to function variously as a live performance stage, a conference and presentation facility and a 7.1 surround cinema system, the RCF solution, she says, was staring her in the face.
“The biggest requirement was clearly flexibility,” said Pengelly. “We had provided a similar Acustica installation in a 200 seat theatre in a school in Cornwall. The result was spectacular — and the audio quality of the RCF PA exceeded all expectations so we didn't need to look beyond that.”
Under the direction of Stage Electrics project manager Richard Coombes, the ground floor Kitchen, Chill Out room, rehearsal/recording room and ballet / dance studio on the top floor were all sensitively equipped, with a close eye on the budget.
Again RCF ticked all the boxes. Four of the new RCF Acustica C5212-94 full range narrow dispersion enclosures are flown in pairs left and right above the Prolyte StageDex stage, with a pair of Acustica C3110 grid-mounted at the mid point and a further pair at the rear. These either form the surround when in 7.1 cinema mode or act as delays when the BSS London BLU DSP gain preset flips to conventional stage mode.
At the stage end a pair of Acustica S8018 subs are floor mounted left and right, and four RCF NX12SMA powered wedges provide artistes with their reference sound.
A perfect set-up then for Tinchy Stryder, who appeared to a packed audience on a gala opening weekend that was also attended by David Milliband.
Elsewhere a pair of powered RCF ART310-A form part of a portable kit on tripods, that is capable of moving around the three floors, while a further pair of ART310-A’s are fixed in the band practice room — and four passive ART 310’s are mounted on the four corners of the Dance Studio.
But RCF’s involvement doesn't end there. Stage Electrics designed the venue into five paging and show relay zones — three backstage areas and two at front of house. Showing the versatility of its portfolio, from its Commercial range RCF has also provided 12 tiny DM41 white background/paging speakers, which are distributed around the venue.
Richard Coombes has overseen a highly progressive install, with all projection (onto 6m electric dropdown screen) and digital audio run over CAT5 — with plenty of tie-lines and facility panels provided, so that live events can be recorded upstairs and on spec acoustic performances can take place in, for example, The Kitchen refectory area.
Sensitive to the budget they have also provided leading branded video projection, lanterns and moving lights from ex hire stock and provided a full day’s PASMA (access tower training) course as part of a package that includes comms, staging, curtain track, wireless mics, environmental and production lighting control and dimming.
All of which should be more than satisfactory for Creative Youth Network and its Chief Executive, Sandy Hore-Ruthven, who stated, “Stage Electrics have helped make The Station a first class venue for young people in Bristol. Their expertise, project management and support took Creative Youth Network from an idea with no knowledge to a fully functioning venue that is inspiring young people across the city.”
But the final word on the RCF sound system comes from Programme Director, James Hutchinson, who confirmed, “The [RCF] system will be suitable for all of the events taking place in this venue.”
Key partners of The Station include: Bristol City Council, Young Bristol, Business West, Brook, Basement Studios & Bristol YMCA. The Station is partly funded by the myplace scheme: a multi-million pound government programme to deliver world class places for young people to go.
More details available on www.thestationbristol.org.uk