UK seaside theatres standardize with Electro-Voice
Perched high on the cliffs overlooking one of the UK’s most famous seaside resorts, Southend’s Cliffs Pavilion Theatre has been kitted out with new Electro-Voice sound reinforcement systems by TED AV, commissioned by venue owner and operator HQ Theatres.
Its sister venue in Southend, the smaller Palace Theatre, went all-EV a couple of years ago, and with close collaboration and resource sharing between the two houses, there were considerable advantages in staying with the brand and its UK supplier Shuttlesound.
The Cliffs Pavilion is a receiving house, seating over 1,600 for a theatrical production, but with flexible set-up arrangements enabling 2,500 to be accommodated for live gigs. As one of the premier division of regional theatre venues, Cliffs Pavilion has to balance the needs of touring bands bringing in their own systems with the needs of visiting theatre productions, conferences, dinner-dance functions and awards ceremonies – the staple diet of the modern multi-functional performing arts center. TED AV’s solution was an installed house PA system using high-end Electro-Voice loudspeakers and amplifiers, which can also be patched into by any visiting artist.
Madness and The Prodigy among them, three-quarters of the acts that have come to the Cliffs Pavilion since the installation have tied into the new EV house system, making the most of the delays and rear clusters, and often leaving their own gear on the truck! The key to this easy-to-use functionality lies in an innocuous-looking laptop computer. Head of Sound Glenn Oxenbury explains:
“The system is run by IRIS-Net control and supervision software, and it was one of the main reasons for going down the Electro-Voice road. Shuttlesound’s engineers designed a password-based interface for us, which allows us several levels of control and to lock out unauthorized users. From the laptop, we can change the time delays or the EQ, we can system check and we can monitor all the boxes and carry out maintenance.”
Oxenbury explains that the IRIS-Net control is particularly helpful when it comes to a visiting company. “It facilitates the integration of their system with ours, and allows us to hand-over control without having to worry about the consequences! We can re-set the house system so easily, and many of our regular events are programmed-in. It’s a sharp contrast with our old arrangement, where we had to EQ everything every time.” Even the house fire alarm mutes the system more gently than before – electronically, via IRIS-Net.
TED AV has picked EV ZX5s, four cabinets of which are used in the main stalls cluster above the stage, and another three cabinets in a balcony cluster about mid-way from stage to the rear of the theatre. Phoenix PX2152 high-output 15” two-ways are installed on either side of the proscenium arch stage, two for main PA, two for the boxes, along with 8x Xsubs. A total of 20x Xi1082 compact full-range cabinets handle the balcony and under-balcony, supplemented by a few EVID C8.2 ceiling speakers. The EV spec is rounded-out with ten EV PX1152 stage monitors, powered by four EV CP2200s.
“The clarity is amazing,” says Glenn Oxenbury. “The acoustics in here are dictated by the all-wood interior, but the EV system provides plentiful control through delays, and we can always put it in a little extra where it’s needed. Visiting engineers find that really useful. This makes our job easier than it used to be, and something we can be really proud of.”