Theatre of Marcellus at Emperors Palace

When Julius Caesar Augustus built the original Theatre of Marcellus at Emperors Palace, it was the largest and most important theatre in Ancient Rome. As an open-air theatre 13BCE, it provided an arena for locals and visitors to watch breathtaking performances of drama and song. Johannesburg’s modern-day version is no less impressive, accommodating a thousand theatregoers in a 17-tier auditorium.

The theatre recently completed a R6m transformation, including an audio system centred on a DiGiCo SD9 mixing console. ‘This is an exciting upgrade,’ admits DWR’s Jaco Beukes. ‘It gives the theatre 48 mic/line inputs, 16 line outputs and eight AES outputs on stage. At FOH, engineers have 40 local mic/line inputs, four AES inputs, four AES outs and 16 line outs.

DiGiCo SD9The DiGiCo SD9 is accompanied by a D2-Rack on stage, and a D-Rack at FOH with a Waves SoundGrid Server One. ‘Recording and playback is a breeze with the DiGiCo UB Madi in place, allowing anyone to record and playback up to 48 channels. To top off this amazing system, they also have access to Waves plug-ins, which is built into the console with the SoundGrid Server One handling all the processing.’

The theatre’s contracted in-house engineer is Ken Crossley, who has long been a fan of the DiGiCo brand: ‘I particularly enjoy the flow of the desk,’ he says. ‘And, having an analogue background myself, it has been quick and easy for me to find my way around the new console.’

More often than not, engineers have little time to find controls on an unfamiliar console. With DiGiCo, Crossley has found that everything he needs is where he expects to find it. Should anything feel uncomfortable, he creates a macro to bring it closer. The venue currently also runs monitors from FOH, making it more critical to have a desk that is laid out logically, with an effective and fast workflow.

‘To ensure we continued with the original spirit of this theatre, the SD9 was the obvious choice,’ says Robert Wilkie, the venue’s Technical Manager. ‘The decision was based on the ongoing support we received from DWR and because DiGiCo is so versatile, powerful and one of the most popular desks among top audio engineers worldwide.’

‘The significant renovations of recent times in the audio department guarantees that this world-class theatre will remain one of Gauteng’s finest for years to come,’ concludes DWR’s Kyle Robson. ‘Well done Emperors Palace, we are looking forward to many more spectacular shows.’

More: www.digico.org

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