The Brit School for Performing Arts & Technology provides pupils with a grounding in the performing arts and the technology surrounding them. To this end, one of its latest investments is the DiGiCo SD12 consoles chosen – ‘chosen because they offer a platform that not only makes sense for the range and requirements of the school’s performances, but also because they offer the most relevant experience for students that will soon be looking for a job in the industry,’ according to Technical Manager Andrew Smith.

Brit School Located in Croydon, South London, The Brit School is a state-funded school for ages 14 to 18 and is dedicated to ‘Education and vocational training for the performing arts, media, art and design, and the technologies that make performance possible’, as well as providing a core GCSE study programme. It boasts a list of highly successful alumni, and lays claim to 99 per cent of graduating students going on to find work in the creative industries or enrolling in higher education.

‘A really high proportion of students go directly into the industry as riggers, sound engineers and lighting programmers and controllers, all the way through to people taking their study further – maybe at one of the well-known universities operating in our field,’ Smith says. ‘We’re proud of that. We are energised by making sure that people have an awareness of the industry and that they can make a career.’

A major emphasis for the course is real-world production practice, with students from the Production Arts course providing lighting and sound requirements for its own productions. The intensity of the School’s performance programme was one of the driving factors that lead to a search for new consoles.

‘We have performances going on simultaneously in multiple venues, including our two fully-equipped theatres - the Obie Theatre (named after the late music exec Maurice Oberstein) and the BRIT Theatre,’ explains Andrew. ‘Making a further investment DiGiCo SD consoles made absolute sense. We purchased two SD12s, which means we can train students on a tool that will allow them to work in a broad range of genres.

The consoles were supplied and installed by HD Pro Audio, which has worked with the school since its inception in 1991. Sales Director Andy Huffer notes that the SD12 is particularly suited to its wide-ranging production and learning requirements.

‘The School already had a number of SD consoles, so it was familiar with the technology,’ he says. ‘The SD12 is a fantastic all-rounder, suitable for both bands and theatre work and will mean that graduating students are already familiar with the popular DiGiCo platform when go out into the industry.’

‘In the music industry, the SD Range is very much at the top of the tree,’ Smith adds. ‘It’s the same in musical theatre where we see large-scale consoles coming into play. Teaching on them is great, because students know they’re a piece of kit they have to get their heads around if they are going to work in the industry, and that means they progress rapidly.’

The integrated USB recording interface on the SD12 is also a key learning tool for the school. ‘If you’ve never engineered before, you can do prior training, but actually doing it for real is where you learn the skill of the quick decision making that’s needed,’ Smith says. ‘Then, in a calmer environment, you can analyse what you’ve done and improve on it. Outside the live performances we can use those recordings to give students a safe environment for learning to engineer.

‘We’re passionate about the creative and performing arts. We have industry professionals involved at every level and we want to make opportunities for young people in an industry we love. Being able to have relevant equipment, such as the SD12, is a key part of that.’

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