The Amata performing arts hub within Falmouth University in the UK partnered with the Pleasance Theatre Trust to provide a satellite venue for the Edinburgh Fringe 2021, presenting a digital showcase as part of the Pleasance’s Edinburgh programme. Emulating the success of live streams by the National Theatre and the Royal Opera House, Amata transformed its largest studio into a partial TV studio format so that the shows could not only be performed live, but also live-streamed.

As the sound of each performance had to double up for both show sound and broadcast, Sennheiser Digital 6000 was chosen to take on the job. ‘Amata’s initial live-streamed performances took place in the 2021 spring season and we wanted to build on that success,’ says Collin Chivers, Director of Broadcast Ed festival Amata, Falmouth University. ‘As the plans for the Edinburgh Fringe were being developed, it was clear that live streaming was going to be a big part of their 2021 offer. Amata approached the Pleasance Theatre Trust, who had also been developing live-streamed shows during the pandemic, and the Edinburgh Fringe Digital Showcase was born.’

With financial support from Arts Council England, this enabled Amata to work with six companies to develop their work for online audiences. Having experience of working on a similar programme in 2020 and 2021, live-streaming theatre and music performances from the Amata studios, the team was well prepared.

Coppice Theatre cast performing on stage at Amata’s at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2021 Digital Showcase (Pic: Josh Hooker)

‘In fact, our Technical Producer has worked on the live-streams for the National Theatre, and the Director of Broadcast has also worked on the live-streams for the Royal Opera House. Both now live in Cornwall and work for Falmouth University and Amata,’ Chivers says.

One show was held each week in the first two weeks, followed by two shows per week for the remaining two weeks over the month of the festival. ‘This was because, as part of the scope of the project, we invited companies that had never been involved in a live-streaming event before,’ Chivers explains. ‘It involved a lot of rehearsals for in order to adapt the shows to a live-streaming format while maintaining the “live” stage essence, given that they were performed in front of a socially distanced audience of around 26 people.’

From a technical perspective, on average the team had six cameras involved with each production as well as the sound, video and lighting required for each show. ‘The lighting, video mixing and sound control were all done in front of the audience, which made for an incredibly interesting and interactive environment for audience and performers,’ Chivers says.

As the sound had to serve both show sound the broadcast, the team chose a versatile system able to cope with specs that changed depending on each show. Additionally, at the end of each performance there was a Q&A session with the actors and directors involving both live and online audiences across different platforms.

‘This required an incredibly quick changeover of sound from that of the show. Sennheiser’s D6000 system was the perfect solution to these diverse requirements with its incredibly quick setup time, ease of use, the ability to program the transmitters on the fly and, most important of all, its really clean sound,’ says Chivers.

Chivers also notes the importance of being able to receive guidance from a industry-leading audio specialist like Sennheiser, especially in a university where the student contact and learning experience can be very beneficial for both the company and student.

‘From the first time I called Kevin about our project and the possibility of Sennheiser being involved, he and the guys at Sennheiser were incredibly supportive. We were not sure at first if the D6000 system was the correct system for us, as we thought that we may need a larger number of channels and mic swapping to overcome some of the problems that we faced. But after speaking with Kevin, we were convinced it would work for us, and he even took the time to do an ad-hoc training session with our second-year technical students over the course of the day, which they really enjoyed.’

Amata runs a two-year accelerated (Hon) degree in Technical Theatre Arts, which means that it is also taught in the summer months, so the students were available to participate in the project. Other students came from the School of Film & Television (SOFT), which offered a unique experience of mixing groups of students from different environments and giving them first-hand experience of the differences between the two art forms, ‘not just in light of the technology, but also of performance art’, Chivers observes.

‘Live-streaming of theatre is not just about following a performance, nor is it about a performance for film. It is a collaboration of two art forms that brings a unique perspective of interactivity between live and on-line audiences. When directed with this in mind, it can produce a new vibrant art form that I hope the theatre industry will continue to explore and expand,’ he adds.

Chivers is insistent in the importance of the use of Digital 6000 was in the overall success of the event: ‘Quite simply, it meant everything – from making changeovers faster and simpler to reducing the number of channels and increasing the production values, exceeding expectations in the quality of the sound.

‘I know the D6000 systems are very popular and now I see why. Without such a system during this project we would have not had time for our coffee in the morning.’

TwitterGoogle BookmarksRedditLinkedIn Pin It

Fast News

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 21
  • 22
  • 23
  • 24
  • 25
  • 26
  • 27
  • 28
  • 29
  • 30
  • 31
  • 32
  • 33
  • 34
  • 35
  • 36
  • 37
  • 38
  • 39
  • 40
  • 41
  • 42
  • 43
  • 44
  • 45
  • 46
  • 47
  • 48
  • 49
  • 50
  • 51
  • 52
  • 53
  • 54
  • 55
  • 56
  • 57
  • 58
  • 59
  • 60
  • 61
  • 62
  • 63
  • 64
  • 65
  • 66
  • 67
  • 68
  • 69
  • 70
  • 71
  • 72
  • 73
  • 74
  • 75
  • 76
  • 77
  • 78
  • 79
  • 80
  • 81
  • 82
  • 83
  • 84
  • 85
  • 86
  • 87
  • 88
  • 89
  • 90
  • 91
  • 92
  • 93
  • 94
  • 95
  • 96
  • 97
  • 98
  • 99
  • 100 An independent news site and blog for professional audio and related businesses, provides a platform for discussion and information exchange in one of the world's fastest-moving technology-based industries.
Fast Touch:
Author: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Fast Thinking:Marketing:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Web: Latitude Hosting