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The Sound Department
If you have a technical bent, or just an interest in the sonic aspects of putting on a show, then this may be the point of interest for you
There is a distinction between sound design and sound operation, so it is possible to operate sound during the week of a show (and a few rehearsals prior to that!) or to become involved with the director in deciding exactly what sound should be used and making up the appropriate CDs/mini-disks/tapes for use in the show
If you are interested in knowing more, then please contact the Garrick, either by phone on 0161 928 1677 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Sound Department
The following information about the Sound Department is taken from the ‘Garrick Theatre Handbook‘.
The second of the two technical departments is Sound. This department is also staffed by volunteers and the sound operator for any production is the person responsible for any music or sound effects required. Some productions have a small number of sound cues ? mainly music before the play starts and music to signify a scene change or end of an Act. However Garrick productions also include a pantomime with music and singing to a full blown musical with a live orchestra, so there are opportunities for anyone interested in sound operation at all levels. If you think you would like to be a sound operator, please speak to the stage director or anyone in the technical departments.
The Garrick sound system consists of a number of amplifiers and speakers all controlled from a mixing desk located in the control box. The sound operator for the production will liaise with the director to source any music tracks or sound effects required. We have a vast library of sound effects and can usually supply most things. For the pantomimes and any musical productions, there is usually the requirement for radio microphones to be worn by the cast in addition to microphones on the stage. Although we have a small stock of general purpose microphones, any radio microphones are hired in for the production. This is because this type of microphone is quite expensive and as the technology is changing quite quickly, by hiring, we are assured of getting modern and well maintained equipment to use.
The use of radio microphones is subject to certain licensing conditions imposed by OFCOM and as such we have to ensure we have the appropriate licence to use those frequencies. Failure to have the correct licence could result in the theatre being fined a significant sum. There are a small number of frequencies that can be used for radio microphones which do not require a licence, however, these are used by many other people and we tend not to use them for Garrick productions due to the possibilities of interference from these other users.
Although the sound system installed at the Garrick is capable of making a lot of noise, in normal operation the levels we play music or effects at is not a nuisance to our neighbours or a hazard to our staff and audiences. However, sometimes the theatre is hired out to other production companies for one ?night shows who may wish to increase the volume. There are statutory laws which govern levels of noise to prevent it causing damage to hearing over a prolonged time and in order to prevent any hearing damage, if staff or volunteers feel that the level is uncomfortable for them during these shows, they should make this known to the head of the sound department. If the level cannot be reduced then hearing protection (disposable earplugs) is available from the stage manager.
There are two other portions to the theatre sound system, the show relay and the loop system. The show relay consists of a microphone suspended above the stage and speakers in each of the dressing rooms so that anyone backstage and in each of the dressing rooms can hear what is happening on the stage. This system is switched on by the sound operator whenever the theatre sound system is in use.
The main auditorium is fitted with a loop system for members of the audience with hearing aids. Again this is switched on by the sound operator for performances.
View or download the handbook
For more information, please visit our Theatre Handbook page.