Day Two - Sound Workshop

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When going to see any performance at any theatre, I perhaps naively believed that the actors are chosen, scripts are learnt and on opening night everything falls into place. Surely what else can there be? After all when Shakespeare was writing in the 16th century there was no such thing as electricity and fancy computers, so does technology really come into it?

During Tuesdays Taste of Theatre we spent time with the RSC's sound department in the auditorium. It was a huge privilege to think 24 others and myself were part of a unique group of people who were able to experience the use of 21st century sound in one of the countries largest and most modern theatres. After being given a small talk by the team we were broken into small groups and shown the large amount of kit that the sound department uses.

My group went to the main sound desk in the theatre, where I realised my earlier thoughts about technology not playing a major role in productions were totally unfounded!

The main sound desk is split into several large desks all with multi-coloured lights flashing rapidly. The team explained to us that you could control all speakers and microphones in the building from this one terminal. From here they mix and designed all of the sound affects for the coming production.

They have to program every speaker individually, to ensure echoing effects are reduced and sound from microphones gives the same affect throughout the whole theatre.

It is amazing to think how much of 21st century technology is used to create so many affects in theatre that was written almost 600 years ago! But viewing experiences would be totally different without the use of these amazing effects.

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Teaching Shakespeare