Extract from the Rehearsal Scrapbook in the 2008 production programme:
Having received the script, I generally look through and mark obvious points where a sound effect might be used and what it might be. Shakespeare is very good at letting you know what's required, and if you're not too sure, just read on a little and he usually gives up the reason.
The main answers come from the director describing the influences, style and period of the production, and from engaging with each artistic discipline. Some sound effects will be the result of a director's inspirational idea, some from a direct request, say for a bell striking twelve.
We try and record as many new sound effects as we can but if all else fails, the RSC has a huge library of effects to hand, both purchased and from previous shows.
As rehearsals progress we test out our ideas as we gain more and more knowledge about the production and how sound and music will interface to tell the story.
All RSC music is live - in this show the musicians are high up behind the mirror wall. When we get to technical rehearsals, the band and the sound operator join and we have at least one microphone on each instrument; they will be mixed live with the sound effects, and balanced against the actors' voices for each performance.
Written by Jeremy Dunn, Sound Designer