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The challenge

Northwich is a town in the heart of Cheshire. Cheshire West and Chester Council had ambitious plans for redevelopment and demolished their aging theatre and Magistrates Court to build a state-of-the-art gym, leisure and entertainment centre which would be a vital hub within the community.

The solution

Torpedo Factory Group, an audio visual and stage technology specialists installed the stage, sound and lighting systems.

The theatre includes seating for an audience of up to 500. The fixed proscenium is 10.5m wide by 6m high, with a stage height of 1m. The stage is 18m wide by 7.5m deep.

The stage is equipped with a technical gallery on the prompt side. On this gallery there are 5 off 350kg manual pile-wind winch sets, which can be driven by a hand-held 230v drive unit. There are also 13 off 100kg hemp sets. Over-stage lighting bars are plugged up to this gallery.

Stage lighting is comprised of 120 ways of dimmers, any of which can be switched to non-dim use. These are ETC SmartPack ThruPowerSwitch units. The lighting console is an Avolites Tiger Touch ProII, but any console can be used depending on the type of production. 2 universes of DMX are provided.

There are 3 FOH lighting bars plus 2 vertical side booms. Over-stage there are 4 lighting bars plus 2 vertical perch booms.

A Personus Studio Live 24-4-2 digital mixer is installed with three Tannoy Clusters (left, right and centre) plus more Tannoys providing some fill to the rear of the auditorium. Tannoy Subs are provided plus Tannoys for on-stage fold back. The power for the Tannoys is supplied courtesy of Lab.Gruppen 4 channel power amps with control via an open architecture DSP, Solous 16. The Subs are built, flush, into the proscenium walls at auditorium floor level.

The tab track with velour tabs is electrically operated with a velour valance, and on-stage blacks in black wool serge, plus a cyclorama cloth. Other tracks are provided for cloths/gauzes/borders which can be loaded from the technical gallery.

A communications system is provided to the usual positions, plus show relay to back-stage, with calls facility.

The demountable Cameo staging was also installed by the Torpedo Factory Group. Decks are 2m by 1 metr plus two step units. These can be used to form an apron to the front of the stage, a runway into the auditorium, or risers on-stage. When the decks are stacked they can be rolled, for storage, on castors under the stage through doors in the front edge of the stage.

The rear third of the auditorium can be partitioned off to create the conference hall but leaving the theatre with a smaller auditorium. Both spaces can have independent lighting and sound, with a projector and roll down screen to each space. There is a second hall with sound and projection installed by the Torpedo Factory Group and they also equipped the dance and fitness studio with sound and projection.

The benefits

Cheshire West and Chester Council are delighted with the results. They have a state-of-the-art theatre which has revitalised the local economy. With shows, comedy nights, live music, conventions and private hires and a town centre location the theatre is a hit with locals and the community.

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