I was asked to Sound Design Romeo & Juliet at Stafford Castle for The Gatehouse Theatre’s 30th Year of producing a Shakespear play at the Castle. I’l take you through some of the design decisions in this post and give you an insight into the system setup and some of the challenges we faced. This was also my first ever Shakespear!
Sound Design Work
Burke & Hare
Ladies of Letters
I was Sound Designer for The Red Tree. A Live streamed theatre show devised by Red Earth Theatre streamed to hundreds of schools across the country. BSL was the main language used in the production, along with some singing. The show was devised from a picture book by the same name. As it was streamed, the whole case was mic’d as were the instruments.
After an extra year of beauty sleep, the Derby Arena pantomime is back with a bang!
I Sound Designed Jack and the Beanstalk at the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich. It’s a wirlwind of a show with integrated video elements and live actor musicians singing and playing the songs.
1910. Balliol College. Dangerous rifts are appearing between the ‘have’ and the ‘have-nots’. Of the fifty-three freshers who went up some four years earlier, eighteen had been to Eton. In an increasingly personalised and bitter feud, will social influence and wealth prevail over those dedicated to improving the lives of the poor and hungry on the back streets of Oxford? And when facing far greater adversary will vicious personal differences be put aside in the face of a common enemy? Continue reading
Celebrating the 40th anniversary of Ipswich Town Football Club’s UEFA Cup win in 1981, the New Wolsey Theatre presents a brand-new musical – Never Lost at Home.
An Actor Musician Musical with Click track, Live music, Timed video and surround sound effects. Every show Live Streamed to audiences at home.
Shure Axient, Yamaha CL5, Redundant Playback Systems from Crosslight & Sound Hire.
I Sound Designed The Snow Queen for the Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich in 2020. We managed to produce and perform the show inbetween local lockdowns during the Covid-19 Pandemic both to an audience in the theatre, and live streamed every show to an audience at home and around the world.
To minimise contact between the ‘actors bubble’ and a ‘crew bubble’ we double mic’d the cast and ensured rehearsals were carefully managed with respect to distaning between bubbles. When it came to mixing the show, we had two separate consoles – one mixing in the room and monitors, and one mixing the live stream.
The show is a new ‘blended’ style of performance with live and recorded elements being shown along with live music from Actor Musicians playing along with a click track – something the Rock’n’Roll Pantos haven’t done before.
Writer & Director: Peter Rowe
Musical Director: Ben Goddard
Choreographer: Francesca Jaynes
Lighting Designer: David Phillips
Sound Designer: James Cook
Video Designer: Peter Hazelwood
During lockdown, we decided to try and create something that was a slightly different take on the traditional Audiobook by adding 3D Specialised sound. This works by simulating how our ears receive and process sound to work out its directional properties. By modelling this process, you are able to place sounds around a listeners head, creating a virtual world. Couple this with a story, and you get an enhanced Audiobook. The first few we’ve done are aimed at Kids, cause it’s fun to surround your head with farm animals and birds chirping in a Forrest!
Check them out at 3daudiobooks.co.uk
Sound Engineer for An Evening of Marvin Gaye produced by Dont Stop The Beat Productions. Playing a number of theatres across the country.
A Broadway and West End hit musical that’s a ravishing love story with a bittersweet difference, Once casts a spell over the audience just as its two lead characters cast a spell over each other.
I am Sound Designer for Once UK Tour 2020. It is a re-mount of the previously successful co-production the Wolsey & Hornchurch produced a few years ago. Some slight upgrades to the Sound Design were done to ensure a suitable package was able to be toured to the wide variety of venues it is visiting. The main one being the first UK theatre tour to use a Yamaha PM10 in theatre mode.
Thanks must go to the entire sound team on the tour, as well as the proddys that helped prep the show for us. Kit was provided by Orbital.
- PETER ROWE – Director
- LIBBY WATSON – Designer
- BEN GODDARD – Musical Supervisor
- FRANCESCA JAYNES – Choreographer
- MARK DYMOCK – Lighting Designer
- JAMES COOK – Sound Designer
- DEBBIE O’BRIEN – Casting Director
- Producers – ADAM SPIEGEL PRODUCTIONSTHE NEW WOLSEY THEATREIPSWICH QUEEN’S THEATRE, HORNCHURCH
I have been a Sound Engineer for The Daisy Chains for over a year now, mixing them up and down the country in venues ranging from theatres to marquees, festivals to crypts. The are a six piece all girl 60’s Rock n Roll outfit.
I was Sound Designer for the New Wolsey Theatre’s Panto – Aladdin.
Written by Pete Rowe
Directed by Kate Golledge
Designed by Rebecca Brower
Choreographed by Darragh O’Leary
Musical Director Barnaby Southgate
Lighting design by Richard G Jones
Sound Design by James Cook
Production photographs taken by Mike Kwasniak
I was sound designer for the Wolsey Theatre and Nuffield Southampton Theatre’s actor musician slant on the popular One Man Two Guvnors. Director: Pete Rowe, Design: Libby, MD: Ben Goddard, LX: Mark Dymock
Book By Richard Bean
Based on The Servant of Two Masters by Carl Goldoni
with songs by Grant Olding
Set in the colourful underworld of Brighton in the swinging sixties. Richard Bean’s riotous farce mixes all the elements of classic comedy into a fizzing cocktail of fun. Mistaken identity, cross-dressing, physical knockabout, slapstick, mad gags and outrageous puns are shaken and stirred as Francis Henshall, cast out of his skiffle band, finds the best route to satisfy his considerable appetites for food, sex and money, to become One Man serving Two Guvnors.
This joyous updating of Goldoni’s classic Italian comedy from the 18th century, The Servant of Two Masters, has quickly established itself as one of the great British comedies of the 21st Century.
I was Sound Designer for BYMT’s The Dickens Girls. With a band of 6 lead by Oli Jackson, the cast performed the musical with just one week rehearsal!
Winner of the BYMT New Music Theatre Award 2019
The Addams Family – Sound Design. Opp: Shaun Emmerson.
Little Shop of Horrors performed at the Plesance theatre in Islington for London Studio Center's Seedtime company. I sound designed with Peter Hazelwood as Sound #2. Lighting design by David Phillips.
I was Sound Designer for Grandma saves the day! An actor-musician jukebox style 80’s musical based in Ipswich.
It’s Ipswich in the late 1980’s and the Giles family are thrown into confusion when the upwardly mobile Stinkletons move in next door. It takes Grandma Giles to sort it all out with a few swift blows from her brolly and her familiar battle cry – ‘Gertcha!’.
Combining the much loved Giles cartoon characters with classic hit songs from the eighties including Our House, Simply the Best, Wake Me Up Before You Go- Go and many more, all played live by our multi-talented company of actor-musicians, this is a fast-moving, funny and pop filled comic strip for all the family.
I was nominated for an award at The Great British Pantomime awards 2019 and won Best Sound Design!
A Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch and New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich production. Script by Amanda Whittington. Directed by Kirstie Davis, Designer Jess Curtis, Lighting Designer Mark Dymock, Sound Designer James Cook, Choreographer Lucie Pankhurst.
Three young couples are striving for glory on the competitive dance circuit – having finally made it to Blackpool’s National Amateur Championships via the motorway hard shoulder.
But there’s pain and heartbreak beneath the dazzling glitter ball when you’re dancing to other people’s tunes and hiding secrets. And with the world at your feet, it only takes one false step…
This bittersweet comedy reveals the backstage stories behind the fabulous frocks, fixed smiles and fake tan, looking at the real lives of those for whom dancing is everything.
I Sound designed Jack And The Beanstalk for Little Wolf Entertainment at Derby Arena. This involved complete system design, sourcing sound effects, and crafting the overall sound of the show. Some pics on the read more..
I was Sound Designer for Once the Musical produced by the New Wolsey Theatre along with Queens Theatre. Once is a well known modern musical performed by actor-musicians. This brings it’s own challenges with every actor needing to be mic’d along with all of their instruments. The show is a very delicate mix, intentionally sounding acoustic; as soon as anything sounds amplified, you’ve lost the intimacy of the show.
I employed MKE2 capsules on all of the cast. The majority of the instruments also have MKE2 capsules on them, with all of the guitars using their internal pickups. All in, a total of 30 channels of wireless.
Along with the QL5 doing all of the mixing work on the show, there is a MRX7D doing matrixing and delays for multiple groups from the console; enabling a few different options for vocals and instruments to be processed.
I was Sound Designer and Sound #1 for Seedtime 2018’s Legally Blonde from London Studio Centre. An intensive tech period lead to two casts of about 40 students performing over 2 weeks. Continue reading
The Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich created a piece of theatre to commemorate Ipswich Town FC’s FA Cup win in 1978. The piece followed the storylines of different families on the lead up to the FA Cup win including all of the games in the tournament. A band of actor musicians were used as a soundtrack for the dance sequences that interpreted the different matches.
The sound design encompassed loud lively music, along with dialogue interwoven with the action in the matches. A tricky balance to strike. Along with this, the recording and edit of a voiceover for the commentator throughout the show was needed.
I was Sound designer for Fingersmith’s touring production of Up n Under. We incorporated live Audio Description from an actor on the stage, and used creative captions throughout the show. We toured an audio description kit for audience members needing to use it to access the show. The sound design consisted of on stage toured speakers and venue’s systems. The abstract set meant that sound was used to try and create a sense of where the scene was set. This also worked for blind members of the audience; enhancing the experience.
Here is a video of the dream sequence in the show. Adam was signing the dream he was having before a big match in the play. All of the voiceover was pre-recorded, and sound was used to set the scene and take you on a journey as he signed. It was tricky lining up the recorded audio with what was being signed. He can’t slow down his signing as he can’t hear the the track – but he was very consistent in his timings, which worked for the show!
I was Sound Designer for Queens Theatre Hornchurch’s production of Beauty & The Beast 2017. Working with a wonderful creative team including Director Martin Berry, Designer Keith Orton, Lighting Designer Prema Mehta, Musical Director Dan de Cruz, Choreographer Sundeep Kent.
I Designed the sound for the world premier of Oxy & The Morons at the Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich.
A Brand New Punk Musical
By Paul Sirett, Mike Peters & Steve Allan Jones
I was Sound Engineer for the tour of Anita & Me 2017. Continue reading
I was involved with a number of high profile events and private parties. Continue reading
I was Production Sound Engineer for the Wolsey Theatre’s Rock & Roll Panto. This involved Prepping hired equipment, installing the show and assisting with the tech both programming and design.
I was Sound #1 on Jackie the Musical UK Tour 2016, working alongside George Chatburn as #2, Simon King as Production Engineer, and Bobby Aitken as Sound Designer.
I was Sound Engineer on the Wolsey Theatre’s production of The Sword in the Stone this year. I programmed and opped the CL3 throughout the run. All the cast were on headmics which aided with the underscore on the intro on the majority of the songs. As usual, handhelds were used for the songs.
Working with Greenspark Productions, I was Sound Engineer for a conference, awards and entertainment show in Brighton. The set was a 1 1/2 day build, and a 3 hour getout. I used the LS9 with a stagebox to mix the 10 ways of RF, and the entertainment in the evening. Which included Andreas Faustini off of Xfactor, and a team from Priscilla the musical.
I was the Sound Engineer when Jo Harman played at the Wolsey Theatre. She had a great 4 piece band accompanying her.
The Wolsey Theatre put on their biggest musical yet with 17 talented Actor/Musicians, over 40 instruments and an array of LED video wall. Continue reading
The Gallery Players put on a great production of Hairspray. Sound designer was Simon Deacon from Crosslight & Sound. I was on hand to help with the sound design in the relatively small amount of time there was to mix the show.
Working with the beans at Greenspark, I was Sound Engineer for Hines’ European Conference. 10 ways of RF and various playback sources from the video team.