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K-array creeps into UK theatres

The venues in Bristol and Glasgow were looking for a discrete system

The King’s Theatre Glasgow and the Bristol Hippodrome recently installed K-array loudspeaker systems.

Head of technical operations Stuart Graham, from Ambassador Theatre Group which owns the venues, turned to Stage Electrics to install a house system, where he was given a demo of the K-array KP102 systems.

“I was blown away by it, mainly by the clarity at distance and the punch you get for such a little box, but also the consistency of top vocal all the way. Add to that the size of K-array cabinets and the fact that we’re in listed buildings with narrow prosceniums and not particularly great rigging positions, we needed something that could bolt to the wall and stay there, but leave the rigging points free for touring productions to bring in their own PA,” he says.

Peter Tovey, technical manager at Bristol Hippodrome (pictured above) says that as long as he can remember Bristol hasn’t had a sound system.

“The touring musicals that come in tend to bring their own equipment. They want to use their kit. And because for around 45 weeks of the year, our product is larger scale musicals, it’s always been felt that having a sound system would get in the way; we’d spend more time taking it down and putting it in storage to put in the big shows than we would actually using it. But we do also have around 20 nights a year of one night concerts, tribute acts, comedians, that kind of thing, that need a smaller scale system. Perhaps half those tour a system, although they’re happy to leave that on a truck and use the house system, and about half of them don’t,” he explains.

Previously, the Bristol Hippodrome used to have to contact local companies to hire in a system for those times, comments Tovey. “That’s frustrating, because it makes us a slightly less attractive venue than one where you turn up and there’s a system already in place.”

Tovey adds: “The way (the systems) been installed, not only is it out of the way of the touring systems, but it’s positioned so that even when a line array is hung from the usual rigging points, it’s not obscured by them, so it still works whatever is in front of it.”

“It shoots out to the back of the balcony and underneath the shelf of the upper circle, which I was a little bit worried about. We’ve done a couple of shows with it and it’s worked very well.”