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Sydney Theatre Company Reopens With New Audio System

Sydney Theatre Company reopened its home venue, The Wharf, this past February following renovations that included a new Meyer Sound system.

Sydney Theatre Company installed a new Meyer Sound-based audio system.
Sydney Theatre Company installed a new Meyer Sound-based audio system. Brett Boardman Photography

Sydney, Australia (May 19, 2021)—Theaters around the world have been closed over the last year, but fortunately for Australia’s Sydney Theatre Company (STC), it was a planned event—the group’s home venue, The Wharf, closed for two-years for a complete renovation, reopening this past February. Key to the project was the installation of 32 new Meyer Sound loudspeakers, drawn mostly from the company’s ULTRA-X series.

The system implements Spacemap Go, allowing productions to use dynamic spatial effects provided by the new technology based on the GALAXY Network Platform utilizing Milan and a new iPad user interface.

A LYON in The Living Room

For the theatre’s sound & video manager, Ben Lightowlers, selection of the right solution was critical, so the venue chose to retain complete control of the PA budget, from specification all the way through to installation. The Spacemap Go system allows the audio to be reconfigured to accommodate the 420-seat Wharf 1 Theatre’s different seating configurations, including end-on, L-shape and in-the-round as well as sound effect source locations specific to a particular production. Systems were supplied by Soundcorp, a Diversified Company.

“When Spacemap Go came along during this renewal project, it was exciting to have that added dimension,” says Lightowlers. “I’m responsible for ensuring our sound designers have access to a system that will afford them full creative potential. You don’t want them to think too much about the system itself, so they can focus on their art and what they want to communicate with sound. The fact that you can control Spacemap Go from QLab via OSC made the Meyer Sound solution an easy sell.”

David Bergman, the sound designer for STC’s first production in the new space, Playing Beatie Bow, was the first to use the new technology, allocating up to 20 outputs from QLab as direct objects for Spacemap Go.

“The composer, Clemence Williams, and I have been loving the way we can run various trajectories throughout the show,” he says. “Some trajectories are doing slow circles around the audience while some randomly zig-zag. It’s been great to move around sounds like wind, reverbs, and solo instruments that otherwise would be static. I love how democratic it makes the show. No one misses out and every show will feel slightly different, even from the same seat!”

Meyer Sound •