LAMDA (London Academy of music & Dramatic Art) recently opened its brand new £28.2m facility, which replaces the western part of its campus and more than doubles its overall size. Founded in 1861 as the London Academy of Music, LAMDA is the oldest drama school in the UK and was the first such institution to offer acting tuition. Today, LAMDA offers seven validated degree courses in acting, directing, production and technical arts.
Charcoalblue LLP worked alongside Níall McLaughlin Architects to provide the Performance Specification for the consolidation of LAMDA’s disparate and remote teaching spaces onto the new single-site campus in Hammersmith. Development consisted of the 200-seat Sainsbury Theatre, the 120-seat Carne Studio Theatre, The Manny & Brigitta Davidson Foyer, The Sackler Library, a screen and audio suite, ten training/rehearsal studios and full technical and wardrobe facilities.
The main contractors for the project were Volker Fitzpatrick, who appointed Marquee AV to design and install the AV and production lighting systems to comply with the Charcoalblue specification. In addition to the building-wide AV infrastructure and paging systems, the project covered The Sainsbury Theatre, The Carne Studio Theatre, the screen and audio suite, and the Sound Studios.
The building-wide AV system provides distribution of audio and video show relay signals to key offices and front of house areas. Tie-lines and terminations are generally split between the racks in the main AV and dimmer room, servicing The Sainsbury Theatre and also to The Carne Studio Theatre rack. Links are provided between all racks. A paging system is provided for front and back of house calls, show relay and monitoring of technical intercom. Volume controls and outlet boxes are provided in key spaces throughout the building, in the dressing rooms, technical offices and workshop spaces to allow performers and staff to see and hear show relay or paging from either of the two theatre spaces. Paging is split into zones of signal distribution, with volume controls specifically designed for operation in each room. Dedicated paging microphones are provided which connect via the audio data infrastructure.
The AV system in the main Sainsbury Theatre is centred around the combined amplifier / dimmer room on the second floor. From the patchbays located in the equipment racks in this room it is possible to route audio, video, data, communications and loudspeaker lines to socket outlet boxes throughout the theatre. A phased-array induction loop is installed to provide assisted hearing aid listening.
Lighting for The Sainsbury Theatre is provided by 192 centralised dimmers and relays. Socket outlets from the dimmer racks is distributed in custom facility panels throughout the space. Marquee AV provided a comprehensive stage lighting control network in the theatre, as well as dedicated digital stage lighting DMX control tie-lines to each of the facility panels.
The AV infrastructure in The Carne Studio Theatre is a simple but flexible arrangement to suit the changing requirements of the space. All tie-lines originate in a single AV rack located in the backstage area, with distributed facilities at both floor and high level within the theatre. The philosophy between The Carne Studio Theatre and The Sainsbury Theatre is as similar as possible and, as such, a phased-array induction loop is installed to provide assisted hearing aid listening. The existing LAMDA stage management console was integrated within the infrastructure and video and audio show relay systems are provided along with appropriate processing and distribution
The Carne Studio Theatre is provided with 84 dimmers, fitted with RCDs and wall mounted in racks located in the second floor equipment room. Circuits from these dimmer racks is distributed to 116 socket outlets in custom facility panels throughout the space via a custom patch panel located on the control gallery within the theatre. A comprehensive stage lighting control network is installed in the theatre, as well as dedicated digital stage lighting DMX control tie-lines to each of the facility panels.
The screen and audio suite is provided with a power and data infrastructure to enable the use of stage lighting fixtures, to support events and live performances in this space. The infrastructure in the Sound Studios includes outlet boxes in each of the three studios and one in the main sound department, allowing audio, data and video connectivity. Tie-lines originate from a single AV rack in the main sound department room.
The installation was handled by Marquee AV’s project management team. Senior Projects Manager, Rob Whitaker, commented, “This has been one of the most interesting theatre projects we have worked on – in many ways more complex than a normal theatre installation. We achieved the results set out in the specification on time and budget.”
Rob Young, Head of Technical Training at LAMDA, said, “The young people we train go on to shape the future of the dramatic arts and through these exciting new facilities we can ensure they have the very best preparation for successful and sustained careers in the industry.”