The Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) has migrated its production communications infrastructure to Riedel’s Bolero wireless intercom system. Replacing an obsolete wired system, Bolero provides crystal-clear, efficient, and easy-to-manage communications for WAAPA performance crews at both on-campus and off-site venues.
Situated on the Mount Lawley Campus of Edith Cowan University near Perth, WAAPA is recognized nationally and internationally for providing Australia’s most comprehensive range of performing arts training. WAAPA’s world-class staff, working in state-of-the-art performance and teaching facilities, provides rigorous and specialized training.
“Over the course of our academic year, we stage around 25 key productions of musicals, plays, dance, jazz, and classical concerts. With such a busy production schedule, a dependable communications infrastructure is paramount in the successful delivery of each show,” said Cameron Malacari, Production Manager at WAAPA. “When our previous systems reached the end of their useful life for supporting multiple productions, we had two choices: reduce our production capabilities — which simply wasn’t an option — or invest in state-of-the-art technology. Bolero is an outstanding choice, giving us newfound flexibility and reliably clear, concise, and portable communications.”
With the previous hard-wired system for production communication between technical crew such as lighting, sound, stage managers, and mechanists, WAAPA was experiencing around 50 hours of downtime annually. The downtime, coupled with maintenance delays, was hampering the school’s ability to stage modern productions; furthermore, students’ learning hours were affected as staff triaged the breakdowns in communication. The previous communications setup was also costly, supported by two discreet for-hire systems that racked up substantial annual equipment costs and additional fees for associated support.
In contrast, the new Bolero wireless system provides a streamlined and reliable communications infrastructure that works equally well for both on-campus and off-campus productions. The modular, integrated design allows for fast setup times and cost efficiencies, and the wireless operation removes the risk of cable entanglements with machinery such as fly-lines and large, moving trucks. Because the Bolero installation is designed around a facilitywide backbone, the system is already in place to enable on-the-fly communications between two venues as needed — without additional hardware and with only minimal configuration changes.
“With Bolero, we’ve eliminated several annual hire costs, and we can receive convenient support from Riedel in our own time zone. If we need additional equipment, Riedel can provide it on a rental basis to help us keep our total cost of ownership down,” said Tim Landauer, Venue Services Coordinator at WAAPA. “Riedel’s experience in major performing arts venues, theaters, and universities across Australia was invaluable in helping us optimize the system design.”
He added, “Going with Riedel and Bolero has also boosted our educational mission. Since Riedel systems are the industry standard in the broadcast and theater production/event workspace, our production students receive training on technology they will use in the real world. Our instructors can concentrate on the core work of teaching production and performance practice, rather than spending hours troubleshooting faulty systems. In this manner, Bolero supports our ultimate goal of enabling performance and storytelling on stage smoothly and invisibly.”