Theatres share Yamaha solution

The Palace Theatre in Kilmarnock, Scotland, recently bolstered its offering for live events with a new audio solution based around a Yamaha M7CL48-ES console and Yamaha SB168-ES stage boxes. The complex includes the Palace theatre and Grand Hall that seat 500 and 1300 people respectively.

Originally opened in 1863 as the town’s Corn Exchange, the Palace Theatre was joined by the Grand Agricultural Hall 64 years later. Despite an occasionally chequered career, the venues are still going strong today.

With audience capacities of 500 and 1300 respectively, the Palace Theatre and Grand Hall form a multi-purpose complex. However, attracting touring acts to the Grand Hall was starting to become a problem, as it had no in-house PA system.

“We had started to do a number of higher profile gigs in the Grand Hall, but a major obstacle to promoters was the cost of hiring in audio and lighting systems,” says the venue’s assistant technical manager, Martin Vivers.

“We don’t have huge capacity and are a provincial venue, so we can’t charge high ticket prices. Once a promoter had taken the sub-hire costs out, there wasn’t much left over.”
The decision was taken to install a state of the art front of house PA and wedge monitor system, along with a lighting rig, pit barriers and a wheelchair platform to bring the venues up to the latest standards. However, their multipurpose nature meant that the entire audio system had to be movable between the venues (or to put away) and that the size of front of house positions had to be kept to a minimum.

“It was important that we had a digital system, with a Cat5 multicore, stage boxes and no bulky racks,” says Vivers.

Local supplier Zisys Events supplied a Yamaha M7CL-48ES console and three SB168-ES stage boxes. The company also purchased a second M7CL-48ES and three further SB168ES, which could be rented should the Kilmarnock venues need, for example, a separate monitor system.

Zisys’ manager, Danny Anderson, said: “It needed to be totally flexible but, with a permanent EtherSound network now installed in the complex, the desks and speakers can all be moved to where they’re needed for any event.”

Operational flexibility was just one of the many demands that the new system had to satisfy, however.

“Another big criteria was that Yamaha consoles are an industry standard,” said Anderson. “Part of the idea is to attract more promoters to use the venues, so it would have been a bit self-defeating to put something esoteric in. The M7CL is extremely rider-friendly, Yamaha digital consoles are ubiquitous and you know that most touring engineers will have used them.”

Vivers added: “We have managed to bring the sub-hire costs for visiting acts down from £4000 - £5000 to around £1500. That is a massive difference and we are sure will make Kilmarnock a much more attractive stopping-off point for bands on tour.”

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