Art deco meets the 21st century at Rockdale Town Hall
AUSTRALIA: The PA people recently installed a JBL VRX line array system on behalf of the Rockdale Opera Company into Sydney’s Rockdale Town Hall. The auditorium’s art deco interior as well as the wide variety of applications the system has to cater to provided particularly unique challenges for the company.
The town hall has been closed for the last three years whilst major renovations have been undertaken. As part of its grand re-opening, The PA People were commissioned to provide a sound system that ‘complemented sympathetically the auditorium’s beautiful art deco detailing’. In addition to this Rockdale City Council were keen for the town hall to be available for a wide range of community groups, including the three musical societies that have been associated with it for much of its life.
‘We installed a JBL VRX line array system in a left/centre/right configuration’ explained Brett Steele, who carefully managed the Rockdale project to balance the needs of a modern multi-function auditorium with its historical and architectural value. ‘This ensures maximum coverage and caters to the widest range of applications – from musical theatre to simple speeches. Rockdale Town Hall has to accommodate a wide variety of uses and users, and we needed to provide a technical solution appropriate to both.’
Cabling was run as the renovation team opened up the floors and roof spaces, building in infrastructure to serve modern needs without disturbing the classic look. Control of the PA is by a single technician operating a Soundcraft Si Expression 1 digital mixing desk.
In addition to PA and stage management, The PA People also carried out works installing front and back of house paging systems, video monitors for performance relay feeds and hearing augmentation equipment. Its experience in backstage communications allowed it to produce a custom design for the new stage management system. ‘We built our own custom cabinetry, and developed a paging system based around AMX controllers’ Mr Steele related. ‘We built in clocks and other tools for the stage manager to use, whilst communications are through a headset that plugs in to the console, and we integrated a gooseneck microphone connected to a Jands talkback system.’
‘The PA People undertook the work in a friendly and professional manner’, said Justin Sheining, a spokesperson for Rockdale Town Hall. ‘The newly re-opened building now has all of the modern features and services that are expected, and has retained its original 1940s architectural style.’
‘The Rockdale Town Hall reopening concert proved the sound system, specifically designed for this unique 1940s Art Deco auditorium, has the dynamic range to cater for any type of performance from opera to basic public speaking’ Mr Sheining commented. ‘It complements and supplements the existing natural excellent acoustics of the hall. Rockdale City Council is very happy with the end result.’