Bromsgrove School – Cobham House Theatre, Routh Hall & Drama Studio

Glantre was contracted to provide Stage Rigging, Performance Lighting and Audiovisual systems for three new performance venues at Bromsgrove School.

Cobham House Theatre

The Cobham Theatre is a newly constructed performance space with retractable seating for 300 people. Quite unusually for a school, the stage rigging systems include nine power flying sets under SIL 3 control alongside eight hemp sets, five fixed bars and a variable proscenium. Numerous curtain tracks and swivel bars were also provided for flexible masking. A deployable projection screen completes the over stage facilities. The auditorium construction included a steel catwalk system with numerous fixed bars for AV and Lighting equipment to be suspended over the entire auditorium. Motorised Hoist Power Packs

A significant amount of Audiovisual cable infrastructure went into the building, with facility panels provided in quantities befitting a professional theatre. All installed cables terminate in a pair of equipment racks in a dedicated technical area adjacent to the auditorium. The control room at the rear of the auditorium is well provisioned with infrastructure in addition to its Digital Audio Mixer, monitoring and paging facilities. Paging and show relay infrastructure was provided to all backstage and foyer areas. Amplifiers, installed loudspeakers, fire alarm mute interface and an RF assisted listening system were provided to complete the Audiovisual systems.

Facilities Panel

96 channels of dimming with “bypass” functionality were provided, to a range of outlets on production lighting boxes around the building. Parallel multipin outlets were provided for circuits over the stage to facilitate connection of internally wired bars mounted on the powered winches. A Zero 88 Orb lighting control desk was provided along with DMX distribution and patching in a lighting control rack in the control room. The school already owned a large stock of tungsten halogen and LED performance lighting fixtures, so the installed infrastructure was designed to complement this inventory.

Routh Hall Auditorium
Routh Hall

Routh Hall is one of many historic buildings on the Bromsgrove School campus. The hall has been in use as a recital hall for many years, but was in need of renovation. The redevelopment of the hall took place as part of this project, alongside construction of a new music block attached to the old hall by a modern “link” building. The refurbishment of the hall included removal of the old balcony structure, reinstatement with new access from the modern link and installation of a single tier of retractable seating. Routh Auditorium Control Position

The historic nature of the building required a limited approach to provision of stage rigging. An internally wired pipe grid was installed, suspended from the timber roof trusses on wire ropes. A self climbing machine was installed over the auditorium, with cable chain for cable management of the Lighting and Audiovisual facilities mounted on the bar. A roller projection screen was installed to the rear face of the overstage roof truss, where it is out of sight until required.

Again a significant amount of Audiovisual cable infrastructure went into the building, with facility panels provided in quantities befitting a professional hall. All infrastructure installed terminates in a pair of equipment racks in a dedicated technical area behind the stage. The control position at the rear of the auditorium is well provisioned with infrastructure. Paging and show relay infrastructure was provided to all backstage and foyer areas. Amplifiers, installed loudspeakers, fire alarm mute interface and an RF assisted listening system were provided to complete the Audiovisual systems in the hall.
Facility Panels RouthA recording studio with two “live” rooms was installed under the balcony and tiered seating. The infrastructure installed ensures that this space is fully integrated with the hall. The digital audio mixers can share stage boxes, ensuring that recording events in the hall is seamless when required.

48 channels of dimming with “bypass” functionality were provided, to a range of outlets on production lighting boxes around the hall. The school already owned an ETC Coloursource lighting control desk which was employed in the hall, alongside DMX distribution and patching in a lighting control rack in the technical area behind the stage. A selection of ETC LED lighting fixtures were provided and installed on the overstage pipe grid and front of house hoist.
Drama Pipe Grid

Cobham House Drama Studio

The Drama studio was a new build construction adjacent to the Cobham Theatre, it is mainly used as a teaching space, but has been provisioned to cater for small performance and to provide dressing areas for the main theatre when required.
Drama GridA fairly standard approach as adopted to the provision of stage rigging. A pipe grid was installed to the ceiling, with a number of fixed bars installed in a hipped section of roof. Curtain tracks were provided to the perimeter of the room.

Again a significant amount of Audiovisual cable infrastructure went into the building, with facility panels provided in quantities befitting a professional studio. All infrastructure installed terminates in single equipment racks in a dedicated control room overlooking the studio. The control room is well provisioned with infrastructure. Paging and show relay infrastructure was integrated with the Cobham Theatre system. Amplifiers, installed loudspeakers, fire alarm mute interface and an RF assisted listening system were provided to complete the Audiovisual systems in the studio.

12 channels of DMX controlled relays were provided, to a range of outlets on production lighting boxes around the studio. Glantre provided an ETC Coloursource lighting control desk which was employed in the studio, alongside DMX distribution and patching in a lighting control rack in the technical area behind the stage. A selection of ETC LED lighting fixtures were provided and installed on the pipe grid.

drama relay rack

Key Points of the Contract

As is often the case, there were issues in finding the budget to achieve everything the school needed for their extensive performing arts curriculum, so Glantre were required to find ways of getting more for less. Significant cost savings were found by simplifying the house, blues and work light control system. Further savings were identified by moving from a “plug in” dimmer rack to four wall mounted racks in the Theatre. Some coordination work was required to make space available for the wall mounted dimmers, but the financial incentive was large enough, for the design team to reopen the coordination work.

The other typical issue in school theatres is the multi use of the Theatre space. In this instance the Director of Performing Arts was rightly trying to preserve the flexibility of the space for theatre performance, while the school were pushing to put in place a large projection screen for assemblies and other teaching activities. To avoid compromising the ability to fly out sets, Glantre managed to identify, test and procure a deployable projection screen to alleviate the two side’s conflicting requirements. The special projection screen installed allows the case of the screen to be deployed from a dead position directly under the roof steelwork down to the bottom of the border masking, before deploying the roller screen for use. This means that it can be completely retracted when not required.