March and April have been a busy few months for me. The first major project of the year over at Manchester's Hope mill Theatre opened. The UK Premiere of the musical Yank. This world war II love story between two gay soldiers is a beautify told story of love, bravery and tragedy. The show's writers David and Joseph Zellnik who were both involved in this production have created a story with some real heart. The production gave me a chance to work again with director James Baker, a new opportunity to collaborate with musical designer James Cleve and of course a welcome change to return to what is fast becoming one of my favourite venues to work in Home Mill. This shows sound design, for the most part, is simple but effective. The first show I had designed in the venue in a traditional end on format, the system consisted mostly of EM Acoustics speakers with a left right and centre system of EM81s along with the delays, stage monitoring and so round sound speakers being EM51s. The low-frequency extension for the band and effects were handled by some dB Technologies powered subs under the seating blocks. The show features some really great sections to get your teeth into from a soundscape point of view. With an interrogation and a good chunk of the show set within the war, I had a great time building the effects and trying out all sorts unnerving sounds.
It was the first time I had worked on a show new enough to have the original writers of the book and score in the rehearsal process. It gave the production a whole new feeling of energy, another opinion to draw from during the creative process. It's not always been plain sailing and not everyone always feels the same about sections of the show but I've often spoken wth directors who are trying to understand what a writer intended in a scene and only wished they could call and ask. It was a real pleasure to work with such a talented lovely team.
I'd like to thanks the producers at Aria and Hope Mill for getting me involved again in what is now my third production at the venue, Liam our sound operator who ensured that the show sounded as intended 8 shows a week in a tricky space and also the team at dBS Solutions who looked after the shows needs back home when I was away working on other ventures. More on that to come too.
If you haven't yet caught a Home Mill/ Aria entertainments show you can catch Hair London as it transfers to The Vaults later this year or Pippin in Manchester in August. What are you waiting for!