Eastbourne’s Congress Theatre reopened in March following a two year, multi-million-pound renovation. The works saw a complete overhaul of the venue, including seating, lighting, heating systems and – crucially – sound.
The Congress Theatre opened in 1963 and is a Grade Two listed-building, but the vintage venue was no longer delivering. The project’s AV Consultant, Sam Wise, says since it opened “the building had had very few changes to the built-in infrastructure or systems.” This meant that cables dragged through the auditorium, and some audience members heard sound that was too loud or quiet due to where they were sitting in relation to balconies or loudspeaker arrays.
Simon Hine, Chief Electrician at Congress Theatre explains that he was looking for “a PA that covered the whole of the auditorium because we haven’t had that before. We wanted a line array because it fitted the way the building works and something quick and easy to rig.”
Sam Wise worked with the theatre staff, TED AV, Sound Technology Ltd. and HARMAN Professional Solutions to develop a system that not only sounds great across the full range of the theatre’s shows, but also could go up and down incredibly quickly, as many bands just play for one night, and touring groups bring their own sound systems.
The full solution includes JBL Professional VTX A8 Dual 8" compact line array loudspeakers and JBL Professional VTX B18 single subwoofers for main Left and Right PA duties. These are complimented by JBL AC28 and AC16 loudspeakers for Fill duties in the required locations. Crown Amplifiers and BSS Audio processing is used throughout. The entire ecosystem is connected through a cabling infrastructure that extends throughout the auditorium which allows for ease of patching Fill and other ancillary speakers into the system.