The iconic London Hippodrome has been lovingly restored by leisure and gaming entrepreneurs Simon and Jimmy Thomas following a multi-million pound conversion, and reopened it as the Hippodrome Casino.
Aside from the Casino, this landmark venue, operating on five floors at the corner of Leicester Square, incorporates an intimate 182-seat cabaret theatre — The Matcham Room — set at the rear of the venue, on the footprint of the original stage.
The technology infrastructure has been specified and installed by Willow Communications, who challenged Harman Professional UK & Eire distributors Sound Technology with providing a 32-channel Soundcraft digital mixing desk at the 11th hour, after being let down at the last minute by the original manufacturer.
Realising the urgency required, with a show scheduled for that night, Willow MD Stephen Barlow contacted the Letchworth based company first thing in the morning and by 3pm a new Soundcraft Vi1 had been installed.
All of which was good news for Willow Communications Project Engineer, Chris Hampson, who had recommended the desk, and head sound engineer Danny Kissane. Both men report having had positive experiences with using the larger Soundcraft Vi6 in the past, and Kissane had taken it on tour with Roots Manuva (having first discovered the attributes of the Vi6 while stage manager at Ronnie Scott's).
Both men knew the console needed to have the versatility and required input capacity to run a varied programme, from comedy to big bands.
“Having read the reviews about the Vi1, to get 32 channels in such a compact footprint made it a logical choice,” said Hampson. “The footprint was an important factor — but so was the need for a recognisable front end as there would be visiting sound engineers. Sound Technology's speed of service was fantastic and it got us out of a tricky situation.”
Added Danny Kissane, who switched from BBC Drama Birmingham to live sound, “I love this desk. It is perfect for a small, multipurpose space. It's just a very easy desk to use — you don't have to scroll through lots of pages as everything you need is on the top page. The preamps are great, delivering lots of low end body with rich highs that seem to go on forever without getting glassy. And with the Lexicon FX onboard I no longer have to carry my PCM81 reverb.”
Apart from the form factor, he also noted the impressive weight, making it an easy task to put the desk into store when necessary, and the very straightforward reset procedure.
The Matcham Room is named after the theatre's famous architect, Frank Matcham, while consultants on the build project were Charcoalblue. Artistes who have already appeared at the venue include Tony Christie, Dionne Warwick, Janie Dee and Maria Friedman.
For more information please contact Soundcraft's UK distributor Sound Technology Ltd on 01462 480000, www.soundtech.co.uk/soundcraft