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Lowther Pavilion’s new M7CL is Fylde under ‘Success’

Oct, 2010

When the Lowther Pavilion at Lytham St Anne’s was taken from council ownership to being run by a charitable trust, an urgent priority for the new owners was to replace the existing inadequate sound reinforcement system with one which could fulfil the venue’s many demands. Investing in a Yamaha M7CL-48 console has satisfied all of their requirements and much more besides.

Lytham St Anne’s is the traditionally more genteel resort just south of Blackpool’s bright lights, in the area of north-west England known as The Fylde. The 500-capacity Lowther Pavilion puts on a highly diverse range of productions, from comedians and tribute acts, through pantomimes and amateur dramatics shows, to tea dances and craft fairs.

Dan Creasey was the venue’s technical manager for two years when it was under council ownership and is now one of its six trustees.

“The number one complaint we had under council ownership was about the poor sound system,” he says. “The more professional amateur dramatics companies resorted to hiring systems in which, of course, completely blew their budgets. So we felt a new system was a high priority for the venue’s new era.”

Through mutual contacts, the trustees approached Wigwam Acoustics, whose Mick Spratt recommended a Yamaha M7CL as the heart of a new system.

“We hired an M7CL for a couple of gigs and our operators loved it,” Dan continues. “I come from a lighting background and even I could easily use it - which is, trust me, a huge compliment! From then on it was set in stone - that was the desk we wanted.”

Despite working very hard to raise funds and a successful application for National Lottery match funding, the budget was still tight. But the M7CL’s competitive price meant that the addition of the console was achieved, along with a Brooke Audio PA and monitor systems, plus a new Van Damme multicore.

“The M7CL has given us a console which can mix both front of house and monitors, as well as handling any type of production we can throw at it. But it provides so much more,” says Dan.

“The usual mix position is at the back of the venue up high above the seating, but we have a multicore split and can easily move the desk to the rear of the stalls when required - it takes just two people, it’s not a major ‘six blokes and a crane’ operation.

“Similarly, as part of the Pavilion’s ‘new era’, we’re hoping to put on some events in the public gardens next door - the ease with which we can move the desk will be a significant factor in staging those. Of course we don’t need any outboard - the only extra equipment we use with the console is a CD and MiniDisc player, plus a mini jack input for an iPod/iPhone.”

He continues, “There is also a partitioned annexe on the side of the hall which is used for meetings and conferences. We have a couple of loudspeakers in there which can be independently controlled but, with the partition removed, the M7CL allows them to be seamlessly used as main system delays.”

Dan believes that the addition of the M7CL has had many beneficial effects on the shows put on at the Lowther Pavilion, both ramping up what’s available for amateur productions and also making the venue more appealing to professional performers.

“75% of what Lowther has on is by amateur companies and I believe it has made a huge difference to them,” he says. “They now have the benefit of a truly professional system - already we have guys programming the console offline and bringing a USB stick in to load their shows. Seeing the StageMix app at PLASA also had several of us seriously considering buying an iPad!

“Wigwam offered a day’s training as part of the deal, so we have a number of people who can really get the most out of the console. But it also means that higher profile, professional acts are now seriously considering us as a venue. With the new system, they realise that we are serious about providing a quality experience.”

With ballet, opera, high profile comedians Joe Pasquale and Dave Spikey, big bands, plays and, of course, pantomime all in the offing over the next few months, audiences and performers alike have much to look forward to, thanks to the new system.

“We’re more than happy with the M7CL, it’s the best move we’ve made,” says Dan. “I honestly wouldn’t have wanted any other console.”

Data

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