|Curtain Up ‘Backstage’ section has Yamaha QL1 digital console with the StageMix iPad app allowing visitors to enjoy the hands-on experience of mixing a show|
London’s Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) is currently staging a special exhibition titled Curtain Up: Celebrating 40 Years of Theatre in London and New York. A key part is the ‘Backstage’ section, which looks at theatre sound and lighting, where a Yamaha QL1 digital console with the StageMix iPad app is allowing visitors to enjoy the hands-on experience of mixing a show.
Interactive theatre experience with Yamaha QL1 digital console
Running until 31st August 2016, Curtain Up invites visitors to look behind the scenes and discover how the many aspects of a theatrical production come together. The exhibition's technical production was designed and supplied by White Light, the company's Creative Producer Richard Stirzaker specifying the Yamaha QL1.
"We wanted to give the public a genuinely interactive experience and chose the QL1 because of its easy-to-use interface, which would show how theatre audio technology has progressed over the years," he says.
An iPad app (StageMix) moving a fader on a mixing console (Yamaha QL1) by imaginary dark forces is still very exciting for the public
Yamaha QL1/StageMix iPad app combination
The console is running a multitrack recording of a song from the current touring production of Hairspray, donated by the show’s sound designer Ben Harrison. The recording features drums, bass guitar, electric guitar, keyboards, brass section, lead vocals and backing vocals. These are grouped to eight DCAs, which are then represented as eight faders on an iPad using StageMix, which exhibition visitors can use to get a feel of mixing the song.
“The console is locked in a Perspex display case, so the public cannot access it, but they can see the faders moving in response to touching the StageMix faders,” says Richard. “The versatility of the QL/StageMix combination meant that it was possible to lock the EQ section, outputs, inputs and the other controls on the StageMix app, so visitors can only change the volume of each channel.”
User-friendly nature solves issues quickly
An important factor was being able to trigger the recording to loop back to the beginning and, at the same time, have the QL1 reset the faders to zero. But the user-friendliness of the QL1 meant that these issues were quickly addressed and the system was ready for a busy few months in the unusual position of being operated by the public.
“Both we and the V&A are extremely happy with the system,” Richard continues. “Everything was set up with the desk and multitrack very quickly, while the performance of the QL1 and StageMix has left people amazed and fascinated at what it can do. An iPad app moving a fader on a mixing console by imaginary dark forces is still very exciting for the public. It has given the exhibition a real wow factor.”