Sound Tech in the Theatre

Hypersonic speakers for The Crucible at Studio 58

In a production of The Crucible, I wanted the audience to feel what it might be like to hear voices in their heads. We realized that the best way to achieve this was not simply to focus the speakers from the grid above and point them in one static place, but to use stage hands in concealed positions in the rafters treating the speaker like an invisible moving spotlight. We pre-recorded actors and vocal artist Sheinagh Anderson, using text from the script and I lowered the pitch of their voices slightly using simple software to create ‘demonic’ whispering. These were randomly inserted in pre-show, then repeated in intense moments of quiet, transitions and heightened moments of phobia. I’ve used this technology in several productions, most recently with a production of Dancers Dancing’s The Fine Line

the girls @ the door-w220-h220

Moving speakers with Electric Company Theatre

In my ongoing collaborations with Electric Company Theatre over the years, I have experimented with the following in a number of productions:

  • Using an enormous speaker on wheels as it moved upstage left to right in an intensely choreographed routine;
  • Working hand-in-hand with lighting to trigger a doppler effect with a surround system, strategically placed sub-woofers, and extending house sound to stage sound in an iterative attempt to re-create multi-layered and complex sfx of travelling thunder, turning into a specifically localized rain shower;
  • Placing speakers in a-typical locations particularly in site specific locales in order to draw audience attention to dark corners of a warehouse, to exxagerate the entrance of a vehicle onto the stage, to provide personalized experiences to audience members by having small speakers concealed in chairs, etc…


 Triggered binaural headphone mixes with UBC SIW: Sustainability Scenarios

Most recently, I have been commissioned by David Maggs in extending the use of the performative, to bring to life environmental scenarios for a collaboration between the Institute for Research, Environment and Sustainability and the Theatre program at UBC. Part research, part decide-your-own environmental impact adventure, I have sub-contracted a tech start-up to integrate iBeacon technology indoors in order to trigger specific pre-mixed binaural audio recordings in the headphones of research participants, tailored to three pre-designed rooms that each participant makes a decision to venture into. I will also create an ambient soundscape and have specific sounds triggered inside each room to draw audience attention when the headphone mix is quieter or silent in some sections.