Orbital’s theatre training course hits milestone

Orbital Sound held its annual Sound Fundamentals for Theatre training course recently, and has announced that more than 500 students have now passed through the education programme.

Sound Fundamentals for Theatre was fully booked again this year, with students coming from a cross-section of disciplines, including corporate sector technicians, freelance engineers and drama schools. With content focused on preparing technical theatre and theatre sound students for careers in live entertainment, the course combines theory with practical skills.

The teaching team consisted of Orbital Sound’s course leader Richard Carter, concentrating on key concepts, MIDI, computer playback, and networking. Carter was accompanied by Joseph Masters on communications and CCTV, Alex Waddle teaching radio mic fitting, John Wildridge on rigging, and David Bartholomeusz tutoring on production engineering and vocal imaging. 

For a practical insight into the skills required to stage a major West End musical, the students took a backstage tour of the hit show Memphis, and were treated to a lecture from the show’s sound designer, Gareth Owen. They were also able to gain hands-on experience with digital mixing consoles, using Yamaha QL5s and CL5s under the tuition of Yamaha’s Wayne Powell. In addition, Shure’s Tuomo Tolonen explained the mysteries of radio microphones and RF, while d&b audiotechnik’s Oran Burns concentrated on speaker theory and electro-acoustics. 

The Sound Fundamentals for Theatre week is an integral part of Orbital Sound’s education programme, as training specialist Waddle explained: “We are passionate about providing a range of courses that address real-world issues faced by technicians and engineers, encouraging best practices across all disciplines – something we have been doing for many years. We are extremely proud to count a number of today’s leading sound designers and heads of sound among our former students.

"Our Sound Fundamentals for Theatre course addresses all the basics needed to succeed in a theatre sound career, while “Mixing Musicals” homes in on the specialist skills required for FOH mixing. It is great to see how students progress and grow in confidence, extending their practical skills and knowledge of theory across just a few days.”