A piercing scream here, a gun shot there, the secret thrill you get from seeing a flurry of Fruit Pastilles fly into the air three rows ahead when someone just can’t handle the shock… ahh the sounds of the theatre!

Like or loath the use of bone chilling tones, the effective use of sound simply makes a theatrical performance. Whether you intend to scare, portray emotion or simply create background noise to set a scene, the use of a good sound system can transport your audience to distant lands and times bygone. Or at the very least drown out that person who insists on munching a bag of Walker’s finest.

At a recent performance of the classic horror The Woman in Black we learnt to appreciate just how much the effective use of sound and lighting can transform the restrictive space of a theatre stage into a world of possibilities. For readers who haven’t had the pleasure of seeing the play, we can divulge (not a spoiler we promise) that a crucial stage prop takes the form of a multi-functional wicker basket.

What we usually perceive as a rather posh laundry basket became a horse and cart at one point in the performance through the actors very convincingly sat jiggling about on it. But the real convincer was the soundtrack. Through the sound of a horse’s hooves clattering on stone we were transformed to the cobbles of Eel Marsh House. How was it you ask? Eerie, so very eerie…

A good sound system is not only crucial for the theatre but also for any space which requires interaction with an audience, such as a lecture theatre or conference room. If university seminars are anything to go by the sudden increase in pitch from a disgruntled lecturer can wake many a sleeping student… always hilarious to see them jump awake clearly wondering where they are and what day it is.

But to be able to achieve such delights it’s always worth investing in an expert opinion and a NICEIC registered company. Every space is different and a professional will be able to determine the best sound system to suit your venue.

If sound is the bread of a good performance, then lighting is the butter. When these two work in harmony then the results can be rather special. Take a staged train journey for example, the monologue is stimulating, the audience is engaged and then suddenly through a flash of window like lighting and a crash of wheels, you create the ultimate image of an oncoming train. The result? An entire room of people jumping in their seats.

Theatre lighting is so much more than a spotlight dotted here and there, if used well it can be symbolic, artistic and act as the element that creates the scenery for a production. As well as bringing atmosphere to a performance, directors additionally use lighting to complement the storyline by conveying a time of day or the feelings of the characters. Creating such effects doesn’t necessarily have to cost the earth either, achieving atmospheric lighting can be much simpler than it looks.

To set your shining example get in touch with PG stage for expert advice, installation and training on 0161 830 0303.

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