ADLIB in Education

Liverpool-based ADLIB Audio has supplied and installed a complete sound, lighting rigging and grid system at Parklands City Learning Centre in Speke, Merseyside.

City Learning Centres are a government funded initiative set up in run down, deprived inner city areas, to provide inspirational and learning opportunities for young people using new technologies.

The Centres are specifically designed to offer facilities not available in conventional school environments. “The main focus is to lift achievement rates by exposing young people to new technology and ideas based on using it” explains Denise Barrett-Baxendale, director of Parklands.

A performance space was planned for Parklands from the outset, but it wasn’t until Barrett-Baxendale actually accepted her post, that serious thought was given to development of the technical infrastructure. She was determined to offer an innovative and creative facility, with flexible technologies and a high WOW factor.

ADLIB came recommended by another school. The fact that they’re also local, based less than 5 minutes drive away, was a bonus. ADLIB’s Andy Dockerty helped specify all aspects of the appropriate live production technology for the space and offered them 3 different options.

ADLIB won a competitive tender to supply the equipment the basis of their outstanding customer service commitment and attention to detail. Finding ADLIB has been “The best thing we ever did” declares Barrett-Baxendale, adding “The ADLIB team has been fantastic and I can’t recommend them highly enough”.

Dockerty designed an exciting but sensible technical set up that includes flexible staging and a full compliment of moveable drapes in addition to the lighting and sound rigs. All is now overseen by ex-teacher Ken Fullerlove, Parklands’ Performance Technology co-ordinator.

The production space at the centre has been an unequivocal success in terms of boosting the confidence and self esteem levels of the students who using it. The quality of the performances and events that they are producing using the facility is already exceptional, observes Barrett-Baxendale.

So far, the space has been utilised for a huge diversity of events including pop concerts, theatre productions, conferences – both commercial and community, exhibitions, fashion shows, training sessions, achievement evenings, et. al.


Andy Dockety explains how they imported their rock ‘n’ roll touring attitude into the installation, starting with the Litec QD40 trussing grid design, which is suspended in the roof with 6 half tonne Lodestar motors, purchased from fellow Merseyside-based rigging and lifting specialists, PCM.

The whole system is 100 per cent flexible, and can be flown in to the floor for easy rigging and de-rigging of the lighting and sound gear – an unusual set up for an educational establishment.

Stagebox and multicore positions can be moved anywhere in the room tidily and quickly.


From a sound angle, Dockerty wanted something that was reasonable educational but not too “Ridiculously technical” for the level of engagement at which they were aiming.

The main live sound console is an Allen and Heath GL2200 analogue desk with enough facilities and mics to deal properly with bands, plus the facilities to do 4 separate mixes to four separate sets of stage monitors. The main left and right PA is run via a dbx Drive Rack, which looks after the system crossovers, EQ and time alignment. This type of technology was included in the system spec to offer more advanced students the chance to explore beyond the basics of audio engineering.

The outboard rack consists of standard Behringer gates and dbx compressors and a Yamaha SPX 990 effects unit. The idea here is again educational, in terms of getting any potential future engineers used to the concept of inserts.

The multicore has a full patch-through facility to the recording studio next door to enable live recordings. ADLIB also installed a tannoy system for the reception area and a full show call relay.

The main speakers are 4 ADLIB 121 400 Watt cabinets, currently positioned left and right of the stage, hung from the truss and focussed on the dancefloor area just in front of the stage. Two ADLIB 121 400s are hung on the centre truss, running as delays for the bleacher seating.

The system in underpinned by 4 ADLIB 15HL subs, crossed over by the Drive Rack, and amplification throughout is QSC RMX 2450.


The current installation features generic fixtures, but full power and data cabling provision allows for the addition of a moving light rig in the future.

The current rig includes 20 Selecon 1K fresnels, 16 Strand 15-32 zoom SL profiles, 24 PAR 64s, plus mains and DMX looms. The dimmers are six Zero 88 Beta Packs and the 80 channel patch bay was made by Andolite.

The lighting desk is a fully programmable ETC Express 250, chosen so students can learn the basics of moving light control in addition to programming a conventional rig.

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