As one of the UK’s premiere performance venues, the National Theatre (NT) presents a wide-ranging programme. In 2018 a new permanent structure for corporate and other events was added to the roof space known as The Deck. A flexible audio system based on the Yamaha MRX7-D matrix processor has been installed, thanks partly to the unit’s success in providing show relay throughout the NT’s three theatres and other spaces.
Previously occupied by a pavilion-like tented structure, The Deck’s views across the River Thames to the City of London make it a popular rental space for corporate gatherings, product launches, parties and weddings. Last year, the NT redeveloped the space by installing a bespoke permanent structure with state of the art sound and lighting. The audio solution is based on the Yamaha MRX7-D, with control via an iPad running a custom-designed ProVisionaire Touch interface.
The NT has relied on Yamaha equipment for audio processing and routing for many years. Ten years after they were first installed, several DME series digital mixing engines are still reliably working at various locations, while MRX7-Ds on a Dante network play a key role in show relay and audio routing throughout the NT’s complex of three theatres, studios, foyer, bookshop, restaurants and bars.
“There is an MRX7-D in the central control room and one each in the Olivier, Lyttelton and Dorfman theatres, all installed to provide a flexible and reliable system for show relay,” says Dom Bilkey, the NT’s head of sound and video.
Controlled by both iPads and virtual machines in the central control room, which each theatre’s team can remote desktop into via MTX-MRX Editor software, the system feeds show relay from the three theatres to induction loop / infra-red assisted listening systems and to narrators for audio described performances. In addition, it links via MADI into a Riedel MediorNet system for video and audio distribution to the artist dressing rooms, TV broadcast, latecomer screens in the foyer and networked drives for show archiving.
The MRX7-D system also routes background music to the NT’s bookshop, restaurants and bars, each controlled by its own, wall-mounted Yamaha DCP series control panel.
“We chose MRX7-D for The Deck because of the success of the main system,” says Ben Steinitz, the NT’s senior building systems and communications engineer. “The Dante networking and the GPIO connections were a major plus, allowing full integration with the system amplifiers and contract installations like the fire alarms. The fully-customisable iPad control was another major benefit, as was the price point. You get a lot in the box for the outlay.”