Recently re-opened after a three-year, £17M redevelopment program, The Atkinson is Sefton Council’s flagship arts and cultural venue. Housed in a grade II listed building in the heart of Southport, The Atkinson integrates four arts and cultural venues – the Southport Arts Centre, the Atkinson Art Gallery, the Botanic Gardens Museum and the Southport Library – into one single, regional cultural centre.
Renowned London-based theatre specialists, Theatreplan, were called in as the theatre consultants to oversee the redevelopment of the two auditoria housed in The Atkinson. Theatreplan had no hesitation in specifying EM Acoustics loudspeakers throughout both venues, all of which were installed by Oxford Sound and Media, along with the rest of the loose audio equipment.
The main performance venue, the Atkinson Theatre, is a traditional proscenium arch theatre with a capacity of 440, and also houses a state-of-the-art cinema screen. The second venue called the Studio is designed to be a more flexible performance space.
Featuring a large permanent stage, an open floor and balcony seating, the Studio is ideal for music and children’s theatre. It can seat up to 300 or as few as 60 for more intimate events. Theatreplan’s Mathew Smethurst-Evans explained that they were keen to keep the equipment similar across the two venues to keep the users experience as straightforward as possible. “It was clear that the spaces are going to be used by a huge range of performers with widely differing skill levels, so the equipment needs to be easy to use whilst delivering high quality sound throughout the complex.”
For the Atkinson Theatre, Smethurst-Evans opted for a combination of EM Acoustics flagship 2-way point source EMS-159 and EMS-156 full range passive loudspeakers for the proscenium arch and L/R sidefill supplemented by 5 x i-2 passive front fill speakers. A pair of flown EMS-118 subs provide low frequency reinforcement and pair of ultra-compact EMS-51s are on fill duty for the Minstrels Gallery. On stage monitoring requirements are handled by six EM Acoustics dedicated M-12 stage monitors.
The Studio relies exclusively on EMS-156s throughout (six in total) with low-end reinforcement coming from two ground-stacked EMS-118 subs plus six M-12 stage monitors. All amplification is provided with EM Acoustics amplifiers.
“We chose EM Acoustics products because we have been extremely impressed with them on recent projects,” stated Smethurst-Evans. “Simply put, we believe that there is little to compete with them at this price point. Thanks to their passive crossover design, EM loudspeakers are truly “plug-and-play”. The fact that users don’t have to worry about managing controller or amplifier presets immediately puts them at ease, and the sound quality is excellent. From the installer’s point of view, once the system is commissioned, they almost never have to go back because the products are robust and reliable. There is very little for the end user to do other than switch the system on and off! For this kind of project, EM Acoustics has proved time and again to be an ideal solution for all concerned.”