Exclusive interview with the Head of Sound at Chicago The Musical Sydney
Simon Gregory BSC – Head of Sound
Backstage News had the amazing opportunity to interview the head of sound at Chicago the Musical at the Capitol Theatre Sydney.
Your education background to do this job
My first introduction to Musical theatre was, when I completed a work experience placement at a commercial, theatre through a diploma of Music Technology at my local college in the UK. I then went on to graduate from London Guildhall University in 1998 with a degree in Musical Instrument Technology, specializing in Electronics, Acoustics and Studio Research. Alongside the studies I worked as a swing as a radio mic tech on several west ends shows including Jesus Christ Superstar and Showboat. At the completion of my degree, I accepted a job working for Disney as a Sound engineer on the Cruise Line. In 2001 I made the move to Australia to begin work as a freelance sound engineer predominantly working for System Sound on Musical theatre projects such as Billy Elliot the Musical, We Will Rock You international tour, Chicago 2008 Tour, King Kong The Musical and more recently Matilda the Musical and School of Rock
What is the best part of being part of the Chicago Technical team
The best part of being In the Chicago technical team is working with an exceptional team of highly qualified and dedicated people who bring their wealth of knowledge to produce this timeless show. The Highlight for me was, of course, working with the incredibly talented Julian Spink who lead the design of this System on behalf of System Sound.
If our readers are keen to do what you do, what would be your advice?
Education and experience is always the key, I would encourage anyone interested In a career In musical theatre too, whilst completing studies, get work bumping in shows at your local theatres and be a sponge. Many of my colleagues over the years have imparted their valuable knowledge to me and continue to do so. Also know that every day there is something more to learn, which is very important with technology evolving as quickly as it does. I would also encourage everyone to get out there and see as many events as they can, its really important to know your industry, know what is going on within it and of course support this great art form.
How long does it take to bump in the show at the Capitol Theatre?
The Chicago bump-in at the Capitol theatre began on the 12th of August and took about 3 days to complete the physical install of the Sound system, to be ready to balance the orchestra and the first cast on stage session on the 4th day. This is a very busy time installing all the Cabling, speaker elements, front of the house mixing console, Stage racks, orchestral microphones and fold-back, and a complete video and communications system to allow the running of the show. This time frame is only made possible by the 3 weeks of prep performed pre-bump-in at the System Sound factory in Melbourne, where the entire system is completely built, programmed and tested as per the sound designers specifications.
More about you and your background
Outside of my professional career, I enjoy spending my time designing and constructing electronic devices and tools to aid in my work, and writing software and firmware for the same. I have quite a large experience in C and a few other programming languages which also aids in the Programming of shows as it gives a different view on how to achieve the results required by the design.
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