Bringing History into the New Millenium with d&b and Theatre du Rideau Vert, Montreal

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With only four hundred and twenty six seats, Theatre du Rideau Vert may be small, but it is a cornerstone of the cultural landscape in Montreal. Open since 1949, it is the oldest permanent French speaking theatre in Canada. Technical Director Guy-Alexander Morand has been with the theatre for "five very fulfilling years and over thirty productions. Theatre du Rideau Vert was founded by famous actress Yvette Brind' Amour. The goal has always been to provide performance opportunities for artists, support local francophone playwrights, and make art more accessible for everyone within the community."

Recently undergoing the first large scale renovation since 1991, Theatre du Rideau Vert not only received an aesthetic makeover, but a technical overhaul, as well, replacing their entire sound system. Morand continues, “As a theatre, we knew it was time to enter the twenty first century and expand our technical horizons. Embracing new technology, we are finding ways to use audio almost like a prop within our shows. For example, realistically being able to simulate a car driving by, or even embracing pure silence as a scene demands. It is a priority to satisfy the imagination, and enhance the overall theatrical experience for performers, crew, and audiences."

With such specific theatrical needs, Theatre du Rideau Vert turned to Mathieu Guilbault of Trizart Alliance to design the system. Since 1987, Trizart Alliance has been providing theatre and arena design, as well as show consulting for Canada and the United States. To generate the dynamic sound desired, Guilbault was able to get creative with his approach, "The idea was to have sound coming from everywhere, like a home theatre system in a real theatre space, while still being easy to use. Many audio companies have defined, and limited, rigging options. As we needed custom brackets and flexibility when hanging loudspeakers, so d&b audiotechnik was a great choice for this design."

The new sound system at Theatre du Rideau Vert draws from the White range xS-Series, which d&b offers for permanent installations. Though a compact venue, each show demands a number of audio cues, so the space was equipped with a mix of 10S, 10S-D, 12S-D, and 5S loudspeakers, providing accurate pattern control for the space. 18S-SUBS, multiple amp channels, separate control systems for balcony and surround speakers, and plenty of rigging hardware completed the custom package.

"It was my first time working with d&b," says Gilles Cote, Vice President at Le Diplomate, the system integrator on the project. While the company has long been a rental provider for sound, lighting and, perhaps their most established element, video, they have only recently started selling systems, "it was important for Le Diplomate to do our homework to better understand, not only our client's needs, but also d&b audiotechnik as a manufacturer. We only had ten days to install, terminate cables, burn in the system, train the theatre crew, and commission the system. With the help of d&b Canada General Manager, Francois Corbin and the rest of the team at d&b Canada, we were able to do it all with relative ease and maximize the system’s potential. Everyone is very happy with the sound quality, and confident that d&b was the best investment for Theatre du Rideau Vert. We are certainly excited to partner with d&b again."

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