The design of Dubbo Regional Theatre means that the acoustics are brilliant.
You can walk onto the stage and use your ‘inside voice’ and can be heard clearly from the back row of the Theatre, 30 metres away.
Our advanced sound system and capable technical team also mean that miked performances are enjoyable.
We also have a hearing loop, which patrons can access by using the T- switch on their hearing aid.
However, what happens when an actor chooses not to be miked for their performance?
If they have good voice projection, clear diction and take their time delivering their lines and have space awareness - it’s not a problem.
There are a number of reasons why an actor or Director chooses not to use a headset mic.
It could be there are multiple costume changes, a physically demanding role or it’s an intimate production requiring voice sensitivity and a smaller audience.
Occasionally we receive feedback from patrons following a play that they were unable to hear the dialogue clearly.
They don’t require the use of a hearing aid so the hearing loop is not an option for them.
As we are focused on customer experience and creating positive memories, our technical staff used their initiative to research other options.
We are currently trialling a streaming device to allow the patron access to the hearing aid loop via their smart phone.
This is a cost effective and unobtrusive solution to ensure accessibility for all.
It involves the patron downloading a free application on the smart phone, bringing their head phones with them and connecting to the streaming device via the Audio Fetch application.
We are still in the trialling phase and have invited various patrons who have experienced similar issues to test its effectiveness.
Once we are satisfied with the quality of the sound, we will initiate an information campaign around this value added service.
I might add, my experience is that producers are receptive to constructive feedback following a performance if I felt sound was an issue.
Then there is the situation when the touring sound technician for a band, who has been in the business for over 20 years and hearing impaired, is responsible for the sound….that’s a topic for another article.
Break a Leg with the DRTCC is a monthly column about all things behind the scenes at the theatre, run in the Daily Liberal and written by Dubbo Regional Theatre and Convention Centre manager Linda Christof.