SFX Amsterdam – Santa’s Boats!

Having recently took the exciting plunge into some new mics to start building my SFX Library with, I decided I’d start going through some randomly gathered un-edited Zoom content and edit them up to share! Been as its almost Christmas, as a starting point a quick recording from last year In Amsterdam, as Santa Claus arrived…

Sinterklaas Arrives The Dutch version of Santa Claus (or St Nicholas) makes his annual arrival in Amsterdam on Sunday 18th November. His boat will sail along the Amstel river before arriving at the Maritime museum at midday. He then jumps on his white horse surrounded by his helpers the Zwarte Pieten (“Black Petes”) and heads to Dam Square and Leidseplein.’

This annual occasion, brings out the masses into the streets of Amsterdam to witness the parades coursing through the the City.

This mass of boats came past the window of my apartment, so took the chance to grab some quick Zoom H4 recordings of the general happenings below and luckily picked up some big foghorn sounds. Some pretty high pitched harsh horns to start with and some deeper breathy horns after.

More coming soon!

Autumn/Winter 2013

Since the last post about the Magic Flute in London, it has opened and closed its doors to the public. It seems about time for an Autumn/Winter update having neglected blogging for a while.

First was a brief trip back to Newcastle and the Theatre Royal for a re-mount of the RSC’s, David Farr, version of Hamlet, Working with the amazing Claire and Jon from Stratford. Moving the sound for the show from a Thrust design to an end on design was a good challenge, but great to have a good set of proscenium speaker positions to replicate some of the design and luckily the majority of onstage speakers were able to stay in similar positions, so we could still bring sounds down to be part of the onstage action, but bring some of the music to the front to push some energy into the audience.

Newcastle Theatre Royal Oct 2013  (RSC, HAMLET)

This was followed by The Magic Flute at the ENO which was great to bring a show back with a totally different crew and venue to last year and also interesting to see what a UK audience made of it. The space was quite different, but one of the more successful features of the design ended up being the blending of the re-enforced dialogue with the acoustic sung pieces.

London Coliseum Nov 2013 (ENO, THE MAGIC FLUTE)

The Noise also returned for a brief visit to Leeds’ West Yorkshire playhouse and to the Warwick Arts Centre. Had a great in house rig in Warwick’s studio space and a much better position for a set of Vocal Speakers, used (as the name suggests) for radio mics on the cast, brilliant to hear the show in a more intimate space and layout, it really helped us to mix the sound/music content with the dialogue.

(Yes I’m now addicted to Panoramic iPhone shots, even in the studios!)

Noise Warwick arts
Warwick Arts Centre Nov 2013 (UNLIMITED THEATRE, THE NOISE)

Foley booth – ENO Magic Flute

The Magic Flute is now rehearsing ready for the autumn showing at the English National Opera’s Colliseum in London.

This (Mcburney’s) version of the opera first played in Amsterdam last year and is currently transferring to the uk whilst also being translated into English.

This time around we have a slightly smaller foley booth with the extremely talented Ruth Sullivan as our lead Foley Artist, who is also stepping into her acting shoes too. 

This is our new foley booth (below) which is still being finnesed, eventually to be equipped with 4 shelves, a small table and various hooks for all sorts of foley items, along with its own light. A mic for the table and a second for footsteps. It’s exciting to hear the foley begining to be put into place again, and it will be great to get into the collesium and get the sound design sitting inside the piece.


The Noise @ Northern Stage

noise_blockThis week I’ve been teching Unlimited Theatre‘s The Noise in Newcastle’s Northern Stage (Stage 2). The story is a “sci-conspiracy thriller”, and on the island of Whitley the most notable feature is the constant ‘Noise’ being emitted by the island. Working as Co-Sound Designer with Gareth Fry, we’ve been playing with different types of Noise and how much of it we can push the scenes by using different styles of ‘Noise’. There is real anger in the characters of Whitley caused by these relentless and ever changing  sounds they can’t get away from and it’s been really interesting in finding how to achieve this whilst still allowing the clarity of the story to come from the actors. There is also composition by David Edwards (AKA Minotaur Shock) which has been a pleasure to work into the show and if you get a chance check him out!


The Noise opened here in Newcastle on Friday 4th Oct and runs until 12th October. It then tours to Warwick Arts Centre and West Yorkshire Playhouse in November.

I thought I’d share a few interesting bits of research I came across, whilst looking into science related sound inventions, firstly the ishin-den-shin  http://www.ivanpoupyrev.com/projects/ishindenshin.php

Secondly the Hypersonic sound speaker invented by Woody Norris . hard to show the workings of online,  but pretty cool nonetheless! http://www.ted.com/talks/woody_norris_invents_amazing_things.html

Farragut North

Farragut North: Southwark Playhouse
Farragut North: Southwark Playhouse

This week Farragut North at the Southwark Playhouse starts it’s 3 week run. I’ve been working alongside a very talented Composer, JudeObermuller and we’ve been putting his score into the Southwark’s, new, Large Space. Although in a fairly difficult ‘thrust’ setup we had some fun playing with layers of his music and locating it in different spots around the room, hoping to add another dimension to it.

Farragut North will be playing at the Southwark Playhouse’s Large Space until 5th October


Space Junk: Lyric Young Company

This week I’ve been at the Lyric hammersmith, working with the young company to devise a new play entitled Space Junk.

Reading A book by Andrew Smith Called Moondust and getting into the stories of the moonlanders and astronauts that were involved in the Apollo missions. The book takes the viewpoint of the author/journalist meeting the remaining men that traveled with the Apollo missions. It’s pretty remarkable some of the stories that these men can tell, their intellect and technical knowledge mixed in with there lives after the landings is extraordinary.

The devising process has been a really well structured and creative one, working within key rules and focusing on certain influences. It’s been a really open and exciting room to be in!

Space Junk will be playing from Thursday 29th – sat 31st in the Lyric Hammersmith Studio


Lionboy: London Unicorn

Lionboy logoA few weeks ago it was Lionboy’s final week playing at the Unicorn Theatre in London. After 8 weeks on tour it all ended with a great last week of performances in London and it was nice to be back in the city!

Being on tour has been an amazing experience with a lovely team and cast it was a great place to get the experience of attempting to produce same show in very different venues. Listening to different house systems and how they were set up for each venue was really interesting. The unicorn perhaps one of the more fiddly setups with it’s curved auditorium and not a lot of space for front of house positions. Luckily this was one of the venues on the list with a centre cluster in it’s FOH setup which helped a lot in separating voice-overs and music for intelligibility purposes.

The hardest thing to judge from venue to venue was the mix between our live Percussionist (Stephen Hiscock) and the playback music, along with the Voice-overs on top of all that. Making sure the narrative was clear whilst keeping the drums and music at a level that drove the scene on was always a difficult one to achieve, each venue reacted differently to the drum kit particularly, Wales for instance had a stage about 4 times higher and wider than the Unicorn, pretty cave-like in its acoustics, but again was an interesting challenge.

Lisa Kerr & Adetomiwa Edun
Lisa Kerr & Adetomiwa Edun