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Judith E Wilson Drama Studio - English Faculty

About the venue

The Judith E Wilson Drama Studio is located in the basement of the English Faculty on the Sidgewick Site. It is used for teaching and lectures, but usually this can be worked around whatever is necessary for a production. The main issue with this venue is that of access - outside English faculty opening hours it is impossible to get into the building unless another person lets you in.


Is the venue available for rehearsals?
Who should be contacted to book it?
Does it have a piano for pantos/musicals?

Technical information

It is a black box 5m high, and 10m x 10m (dimensions approx), with space for an audience of 80. The walls consist of removable squares of soundproofing material, in between which there are struts that will take M10 bolts for rigging purposes (M8s will also work). These are booth vertical and horizontal, approx 1.2m between adjacent struts.

Above the stage there is a scaff grid - its exact load rating is not known, but it is sufficient for rigging lighting and light set.

There are 4 doors into the studio - the main audience door is on the centre of one wall; to the left of this door (looking from inside the space) is a double door going to a storage area that houses the dimmers. On the wall opposite the audience door there are two single doors, one in each corner, that lead to a corridor with access to the dressing rooms. There are showers available.

The theatre manager is very accommodating with allowing set construction in the venue.

As of Easter 2008, the venue has 2 2m x 1m bits of 'Prolyte' staging bought from Stage Electrics [] ; 4 x 7' legs, 4 x 4' legs, 2 legs with home-made castor attachments that total 4', a very small amount of scaff for bracing and 4 scaff swivel clamps. If you are considering hiring deck or legs, talk to the theatre manager who might be persuaded to buy them for you.

Prodeck has a few differences from Metrodeck: the sides are brushed aluminium, with a lipped channel that will accept M8 or M10 bolt heads to allow you to secure stuff to it. The legs are not quite in the corners of the deck, instead they are about 2-3 inches away from each side, meaning that it is not possible to Band and Plate adjacent legs together. A solution when securing the deck is to secure it to the uprights on the walls; this isn't as easy as you'd hope (you'll need more than just a U bolt) but works well.


The desk is a Frog. There are 12 ways of dimming installed; it would be possible to add another set of dimmers, but there are no extra power sockets in the room with the dimmers - so power will need to come from inside the studio. The patch system is rather bizzare, with a mass of 16A plugs corresponding to the 15A sockets in the grid, and a set of 15A-16A tales to patch into the 15A dimmers.

As well as the standard ceiling rigging positions, there are a number of small 'pinspots' that can be rigged on the wall struts, enabling abnormal lighting solutions. The struts and removable soundproofing make cable runs relatively easy, however there is not much TRS in the venue.

Although the venue has a talloscope, be aware that in general students are not allowed to use this for rigging; discuss how best to rig your lanterns with the theatre manager.

How many lanterns? What types?
What lighting desk?
What rigging positions?
How many dimmers? What power/control technology would be required to add more?
Does the venue have any particular lighting quirks or commonly-used standard rigs?


There is a small sound desk (from memory, 8 way), and a CD player. These are in a trucked tower that can be moved around the space as necessary and plugged in to a 13A socket. There are two speakers that attach to this by cables, so it is possible to have the speakers more or less anywhere on the floor.

What desk?
What outputs (ie. speakers)?
What sources (ie. CD, minidisk, microphones)?
What technology would be required to add different outputs/sources?

Last edited Mon 26th May 2008 by Stuart Moore

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