Robinson Auditorium is the largest amateur venue in Cambridge, with a capacity of around 230. Located opposite the Porters' Lodge in Robinson College, it's easy to find and not that far out of the city centre (a minute or two past the UL).
The resident theatre group is Brickhouse Theatre Company [www.brickhousetheatre.co.uk
] who manage the space for student productions and events alongside the college authorities. You can contact them by emailing [firstname.lastname@example.org
]. Robinson Films [www.srcf.ucam.org/robfilms
] also regularly use the space and should be contacted when applying to show films.
If you wish to book the space for a professional
conference then please contact the Robinson College Conference Office instead, who's website is here: [www.robinson.cam.ac.uk/conferences/index.php
Every production is the subject of a pre-production meeting between college authorities, members of the production team and representatives from the Brickhouse Committee. Technical requirements of the show are discussed at the meeting and college authorities are usually very helpful if you mention things at this stage.
Because the space is regularly used by Robinson Films and conferences, rehearsal time in Robinson Auditorium is incredibly limited. Each performance is unique, but normally students expect no more than the weekend prior to the production in the space.
Technical informationFormat of stage/audience:
Proscenium arch with apron. The projection screen is 2.9m away from the back wall and may be rolled completly out of sight above the stage. There is no flight tower.
Size of visible stage:
width at proscenium arch: 8.96m. Width at back wall: 11.00m. Depth from front of apron to screen: 4.60m. Depth of screen to back wall: 2.9m. Stage height: approx. 0.7m
237 (240 inc. fire stewards)(270 when the front of the stage is taken back, but this can not be done for student productions as then the black protective floor would not fit).
two changing rooms to stage right, access to stage left is behind the back curtain. Each changing room has a toilet, but the shower fittings have been permanently turned off. There is no drinking water, but plenty of sinks and cool looking mirrors with light bulbs all the way round. Until very recently there were three changing rooms, but the smallest of these was removed in late Michaelmas 2005 to make way for improved disabled access.
What entrances/exits onto/off stage are possible:
stage right, stage left, through audience stage left stage right.
stage right double height double doors open directly opposite the entrance to the theatre workshop. If large set pieces are not being constructed in the theatre workshop, care should be taken to make sure there is enough turning space to get items in / out.
Set-building/set painting facilities:
Theatre workshop, available by arrangement with Brickhouse AND the college. Anyone who wishes to access this facility will need a key card issued only by Robinson College Conference Office. You will need to find your own tools, the workshop does not include any.
Please note that students wishing to produce a play must lay the black protective floor before every run and take it up as part of their get out
. This requires about 2 rolls of (preferably matt) black gaffer tape and laying instructions can be obtained from the Brickhouse TD.
The stage is equipped with a pair of orange house tabs which are opened and closed using a hand winch, but they are rather noisy and have a tendency to get stuck whilst opening. Care should be taken if planning an interval set change - the curtains shrank in the wash a few years ago and now have a couple of inches' gap underneath them so it is easy for the audience to hear everything that goes on on stage. There are also black tabs midstage and upstage, the upstage ones hiding a rather dirty white cyc which is held on a hemp set and so can be removed or tied up to hang your own backdrop or facilitate a more comfortable get-round. Another hemp set just upstage of the projection screen is available to hang drapes from. Finally, there is a leg hung in each wing which serves little purpose as to make the show mask you still need to use the 4 hard maskers; these are 8' wide and very overengineered (and heavy!) though any unused ones can be stored in the theatre workshop.
The college has a very friendly AV technician who will set up audio show relay to the LX
box and a video monitor in one of the wings if you ask nicely. Brickhouse has six cans beltpacks and headsets along with a power supply unit that is capable of supporting two communication rings.
Fire precautions are very strict; you'll have to take a member of college staff on a walkround where they'll verify that all upholstered furniture has valid fire safety labels etc. They have also been known to ask for a signed letter from ADC Theatre management stating that furniture hired from there is fire retardant. The Stage Manager and other backstage crew
must have also attended a 40 minute briefing with the Head Porter to be shown fire and evacuation procedures.
There is a Zero88 Illusion 120 in the control box, with a memory stack and nine pages of twelve submasters. (Save often when plotting, it has been known to crash when editing cues, but never when running a show.) This is linked by DMX to the dimmers, which are housed in a cupboard accessed outdoors through the stage left auditorium exit; there are a total of 40 channels, each of which has two outlets 'A' and 'B'. The front of house circuits are patched in the dimmer cupboard; the overstage circuits in the stage left wing. You will need to talk to the AV Technician to get access to the dimmer cupboard to patch Front of House. Although the patch circuits are labelled as 'A' and 'B', only the dimmer circuits are paired, so each socket on the bars is independent. As of Feb. 2008, around ten of the overstage dimmer circuits did not work.
There are two fixed lighting
bars front of house, which can be accessed using the resident Zarges in triple-extension mode - for the front bar, putting the base of the ladder on the apron and leaning the top against the bar; for the back bar, putting the base behind the first row of seats and leaning against the wooden ledge behind the bar. Rigging here is rather precarious because of this; using a hauling line would perhaps be the safest method. In addition, there are two perches, which can be rigged fairly easily. Overstage, there are three lighting
bars, each of which can be lowered to working height with a manual winch.
As of late 2008, the college authorities have changed their policy on rigging and focusing lanterns. This must now be done with the use of scaffolding which must be erected and used only by college staff from the maintenance department. Whilst this makes rigging and focusing front of house much safer, it does mean that it has to be done by college staff who are not necessarily used to focusing lanterns. It is a time consuming process that must be agreed with the college well in advance. It is believed that this policy also applies to the focusing of lights above the stage although they can be comfortably and safely focused from ladders.
The following lanterns are available:
8x Starlette fresnel
6x Minuette fresnel
5x Sil30 profile
3x Prelude 16/30 profile
11x ancient cyc flood
1x Minuette profile with internal dimmer and 13A tail
Some of the Sils are in poor condition, with jammed lenses and shutters; there are also some Prelude shutters missing. Most of the fresnels have barndoors. There is a gel stock of significant size, newly sorted and labelled, and a few gobos.
There are also four movers rigged on the front of house bars; these are cheap fixed-zoom effects lanterns and too noisy to use for most theatrical pieces. The Illusion does not support patching fixtures and has only one rotary, and so operating them is also a little fiddly. The DMX connection for these is generally made via the subwoofer mic tie line, which must be reconnected in the USC dip before the protective floor is laid, and the other end connected to the DMX splitter in the control box.
box is to be sound
proof which is unfortunate, although stage relay and headphone outputs from the mixing desk are possible.
There is a 24-channel mixer with stereo and mono buses, four AUXs and two FX returns. CD player and minidisc player are both available, and there are numerous mic tie lines to the stage, and four returns. The film society uses a 5.1 surround sound
setup, so there are three pairs of speakers front of house, and a subwoofer tieline in the USC dip. The front two pairs are Bose 802IIIs. The amps and a digital Bose EQ are in the control box. Other sources can be connected directly into the mixer.
A few microphones are available by prior arrangement with the conference department, this includes:
3 (rather old) wired mics
2 tie clip radio mics
2 hand held radio mics
Student queries regarding the technical facilities in the venue should be directed to: email@example.com
Last edited Wed 6th May 2009 by Giles Fleming
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