About the venue
The Cambridge Guildhall is home to much of Cambridge's Council offices, and its court. It also contains two adjacent halls, the large hall and the small hall. The small hall is suitable for receptions etc., without stage area. It has a kitchen adjacent to it suitable for preparing reception-type food.
The Large hall is a hall seating about 500 with a large, though quirky, stage, and a gallery seating another 80-100.
The Guildhall is generally not available for rehearsals, though they're pretty good about letting people in to have a look round, provided nothing else is happening.
Size of stage?
There is no pros arch; the stage is the full width of the hall at the front, and is about 1m high.
The main section of the hall seats about 550, with another 80-100 in the gallery, though the gallery is useful for techies/off-duty performers etc.
There is a small dressing room at the back of the stage, and a very wide walk-round behind the stage which can also be used as a dressing room-it's much bigger.
Doors at floor level either side of the hall, next to steps up to stage level, plus another door stage right onto the raised level of the stage.
Getting stuff in can be a little fun; double-doors of fairly standard size (the side entrance) lead up a few steps to a landing. You can then either humph things up the stairs, or go through another set of double-doors to the very large industrial elevator (which is very cool and can fit a piano).
No building/painting facilities are provided.
The guildhall has two fixed lighting
bars, in front of the stage on either side parallel to the walls. They are quite high, and have a number (about 4 each) of very old-looking lanterns on them. These lanterns look like they've been stuck on with paint and rust, and some of the safety chains look dodgy or missing.
The lights are terminated in 13A plugs, which didn't appear to be plugged in when it was used for the G&S Ragbag. The lights themselves may or may not work, but there did not appear to be any control facilities.
One strategy used was to hang mini-IWBs below these bars, thus getting a better position and avoiding the necessity to remove (and more worryingly re-rig) the Guildhall's lights. Socapex cable was then run to the bars, from some portable dimmers.
Power was available for the dimmers: there is a 63/3 connector and a 63/1 connector (which can't be used simultaneously, and are subject to sound
-level-cutout as described below) beneath the organ pipes on stage right. It's worth noting that there is a cable duct behind the organ pipes, but it is not big enough to accept a 63/3 connector. Options are running the cable through the emergency exit door on the right side of the stage (it's not a fire door, but there's an irritating light behind it which will be visible if you do this), or unwiring and re-wiring the 63/3 cable and just passing the cable through.
There was evidence of some old (and, like the lighting
, probably disused) speakers, but nothing to power them etc. You'd better bring everything yourself. One salient point is the sound
meter: they have a meter which cuts power to the 63A supply if the sound
level gets too loud. Depending on how loud you're being, you may manage to get the threshold level increased by talking nicely to the venue technician.
Last edited Wed 10th May 2006 by Andrew Pontzen
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