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Canford help deliver festive broadcast to children’s hospitals

Newcastles Theatre RoyalCanford were only too happy to help when we received a call for help from long standing customers Nicky Scott and Peter Groom of Future & Co.

The Future & Co team donate their time annually to record, edit and broadcast Newcastle’s Theatre Royal Christmas pantomime to poorly children who find themselves in NHS hospitals over the festive period.

Relying on the good will of everyone involved, the project is now in its fifth year. Due to the success of previous efforts, this year’s Peter Pan is scheduled to be broadcast nationally and accessed free of charge by children and adults, via the NHS bedside communications and entertainment system.

As demand has grown, so has the teams desire to deliver superb content. This year, the five strong team will deploy three cameras to include a remote controlled “hot head”, chosen specifically so as not to take up valuable theatre seating space. Audio feeds will be supplied by an incredibly supportive Theatre Royal crew.

Pantomime is typically fast moving, with on-stage surprises and special effects. That’s great for the audience but presents several technical challenges for the team. One such challenge involves timing. How do you ensure the cameraman captures the flying entrance of Peter Pan and the on-stage pyrotechnics? One solution is good planning and “Show Caller” communications.

A show caller will note production events and call them out to the production team ahead of time, similarly to a co-driver in a rally car. Just like any professional situation, show comms are vital and without them the team wouldn’t achieve the same production levels.

Tecpro prouct manager Mike Reay and Peter GroomPeter Groom explains: “We’ve tried various show comms, to include walkie-talkie style earphones but these just aren’t suitable for the loud theatre environment. You just can’t hear it! Thinking about how we might solve this problem, I remembered seeing several broadcast and live event communication systems from Canford at a trade show this year. This reminded me about Canford’s Tecpro wired intercom range”.

“We approached Canford to see if they’d be willing to hire or loan us some Tecpro equipment. To our surprise we found the Canford team only too happy to help, and they’ve kindly supplied a complete Tecpro system to include their high performance headsets designed specifically for communications.”

Tecpro is manufactured by Canford in Washington, Tyne and Wear. It is the wired intercom system of choice for theatres worldwide, conference facilities, live performances and more recently has been used throughout the North Sea offshore industry where system reliability, audio clarity and speech intelligibility must be without doubt as operators lower multi-million pound Remote Operated Vehicles (ROVs) into the ocean.

Canford has supported several charitable organisations around the North East region through its Community Foundation Fund, the most recent beneficiary being Newcastle based Radio Tyneside who were able to upgrade their radio studio which broadcasts to patients of Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, Freeman and Gateshead's Queen Elizabeth hospitals.

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