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LSI Projects at The Royal Opera House

the London Royal Opera House outsideLSI Projects have had an account with Canford since at least 2000, and in that time, they have supplied LSI with no end of cable, MDUs, 19” racks, patchbays and other audio and installation items. LSI themselves have been in business for 27 years installing lighting, sound, and audio visual systems and equipment into theatres, television studios, conference centres, hotels, schools, colleges, universities, and cinemas. Another type of venue is Opera Houses, which LSI have had a run of recently – ROH Muscat, Dubai Opera and, most recently, the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London.

As part of the overall £50.7m Royal Opera House refurbishment, LSI Projects were fortunate to be awarded works in 5 spaces as part of the ‘Open Up’ project: The Linbury Theatre, The Clore Studio, Restaurant Level 5, and the Paul Hamlyn Hall and the Front of House foyer spaces.

The Open Up Project

The main idea behind this was to ‘open up’ the Front of House areas with inviting new entrances, extended foyers and terraces and a new café, bar and restaurant, together with an extensive programme of ticketed and free daytime events, activities and festivals for people of all ages and to make the Royal Opera House open to the public every day from 10am.

LSI installed the AV cable and facility panel infrastructure to a design from the consultants ARUP. This included 630 tie lines, across audio, data, and video feeds, as well as Canford custom SMPTE camera cables, which allow broadcast quality signals to be fed into the ROH system.

The Linbury Theatre

Inside teh Royal Opera House

Previously called the Linbury Studio, this completely refurbished 400 seat venue, acts as a flexible format (thrust, proscenium, or in the round) performance space for smaller scale productions of both opera and ballet, as well as for other shows, concerts, product launches, exhibitions, and dinners.

Working to the consultant Charcoal Blue’s design, LSI supplied and installed the AV cable infrastructure, and facility panels, but this time with over 1600 tie lines across audio, video, data, fibre, MADI (Multichannel Audio Digital Interface), and loudspeaker feeds, and 25 specialist hybrid camera cables.

All the tie lines are fed back to a central sound rack room, where they can be re-distributed to almost anywhere in the building. This alone involves 9 large Canford-ES 19” racks, 2250 cables, and 4500 terminations!

Marcus Rice is one of LSI’s Sound Project Managers: “Having the end user (The ROH Sound Department) onsite was actually a blessing, as we could discuss all aspects of the installation regularly and answer their questions. They could also help with any integration require of old system i.e. paging and legacy cables. Every aspect of the project was made more challenging because the building was live. We had to limit some activities (i.e. drilling etc) to certain hours of the day, deliveries had to be timed so that we didn’t clash with the ROH turning around of show sets, food deliveries, etc, as well as other building work deliveries.”

The Clore Studio

The Clore Studio is a 170 seat space used by the ROH Education Department, as well as a small rehearsal space for the Royal Ballet.

LSI’s Richard Fearne was in charge of the work in this particular area:  “With the Clore Studio being used for more live video streaming it was becoming apparent that the existing fixed high level lighting positions were no longer suitable for broadcast use. The angles were too steep and the rigging and focusing had to be carried out using access equipment, leading to longer turn- around times.

The solution was a truss system that could be dropped in for rigging and then flown out to a working height.”

LSI supplied and installed a 7m x 13m box truss hanging from 4 x 1 tonne motors, with various facility panels which also had to be fitted to the truss and included a bespoke cable management system. In addition, some existing lighting circuits also needed to be extended, as well as new tie lines for audio and camera feeds.

Restaurant Level 5

A 230 cover restaurant, it has great views from its terrace of Covent Garden Piazza. As with The OpenUp project, a similar system was required here, installing a paging system which has automatic volume level adjustment. The main difference in this space is that it required zoning for more localised control, so that paging can be turned off in different areas while an event is occurring in that area yet leaving the paging on elsewhere. The terrace outside the restaurant was glazed to create a ‘ Winter Garden’, where LSI also installed some paging speakers, data, and hybrid camera cables, as well as refurbishing existing facility panels. 

Paul Hamlyn Hall

In the days of the Covent Garden fruit and veg market, this glass and iron structure was used as a flower market, then a scenery store, before being integrated into the ROH in 1999. In the course of the redevelopment the entire floor was lifted in 2017 to allow space for the box office and extended cloakroom area below. It now houses a champagne bar and restaurant for patrons during performance intervals, and in the daytime is home of Tea at the Royal Opera House.

LSI protected existing infrastructure where they could and replaced it where it was damaged either as part of the project i.e for the new staircase down to the main foyer, or accidental damage when the entire floor was replaced in August 2017.  They also added extra data and camera points. 

Across all 5 spaces, Canford supplied over 16.5km of Cat6a cable, 40 Ghielmetti audio patch panels, 15 ES 19” racks, custom and standard angled fibre patch panels, EMO mains power units, standard and custom fibre cable, and SMPTE camera cables.

Richard Bunting, LSI’s Operations Manager: “Canford are a joy to work with – they just get it done. 9 ½ times out of 10 they work like clockwork, but on those rare occasions something does go wrong, they will pull out all the stops to fix it. Having had the good fortune to visit both their Washington and Portland facilities - a nicer bunch of friendly and professional people you will be harder to find”

Having completed this amazing project, LSI are moving on to their next one……… another Opera House! This time, in the Middle East, but again ably supported by Canford Audio.

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