Along the gorgeous Brisbane River in Queensland sits the busy and ever changing Powerhouse Theatre. As the name hints, the Powerhouse Theatre was built inside a de-commissioned power station in Brisbane’s suburb of New Farm originally constructed in 1940.
Above: The original New Farm Power Station
Decommissioned in 1971, the old power station sat dormant, becoming a shelter for the homeless as well as an impromptu location for filmmakers and graffiti artists. The building remained abandoned for almost two decades until 1989 when the Brisbane council regained the premises and decided to restore the building’s heritage. The decision was made to convert the interior into a performing arts venue in 2000 under the name of The Powerhouse Theatre. The venue then underwent a further stage of development in 2007 increasing audience capacities, adding a restaurant and bar as well as function and conference spaces.
Above: The Re-vamped Powerhouse Theatre
The Brisbane Powerhouse is now considered a major creative hub hosting a smorgasbord of national acts in theatre, music, comedy, film, visual arts as well as a number of festivals each year.
The Powerhouse venue is comprised of a main, flexible 700+ seat theatre (Powerhouse Theatre), a more intimate 200 seat apron stage theatre (Visy Theatre), an 800 viewer open platform (Turbine Platform), two restaurants, two terraces, a conference room, a number of rehearsal rooms and several offices.
Above: The Visy Theatre
The Powerhouse recently acquired two DiGiCo consoles for use across its spaces. A DiGiCo SD8-24 and SD9 were commissioned along with a DiGi-Rack and a SD8 MADi-Rack.
Tony Childs (Head of Sound at Brisbane Powerhouse), was after a setup that was incredibly reliable and flexible considering the diverse range of applications the venue demanded. The highest quality sound was also a priority for Tony. “We really wanted something that sounded exceptional. We assessed several options but DiGiCo was the clear winner. There’s no question the console sounds excellent. It’s very clean and there’s so much head room.”
Above: The Powerhouse Theatre
Ease of use has also impressed Tony, finding that the same user interface across all of the SD Series consoles has made training new operators a very simple affair. “I love the fact that if you’ve learnt how to use one SD console, you can use any of them. Guys who had learned on an SD8 transition to an SD9 instantly. Keeping console software the same is great for workflow – it just makes sense.”
Effects and snapshot abilities are also a welcomed workflow feature for Tony and his team. ” I’m starting to get into the effects too. I find that controlling dynamics are a breeze with the compressors and its all inside the console. I love the way snapshots and complete shows can be saved in the console. It has cut our setup time dramatically; it’s so fast and simple.”
Tony has also noticed that his team is now extremely eager to work given they will have access to DiGiCo which has made his ability to roster operators a much simpler affair. ” Engineers have been offering to come in to work because they love using the consoles. They know that a lot of the big acts use DiGiCo and they’re excited to work. It’s helped us solve staffing issues.”
Above: The Turbine Platform
With both consoles operating day in day out, feedback has been extremely positive on all fronts.
“I’ve had bands and managers approach me several times now commenting on how good the sound has been; it’s great to have that kind of feedback.”