Located in Penge SE20, The Bridge House Theatre is Penge’s first dedicated fringe theatre/venue. Guy Retallack and Rachel Tucker are the duo behind this innovative new space and they’ve kindly shared some of their thoughts about working with Armshouse Group, who were chosen to spec and install the venue’s new sound system.
Situated on the top floor of The Bridge House, Guy and Rachel have created a new and vibrant performance space which has been welcoming audiences since May 2013. In the short time that the venue has been running, it has staged cabarets, comedy nights and showcases for a diverse range of acts and performances. Renovating the space for such use required more than just a lick of paint, the venue also needed a sound system and that’s where Armshouse Group were asked to help by providing a few technical services.
“We asked Hyder from Armshouse Group to help us with putting together a sound system for the theatre because we knew that he had experience with live audio and would be familiar with the sort of shows we were putting on.”
I met with Guy and Rachel at the venue and we spoke about what their plans for the space were, the kind of performances they were planning and what their budget was. With the date of their opening night already announced and selling fast, it was clear that time was tight. We were able to quickly put together a list of items needed to cover the various material The Bridge House Theatre were looking to present.
Just like many of our clients, Guy and Rachel have multiple projects on the go and many people vying for their time and input. We made sure that we understood their requirements so that we didn’t have to bother them needlessly and that we could leave them to focus on producing their event.
“When you’re trying to get an event together, things can develop at a fast pace and there’s nothing more frustrating than having to chase suppliers up for quotes etc. After our meeting with Hyder, we were relieved that he was going to handle that side of things for us, so that we didn’t have to.”
The next time we spoke to Guy and Rachel it was to discuss with them our recommendations for equipment and how much it would cost them to purchase. We had already agreed a fixed fee for the installation, so all that remained was to tweak the quotes in order to make best use of their available budget. All the equipment for the installation was obtained from London based supplier Studiospares as they had a wide range of stock and could deliver in the timeframe required.
“Hyder made it easy for us to understand where our money would be spent and explained the pros and cons of choosing one bit of kit over another. Sound is an important part of any performance space and it was nice to know that we were getting equipment that was right for our current and future needs, not just for our budget.”
Once the equipment had been delivered to the venue, I spent a morning there installing the gear. When it was all setup, I talked Guy through its operation and use until he was confident that he could get the system up and running for any shows which didn’t have an engineer.
Our relation with The Bridge House Theatre didn’t just end when we packed up our tools and went home. We’ve kept in close contact helping to answer questions and advise on ways their new sound system can be used and re-configured to handle the demands of their varied events. When looking for a solutions provider, it often pays to ask about after-sales support. This is often charged as extra or not available at all.
“It would have been relatively easy to look for a PA system online and buy all the bits, but what’s just as crucial to us is the support side of things. Armshouse Group have always been a phone-call or email away whenever we’ve had any queries or questions.”
The Bridge House Theatre continues to expand its line-up of material and the venue is going from strength to strength, attracting a loyal following. We’re delighted to have played a humble part in their beginnings and wish them a continued success.