Issue 28

State of the Art House

The Art House Wyong shows the way for regional theatres.


15 August 2016

The Art House Wyong is a new, much needed fly-tower-equipped performing arts venue in the heart of the NSW Central Coast. The theatre boasts a 500-seat proscenium arch Theatre and a flexible 130-seat ‘Studio’ space, suitable for emerging artists or digitally linked to the Theatre as an orchestra room. Amazingly, this beautiful venue was 100% council funded, and brought in at a relatively modest construction cost of $12.7m. The investment is already reaping dividends for the area, hosting local theatre companies and events along with attracting high-quality touring acts.

Julie Vaughan, Project Manager, The Art House Wyong reflects on the process: “We worked with The P.A. People’s Brett Steele and Chris Dodds on the project. They walked the council through the process and, as a result, the council got amazing value for a regional theatre, and the community is now enjoying a very professional space,” she continued. “We didn’t have to sacrifice on the technical aspects, and we installed industry standard equipment. The lighting and sound equipment we use every day isn’t where the cost savings were made. The equipment that makes the venue run is where the quality is, so the shows don’t suffer.”


Theatre consultant Schuler Shook, with Simon Austin taking the lead, prepared the spec, while The P.A. People installed the heart of The Art House’s technical systems. 

The Theatre’s PA comprises a JBL VRX 900 Series system, with four elements each of VRX932LA-1 at left, centre and right. Two VRX918S subwoofers are flown above centre. Front fill is provided by seven JBL AC18/26s. The rig is powered and processed by a combination of Crown DCi4 and DCi8 amplifiers. Further processing for the back of house system comes courtesy of a BSS BLU-100, also connected to the Dante network.

The Studio’s PA is a more modest yet flexible system of JBL EON615s and 610s that can be flown or tripod-mounted as required. The house mic kit is a mixture of wired and wireless models from Shure.

Yamaha digital mixing desks sit on a Dante backbone, with a QL5 for large shows in the theatre, and a smaller TF1 digital console for the Studio, or smaller, single operator shows. A Yamaha Rio3224-D sits at the Theatre’s prompt side, a Rio1608-D at opposite prompt. A second Rio1608-D is sleeved and can be deployed anywhere on the Dante network as needed. An eight-in Ri8-D and an eight-out Ro8-D are mounted in the bio box for local I/O. Dante sits on a separate switch from the building’s IT network, with the primary and redundant connections run on separate V-LANs. There are 24 dedicated Dante patch points throughout the building.

The Art House:
The P.A. People: (02) 8755 8700 or
Shuler Shook: 0438 382 408 or
Jands (JBL, Crown, Shure, ETC): (02) 9582 0909 or


The stage management console is a custom build  by The P.A. People, and houses a Jands Ezicom 401 master station, a Leon Audio QLM16 MK4 cue light master station, Shure mic and a dual eight-inch LCD video monitors. Comms headsets are from Beyerdynamic, and back-of-house area paging is through a combination of JBL and TOA ceiling and surfacemount loudspeakers.

An ETC Gio takes care of the Theatre’s lighting control, while the Studio is run from a smaller ETC Element 40. The system is built around 20 Jands HPC12 digital dimmers, which control a predominantly LED rig built around ETC Source 4 LED models and Selecon Rama LED Fresnels, flown from Jands JLX-Pro lighting bars. Cyclorama wash is provided from seven Chroma-Q Color Force CF72 LED battens.

The P.A. People also installed Jands curtain tracks in the Studio, 11 LED displays and three cameras for digital signage and performance relay throughout the building and the video infrastructure to support it, including HD-SDI links between the Studio to the Theatre to enable the Studio to be used as an orchestra room.


“It’s great to see local councils building theatres,” said architect Tim Greer of Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects. “They’re very difficult buildings to deliver, with their multiple stakeholders. Wyong, with its limited resources, now have a great asset. It’s terrific they’ve delivered this. There’s a strong culture of theatre and performance groups within the local government area of Wyong who have agitated for this venue for a very long time, and it’s good they’ve got such a great facility.”


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Issue 28