Happy Warriors – Upstairs at the Gatehouse

Simon Pontin and Neil Chinneck in Happy Warriors at Upstairs at the Gatehouse, London. Photo: Mitzi de Margary

In April 2018 we supplied the production of Happy Warriors at the Upstairs at the Gatehouse Theatre in Highgate. Working closely with sound designer Nico Menghini, we supplied a subtle system with a lot of discreet speakers to create an immersive sound design.

The Design

Happy Warriors is a play based in World War II, Set in a old farm house with plenty of German aeroplanes flying above and distant battle field sounds. There was only one solution to create such a sound that would immerse the audience into the production.

“We created a system that allowed us to move sound effects around the space, watching the audience duck and cover as a World War II German Luftwaffe came flying across the auditorium was a delight to watch. Or watching the reaction of the audience when a bomb was dropped in the up stage right corner of the stage, with a massive impact created with L-Acoustics SB18s.”

Nico Menghini – Sound Designer

The System

We supplied a large quanitiy of L-Acoustics 5XT loudspeakers, all rigged right above the audience for a truly immersive experience. This was supplemented by a stereo system of 2x L-Acoustics X8. In addition to this we added 2x L-Acoustics SB18 subwoofers to really recreate that low end for all the flyovers and explosions within the show. All speakers were amplified using 4x L-Acoustics LA4X amplified controllers. The show was designed to work without a sound operator therefore we provided a solution with no sound desk and just a playback system to be controlled by the DSM. This consisted of a dual redundant QLab Apple Mac mini system outputting to multiple Yamaha RO8s being utilised as sound cards. The whole system worked seamlessly on Dante.

The Result

The show was brilliantly received by both press and audience, receiving a standing ovation every performance.  

“Overall, the structure of the play is well realised by Andrew C Wadsworth’s direction, as is the set design (Sorcha Corcoran) which captures the characters in their real-life situation. Adding impact to the setting is the sophistication of Aaron J Dootson’s lighting design which conveys the very air that exists outside the farmhouse, while Nico Menghini’s sound design resonates hard with the weapons of war.”

London Theatre 1 Review ****