In the beginning

Welcome Forums Memories and Discussions In the beginning

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    Andrew Jenner

    Nearly 50 years ago Keith Bennett, lighting designer for the Banbury operatic, invited me, Stephen Jakeman, Robin Watts, Roger Moon, and my parents, Roger and Lavinia, to see the house that he had been asked to help convert the servants quarters into a 70-seater theatre deep in the village of Little Tew, the home of Fred and Val. We all stayed very close friends, working to make Val’s dream come true. We all worked long hours digging, painting, wallpapering, building sets, and making costumes, on a tight budget to get the theatre off the ground. If I was to start writing memories the web master would close me down for overheating the site, but from nightingales singing on the roof in response to the recorded sound effects being used, to filling Fred’s fermenting brew with a crust of cigarette ends in the first Hay Fever. Sad that time has moved on but it remains a period of my life that I wouldn’t have missed or changed. Fred and Val had a profound influence on many people’s live’s, mine included.

    Graham Rousell

    Now that’s generated some memories Andrew! I became involved in 1977 after following an advert in the local free newspaper for a “Sound Engineer”. Having the interest and some of the technology, but nowhere to put it to any use it seemed the perfect opportunity. Fred introduced me me to the place, and onto the Set, just after Midsummer Night’s Dream. The set was incredible. I then realised I wanted to take a part in this venture. My predecessor, Gordon, had to leave for his homeland in the US, but had already set a high expectation from previous performances.
    Fast forward a few years having built the speakers, mixing desk, amplifiers, phone-ring generator, and talkback/sound relay system, work commitments meant it was difficult to make the journey back in time for the midweek performances. I sadly had to part company handing over the reigns to a young gent called Daniel (I wonder what he’s up to now?).
    Many more thoughts, too many for here now, but maybe I’ll add some more as time goes on.
    Best memory… probably the flypast of Hurricane, Spitfire and Lancaster at the end of Flarepath, all recorded individually at Duxford in Binaural, then mixed into 4-channel surround sound, so they “flew over the audience”. The experience of seeing many audience members duck was a joy!
    Worst experience… One end to a show required tape reels to be swapped to play out the finale music (@7.5 ips) and change to “The Queen” (@3.75ips). Normally no problem, except that one night the tape speed didn’t get changed (too much Hooky??). The resulting experience saw the audience rising from their seats at double speed, hearing strings an octave higher but then sliding to the correct speed and pitch. After that all recordings were at the same speed!!

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