• The Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester


  • Sound Designer
  • Ableton programmer

I was approached to design the initial month-long run of this new show, set predominantly in an all-inclusive holiday resort in Mexico. The show was completely immersive, with stages on both sides and catwalks running through the audience. This, combined with live vocals and speech needing to be audible above nightclub levels of music, presented a unique challenge in maintaining intelligibility and headroom, while also providing localisation with the performers often intermingled within the audience. On the other hand, some scenes were much quieter and intimate and called for a very realistic, localised design.

I chose industry-standard DPA4066 headset microphones, augmented in certain numbers with Sennheiser G3 wireless handhelds. Due to the high levels of noise (with performers often directly in front of the PA, and audience screaming), all performers wore Sennheiser G3 IEMs.

A single keys player-cum-MD was responsible for all the music; predominantly multichannel track augmented by live keyboards. The whole show was underscored with lots of loops – all programmed in Ableton Live 10 with various automatic patch changes and ambisonics plugins to automate panning around the room with the help of custom MAX4LIVE plugins. Operation was on a Yamaha QL5, with various EM Acoustics speakers; a Yamaha TF-Rack provided monitoring for all performers, and a Yamaha DME64n provided all the nodal delays integral to the zones and providing accurate localisation. The mix position was in amongst the action – on the floor, surrounded by audience and performers.

The show ran for a month to great critical acclaim.

About the show

In Club Mex you are on the dancefloor in the heart of the action, joining Mel and her two best mates as they experience the highs, lows and hangovers of Cancun in a heart-warming coming-of-age comedy. Club Mex has a script penned by Tamar Broadbent, one of the UK’s most exciting emerging female stand-up comedians, and an infectious, original musical score by John-Victor that fuses pop, dance and musical theatre.

Grab your flip-flops…we’ll see you in Mexico!