Malvern College, UK

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As part of the theatre refurbishment at Malvern College, J&C Joel supplied a range of their stage engineering and drapery services to the main auditorium and studio.

Malvern College is an independent coeducational day and boarding school in Malvern, Worcestershire, England. Its theatre originally opened in 1903 as a gymnasium, but in 2018 it underwent a huge refurbishment and transformed into an impressive theatrical venue.

The theatre of Malvern College is used for a range of performances such as theatrical, dance, music concerts and fashion shows, it is also commonly used as a lecture hall, so it was important that the services J&C Joel provided were flexible.

J&C Joel began by installing a 36m curved mild steel catwalk above the auditorium and the curved seating area. This allowed a walkway for the theatre crew to access lights suspended above the auditorium.

Over the stage and auditorium, J&C Joel provided four steel ladder bars made from 48mm tube for the suspension of lighting and scenery. A split tension wire grid was also supplied by J&C Joel comprising of a total of 12 SkyDeck modular systems measuring 2.2m by 1.8m, to provide full safe access above the auditorium.

Over the stage area J&C Joel also supplied and installed two ETC Prodigy hoists with ladder bars. These were mainly for the raising and lowering of stage lighting and stage curtains.

On one of the ladder bars a 10m walkalong Triple E UniTrack was installed. From which J&C Joel’s Wool Serge 565 (WS090) were hung. Each measured a width of 5m by a drop of 4.9m, manufactured with 50% fullness, headed with Golf Bag Hooks to be attached to the track and finished with a Jack Chain base.

The use of a walkalong Triple E UniTrack was significant for meeting the multipurpose requirement of the theatre, as it meant the drapes could be pulled along the track. The result of this was an effortless movement of the blackout drapes transforming the space from open to closed and vice versa, forming a backdrop across the stage or alternatively disappearing out of view, depending on the requirements of a specific performance.

J&C Joel also met the multipurpose requirement of the theatre by installing a portable stage which could be configured into three separate layouts for stage extension, seating tiers and in the round formats.

The studio (located in the theatre’s foyer) was also used as a multipurpose venue, changing from a foyer to a teaching room and a small drama studio. This meant that the drapes provided for this space had to be movable too.

Therefore, J&C Joel provided perimeter drapery consisting of five Wool Serge 565 (WS090) drapes measuring a width of 3m by a drop of 4m, manufactured with 50% fullness. The drapes were attached to Triple E UniTrack which surrounded the perimeter of the 64m2  studio space. This was ideal as it allowed the perimeter drapery to be manually pulled open and closed with ease, quickly transforming the room from isolated to open.

Wool Serge 565 (WS090) was the perfect fabric for this space because of its excellent acoustic, masking and blackout properties, which meant that when the curtains were pulled to isolate the space, the noise from outside of the enclosed space would be reduced and the natural light from outside the windows was blocked.