He who has no job… Chris on sitting in the Open Seat

        

Chris is in his fourth year studying MBChB Medicine in his fifth year at the University of Leeds, and is the Backstage Open Seat 17/18.

Open Seat is 100% a role which you have to mould for yourself and find where you fit within the committee”

Now a washed up former President, I’ve been Open Seat (who?) for the past year – a role which no one, including me, really knows what they do. However, I’ll try and clear it up…

I would say Open Seat is 100% a role which you have to mould for yourself and find where you fit within the committee, which as you get to know each other becomes clearer, as you all pick up on all your strengths and weaknesses.

“Occasionally I get to be a bit more serious if other members of committee are particularly busy and in that case I sometimes pick up some of their responsibilities”

As someone who has been on committees previously, as well as working in LUU – one of my roles has been offering a perspective on what has been done in the past, or being able to share a lil’ bit of knowledge from the past 5 years which may help come to a decision (although often not needed!). Compared to being President last year, Open Seat is way more fun too (cue Erinna getting annoyed at me), but occasionally I get to be a bit more serious if other members of committee are particularly busy and in that case I sometimes pick up some of their responsibilities, whether that be checking the society emails, updating the website or attending meetings with societies or LUU if someone can’t make it!

“Being on committee won’t stop you from being able to still work on shows and juggle time with your studies”

It’s also important to stress, whilst being on committee is a commitment (surprise, surprise), it won’t stop you from being able to still work on shows and juggle time with your studies – I’ve managed to work on 4 shows this year, including Sister Act and Exposé. I’d argue it helps you to make the most of your time by being busy and manage it even better!

Being Open Seat for the past year and committee in total for two has been a fantastic experience, allowing me to grow in confidence, pick up new skills and most importantly make the best of friends! So, please do it and run.

Posted on 8th March 2018, by Chris and Sarah.

Presidential Post

 

Chris is in his 4th year at the University of Leeds, studying MBChB Medicine.

Over the course of the year, as President I’m responsible for organising and overseeing the running of the society, as well as being the key contact (alongside the Secretary) for Backstage. I chair our weekly Committee meetings and have the joyful responsibility of writing a sick annual review for the AGM. Alongside the rest of the Exec, I’m also responsible for maintaining a friendly, healthy relationship with the other performing societies, union staff and our regular hire companies.

“I’m responsible for organising and overseeing the running of the society, as well as being the key contact (alongside the Secretary) for Backstage.”

This year, in part due to my involvement as Technical Supervisor at LUU, my role has also extended into looking at equipment procurement for the ongoing Theatre Upgrade – going forward the Backstage President will sit alongside myself and other key LUU members at the Theatre Upgrade Meetings to help guide LUU’s vision for its theatres over the coming year.

“whilst it can be stressful and time-consuming at times, it is fully worth it for the final reward!”

I’ve had great fun sitting as President this year and whilst it can be stressful and time-consuming at times, it is fully worth it for the final reward!

P.S. In the event that another Committee member can’t fulfil their duties, the President is responsible for covering their duties until further notice.

If you have any further questions regarding my role on committee then please do contact me via president@luubackstage.com and I will do my best to give you some more insight.

Posted on 14th March 2017, by Chris.

Ghost Sound Design

GhostGhost kiss

 

As soon as the designers’ call came out for Ghost, I knew I wanted to get involved with a show which has such a musically interesting, emotional score. Despite being a new member of Backstage, I was fortunate enough to be able to co-sound design with Kat!

 

As you will have noticed if you crewed or came and saw the show, you will have noticed the lack of band in the usual place at the front of the Riley stage. I knew the production team wanted the band to be in flies backstage and bringing this into consideration had to be the starting point of the design. With the band in flies, I had to think about how the band would be heard by the audience and secondly, how the band would hear each other as well as hearing the cast. I wanted to make the band as “electric” and acoustically silent as possible, reducing the amount of acoustic sound that could spill onto the stage from one side, which would’ve sounded out of place. All the guitars, keyboards and drums passed through DI boxes (Direct Input) which were connected straight to our mixer, completely avoiding using amplifiers in the pit, leaving just the strings and wind instruments making actual acoustic noise in flies! This obviously left a problem about how the band could hear each other! For the first time for a few years, we decided to give each member of the band an individual headphone mix, allowing each player the flexibility to choose how much of each instrument or singers they wanted to hear. To achieve this, we had to borrow a couple of headphone amplifiers from LSR, whilst also using all the sends on our multicore.

 

The desk of choice was the Si Compact 24 – a desk BSS will come more and more accustomed with as we move into the “Refec Riley”. Using this digital desk allowed us add effects such as compression, gates and graphic EQ to every send, to have full control over all our aux sends (10 headphone mixes, 4 groups (Radio Mics, Ambients, Band and Playback)), as well as allowing the faders to be arranged to make it as easy as possible to mix.

 

For Ghost, I set up a network in the Riley to allow us to have control over the projectors, as well as being able to network the sound desk giving us access to the Soundcraft iPad app, which let us control the sound desk from anywhere in the room. This was particularly useful when setting up the headphone mixes for the band, as we could sort them all out whilst being in flies by being with each band member as we mixed them.

 

In terms of mic-ing the cast, due to budget we decided to use four radio microphones, an SM58 in each wing for off stage singing and using all of our ambients. Whilst it would’ve been ideal to have more radio microphones, having the band isolated allowed us to bring the mix right down when cast members without microphones had solo lines and once fully rung out, the ambients can provide a lot to the overall sound!

 

Ghost allowed us to experiment with putting the band in an unusual place, using in ear headphone mixes, more video monitors and networking the Riley, giving people the chance to use new pieces of kit, whilst also contributing to one of the most exciting shows I’ve worked on! If you have any questions about the Ghost sound design or anything about sound in general, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me on Facebook or by email (chrismorris.a@gmail.com).

Posted on 5th December 2015, by Chris.