Meet Milton Court at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama

November 15, 2013

The Guildhall School of Music & Drama is widely recognized for the quality of its teaching and its outstanding graduates. Now the School has a new performing arts center at Milton Court in the heart of the City of London, which will complement their existing facilities to provide much needed state-of- the-art teaching and performing spaces.

The £89 million building brings together several distinct performance spaces under one roof. It includes a 608-seat concert hall, a 227-seat theatre, a flexible studio theatre, three major rehearsal rooms, and a TV studio suite. Designed to provide dedicated additional training space for the Guildhall School, Milton Court offers a world-class environment for students to perform in and practice their craft. The School’s vision for Milton Court goes beyond providing support for students; it also aims to enhance artistic provision and activity in the local community through its relationships with the Barbican and its artistic partners, including the Barbican’s two new Associate Ensembles, the Academy of Ancient Music and Britten Sinfonia.

Theatre Projects worked closely with RHWL Arts Team to design and specify theatre equipment systems in every performance space in the building including production lighting, sound and communications, and stage engineering solutions. We also provided conceptual and schematic design for the auditoriums and stages in the building.


World class teaching, rehearsal, and performance spaces

The School’s high international reputation for excellence set the tone for the design team’s approach. Each of the performance spaces was designed with the learning process in mind, but was also built to provide a performance environment to match the most technically advanced professional theatres in the UK today.

Concert Hall
The centerpiece of Milton Court is a beautiful Concert Hall with seating on two levels and adjustable acoustics to accommodate a variety of performance types — from solo recitals, to chamber music ensembles, to full-sized symphony orchestra concerts. It was conceived as a training experience for music students, and because of the different demands placed upon it by the School’s broad music curriculum, it’s designed to be turned around quickly between different formats. On any given day, it might be used for rehearsals in the morning, a lunchtime recital or an evening jazz concert.

The largest of any of the London conservatoires, the Concert Hall fills a gap in the city’s professional performance venues. In addition to the Guildhall School’s 100-plus annual public performances at Milton Court, the Concert Hall will also host a year-round program of classical and contemporary music presented by the Barbican and its artistic partners, alongside one-off special events and programs from the Barbican and Guildhall School’s joint Creative Learning division. It’s also home to the School’s own symphony orchestra, the Guildhall Symphony Orchestra.

Theatre
The school’s new multilevel proscenium theatre was designed as an ideal teaching and training environment as well as a fully working theatre to accommodate professional standard productions. Here actors will learn to connect with audiences and project their voices in a safe and comfortable environment, while students interested in the technical side of theatre can practice using the latest and most sophisticated stage technologies in an adaptable space with a full fly tower. The theatre includes a fully automated power flying system, orchestra pit elevators to control the adaptable forestage area, and the latest production lighting, sound, and audio-visual facilities.

Studio Theatre
Flexibility is key for the Studio Theatre at Milton Court, so it was designed with a high technical specification. The space is designed to complement the School’s other theatres and provide students with an experience of performing in an intimate, adaptable space. Seating can be arranged in various configurations for up to 128 audience members, including endstage, in the round, and traverse, giving students a taste of the different theatre formats they will work in during their professional careers. There’s also a technical gallery that runs the perimeter of the room and a tension wire grid with a concealed access void from behind stage level to allow for easy and safe access to the grid, providing a technical training experience for students that is different from the School’s other venues.

Other spaces
The School’s new facilities also include a TV studio suite and three rehearsal rooms. They are each fitted with state-of-the- art equipment and are designed to meet the requirements of the School’s curriculum and rehearsal needs. The rehearsal rooms all have sprung floors and are exactly the same size as one of the School’s new or existing theatres, allowing productions to be transferred easily to the stage.


Increased outreach and community engagement opportunities

One of the key objectives of Milton Court is to enhance the School’s association with the Barbican and LSO, promoting the alliance between the three institutions as the world’s leading centre for performance, training, and education in the performing and visual arts. The new facilities also allow the School to offer more outreach and community engagement activities through its Creative Learning programme, a joint initiative with the Barbican.


Performance lighting technical details

Concert Hall

Control

  • 2 Grand MA 2 Light Main and back up consoles

Dimming
  • ETC Matrix Sine Wave silent dimming
  • 87 dual 3kw dimmer modules
  • 2 5kw dimmers
  • 31 dual 3kw non-dim modules
  • 6 5kw non-dims
  • 24 3kw orchestra dimmers

Instruments
  • 5 lighting trusses
  • ETC Source 4 Pars Tungsten Halogen concert platform lighting
  • Low energy worklight fixtures
  • 12 ADB Warp M fanless moving profiles 12-30 degrees
  • 12 ADB Warp M fanless moving profiles 22-50 degrees
  • 12 Martin MAC 700 moving spots
  • 12 Martin TW1 moving wash lights
  • 6 Robert Juliat 611 SX 11/26 1.2kw
  • 12 Robert Juliat 614 SX 16/35 1.2kw
  • 6 Robert Juliat 61
  • 12 ETC Source 4 PAR 750w

Follow spots
  • 2 Robert Juliat Super Korrigan 1200w HMI
  • 200A TPN Company Switch for temporary lighting installations 

 

Proscenium Theatre

Control
  • 2 ETC Gio control console (Main and back up)

Dimming
  • ETC Sensor 3 Dimming
  • 172 dual 3kw dimmer module with some thru-power modules for use as required
  • 13 dual 5kw dimmer module
  • 96 3kw non-dim
  • 10 5kw non-dim
  • 10 3kw orchestra dimmer

Instruments
Profiles
  • 10 ETC Source 4 14 ° 750w
  • 10 ETC Source 4 19 ° 750w
  • 10 ETC Source 4 26 ° 750w
  • 10 ETC Source 4 36 ° 750w
  • 10 ETC Source 4 50 ° 750w
  • 12 iris for above
  • 12 Robert Juliat 611 SX 11/26 1.2kw
  • 12 Robert Juliat 614 SX 16/35 1.2kw
  • 12 Robert Juliat 613 SX 28/54 1.2kw

Fresnels and PCs
  • 24 ADB F101 1.2kw Fresnel
  • 12 ADB F201 2Kw Fresnel
  • 4 ADB CH50 5kw Fresnel
  • 12 ADB C103 1kw PC
  • 12 ADB C203 2kw PC
  • 2 Arri Daylight Compact Theatre 2500w HMI with mechanical dowser

Wash and beam lanterns
  • 24 PAR 64 (12 x CP61 12 x CP62 typically)
  • 20 Source 4 PAR 750w
  • 12 PAR 16 Birdy 75w

Floods
  • 12 Selecon Lui 4 Cell 1kw
  • 12 Selecon Lui 4 Cell 1kw (Ground Row)
  • 12 Selecon Lui single cell 1kw flood

Follow spots
  • 2 Robert Juliat Lucy 1200w HMI

Scrollers
  • 20 Rainbow 8" Scroller
  • 6 Rainbow 12" Scroller

Moving lights
  • 12 ETC Source 4 Revolution with iris, static, rotating and shutter modules
  • 12 Martin TWI Wash Light

Effects
  • 1 MDG Atmosphere Touring Hazer
  • 1 Look Solutions Viper 2.6 and fan

Media server
  • 1 Green Hippo Hippotizer HD Media Server
  • 2 Foxbox 4G DVI extenders
  • Company Switch temporary lighting power 200A 3-phase
  • 4 ETC Smartpack 12way 10A portable dimmer 

 

Studio Theatre

Control
  • 2 ETC Gio control console (Main and back up)

Dimming
  • ETC Sensor 3 Dimming
  • 144 3kw dimmer with some thru-power modules available
  • 12 5kw dimmer module
  • 16 3kw non-dim

Instruments
Profiles
  • 10 ETC Source 4 14 ° 750w
  • 8 ETC Source 4 19 ° 750w
  • 8 ETC Source 4 26 ° 750w
  • 8 ETC Source 4 36 ° 750w
  • 4 ETC Source 4 50 ° 750w
  • 4 iris for above
  • 12 Robert Juliat 611 SX 11/26 1.2kw
  • 12 Robert Juliat 614 SX 16/35 1.2kw
  • 12 Robert Juliat 613 SX 28/54 1.2kw

Fresnels and PCs
  • 12 ADB F101 1.2kw Fresnel
  • 12 ADB C103 1.2kw PC
  • 6 ADB F201 2Kw Fresnel
  • 6 ADB C203 2kw PC

Wash and beam lanterns
  • 6 Source 4 PAR 750w
  • 6 PAR 16 Birdy 75w

Floods
  • 12 Selecon Lui Single Cell 1kw
  • 8 Selecon Lui 4 Cell 1kw

Moving lights
  • 4 ADB Warp M12/30 with colour changer
  • 4 Martin Mac TW1 wash light

Effects
  • 1 Look Solutions Viper 2.6 and fan

Media server
  • 1 Green Hippo Hippotizer HD Media Server
  • 2 Foxbox 4G DVI extenders
  • Company Switch temporary lighting power 63A 3-phase
  • 2 ETC Smartpack 12way 10A portable dimmer 

 

TV Studio Suite

Dimming and controls
  • ETC Smartfade 24/96 lighting control desk
  • ETC Sensor 3 Dimming
  • 44 3kw dimmer
  • 4 5kw dimmer
  • 4 5kw non-dim
  • 6 Arri Junior 1000 Plus pole operated lanterns
  • 6 Arri Junior 650 Plus pole operated lanterns
  • 6 Arri Studio Cool 4 bank DMX fluorescent pole operated lanterns
  • Company Switch temporary lighting power 63A 3-phase

Video editing suite
  • TV lighting instruments and accessories

Sound and communications technical details

Concert Hall

Control
  • 1 Yamaha LS9-32 Digital mixing console
  • Yamaha DME processing and MADI digital audio network
  • 1 Yamaha M7CL-48 Digital mixing console

Instruments
  • Meyer M’elodie line array powered speaker system with Meyersound Galileo RMS
  • Flown Left & Right speaker arrays
  • 18 Meyersound Melodie RMS
  • 2 Meyersound 600HP RMS Subs
  • Front fill speakers
  • 2 Meyersound M1D RMS
  • Portable Stage L&R speakers (loose)
  • 2 Meyersound UPJ RMS
  • Stage Monitor wedge speakers (loose)
  • 4 Meyersound UPM-1P (narrow)
  • 2 Meyersound UPM-100P (wide)
  • Camstage film screen
  • 15K ANSI Lumens HD Projector

Communications
  • Stage Managers desk with show control touchscreen and paging control
  • Cuelight master station and 8 portable cuelights
  • Video show relay with infra red light source
  • Sennheiser infra red assisted listening system with 10 receiver sets
  • Clearcom ring intercom
  • 4 Radio intercom beltpacks and lightweight headsets
  • 6 Clearcom wired beltpacks and heavy duty headsets

Sound recording equipment
  • 1 Apple Mac Pro with Digidesign ProTools HD3 computer interface
  • 1 Digidesign C24 Control Surface
  • 1 Soundfield DSF-1 microphone 

 

Proscenium Theatre

Control
  • Yamaha LS9-32 console
  • Yamaha DME and associated AES-EBU network

Instruments
  • Flown Left, Centre, Right speakers
  • 2 d&b E12D (centre)
  • 6 d&b E8
  • 2 d&b E15X
  • Front fill speakers (stage and pit edge)
  • 8 d&b E0
  • Stage Effects speakers (loose)
  • 2 d&b E12
  • 2 d&b E8
  • Personal monitor speakers (loose)
  • 4 Fostex 6301BX
  • 18 Auditorium Surround Loudspeakers

Recording and playback equipment
  • 1 CD player
  • 1 Mini Mac Effects Playback System (QLAb Pro)

Communications
  • Stage Managers desk with show control touchscreen and paging control
  • Cuelight master station and 16 portable cuelights
  • Video show relay with infra red light source
  • 4 Radio intercom beltpacks and lightweight headsets
  • 12 Clearcom wired beltpacks and heavy duty single muff headsets
  • Sennheiser infra red assisted listening system with 5 receiver sets
  • Audio Describers unit 

 

Studio Theatre

Control
  • Yamaha LS9-16 console
  • Yamaha DME and associated AES-EBU network

Instruments
  • d&b E series loudspeakers and amplifiers
  • 2 d&b E12
  • 4 d&b E8
  • 2 d&b E
  • 2 d&b E15X subs
  • All of the above are driven by d&b D12 and D6 power amplifiers, with remote management via d&b R70 CANBUS interface

Recording and playback equipment
  • 1 CD player
  • 1 Mini Mac Effects Playback System (QLAb Pro)

Communications
  • Stage Managers desk with show control touchscreen and paging control
  • Cuelight master station and 8 portable cuelights
  • Video show relay with infra red light source
  • 6 Clearcom wired beltpacks and heavy duty single muff headsets
  • Sennheiser infra red assisted listening system with 5 receiver sets

TV Studio

  • Installed rehearsal sound system with CD, Ipod and Aux input
  • 4 powered RCF 312A loudspeakers

Communications
  • Clearcom ring intercom power supply
  • 6 Clearcom wired beltpacks and heavy duty single muff headsets 

 

Rehearsal Rooms

  • Installed rehearsal sound system with CD, Ipod and Aux input
  • 4 powered RCF 312A loudspeakers
  • Portable rehearsal unit with CD, Ipod and Aux input and 2 passive RCF 312 speakers

Stage engineering technical details

Concert Hall

Platform
  • Platform depth of 6.5m. 8m, 10.5m and12.375m
  • 14 short travel platform as Orchestra Risers
  • Piano elevator from substage level to platform
  • 5 forestage elevators with seating wagons
  • Stage Technologies Nomad control and integrated E-Stop system
Overhead
  • 15 Stage Technologies Ch:i Network chain hoists on runway beams
  • 5 Flown overhead lighting truss each 9.5m long on Big Tow winches
  • Upstage wraparound black masking on flown bars
  • Loudspeaker hoists on runway beams
Adjustable acoustics
  • 18 J&C Joel acoustic roller banners drop from soffit
  • 3 Overhead acoustic reflectors on pairs of Big Tow winches 

 

Proscenium Theatre

Performance rigging
  • 33 cross stage power flying bars on Big Tow winches 500kg max at 0 – 1.4m/s
  • 2 up and down stage power flying bars on
  • Big Tow winches 500kg max at 0 – 1.4m/s
  • 3 lighting storage hoists 500kg max
  • 9 Ch:i variable speed network chain hoists on grid stands 1000kg max
Adjustable acoustics
  • Cord-operated curtains at 3 sides of auditorium on technical level
Platform systems
  • Trap area 5.5m x 5.5m in 1.1m panels with 4.5m max depth below stage level
  • 1 Orchestra Pit Elevator to provide variable staging to include:
  • 2 rows of front stalls seating on wagon
  • orchestra pit
  • forestage extension
  • House mix position


Studio Theatre

Performance rigging
  • Tension wire grid
  • Demountable variable height pipe grid
  • Black masking drapery and drops
  • Chain-motor system
  • Rope rigging
  • Black masking drapery and drops 

 

TV Studio Suite

  • Pipe grid at 1.5m centres
  • Wraparound white filled cloth cyc and black masking 

 

Rehearsal Rooms

  • Pipe grid at 1.5m centres
  • Acoustic curtain / mirror-cover

Seating capacities 

Concert Hall

  • Seating capacity of max 608 seats on two levels 

 

Proscenium Theatre

  • Maximum seating capacity of 227 seats on three levels with furthest seat 12.75 metres from the permanent stage edge 

 

Studio Theatre

  • End stage 1 (116 audience)
  • In the round (128 capacity)
  • Traverse (92 capacity)
  • Thrust (124 capacity)
  • Positions for wheelchair users available in all modes at floor level

Our team


Design and construction team


Key contractors

Meet Milton Court at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama
Credit: Morley von Sternberg
Meet Milton Court at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama
Credit: Morley von Sternberg
Meet Milton Court at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama
Credit: Morley von Sternberg
Meet Milton Court at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama
Credit: Morley von Sternberg