Brickhouse Theatre Company

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Brickhouse Theatre Company are the resident theatre society of Robinson College. They put on a number of student-led events and productions every year, including plays, musicals and comedy nights. They manage two venues: the 240-seater Robinson Auditorium and the outdoor Maria Bjornson Theatre, which can be found in the college gardens. Opportunities to get involved in shows are open to people from all colleges, not just Robinson.

Brickhouse aims to provide an inclusive space for people of all abilities and levels of experience to get stuck into the Cambridge theatre scene. They also run a twice-annual musical production, which is regarded by some as the best in Cambridge!


The 2019-20 Committee

Presidents - Jonathan Iceton and Phoebe Cramer

Secretary - TBC

Technical Manager - Nick Harris

Treasurer - TBC


Technical Information

The Robinson Auditorium is the largest amateur venue in Cambridge, with a capacity of around 240. Located opposite the Porters’ Lodge in Robinson College, it’s easy to find and not that far out of the city centre (a minute or two past the UL).


Rehearsals

Because the space is regularly used by conferences, rehearsal time in Robinson Auditorium is incredibly limited. Each performance is unique, but normally students expect no more than the weekend prior to the production in the space.


Technical Specifications

Format of stage/audience: Proscenium arch with apron. The projection screen is 2.9m away from the back wall and may be rolled completly out of sight above the stage. There is no flight tower.

Size of visible stage: Width at proscenium arch: 8.96m. Width at back wall: 11.00m. Depth from front of apron to screen: 4.60m. Depth of screen to back wall: 2.9m. Projection Room to screen: 18.00m. Stage height: approx. 0.7m. Height of proscenium arch: 4.00m. Height at back wall: 5.20m.

Audience size: 237 (240 inc. fire stewards)

Backstage facilities: Two dressing rooms to stage right, access to stage left is behind the back curtain. Each dressing room has a toilet, and drinking water is provided by a water cooler backstage.

What entrances/exits onto/off stage are possible: stage right, stage left, through audience stage left stage right.

Load-in doors: Stage right double height double doors open directly opposite the entrance to the theatre workshop. If large set pieces are not being constructed in the theatre workshop, care should be taken to make sure there is enough turning space to get items in / out.

Set-building/set painting facilities: Theatre workshop, available by arrangement with Brickhouse AND the college. Anyone who wishes to access this facility will need permission to sign keys out from the Porters’ Lodge. Some tools are provided by Brickhouse, but please check with them before assuming that you’ll be able to do something. Brickhouse’s tools are marked in a similar way to the ADC tool code system; their code is blue-grey-orange.

The stage is equipped with a pair of blue house tabs which are opened and closed using a hand winch. There are also black tabs midstage and upstage, the upstage ones hiding the backstage get-around. An upstage hemp set is available to hang your own backdrop, and another hemp set just upstage of the projection screen is available to hang drapes from. Finally, there is a leg hung in each wing which serves little purpose as to make the show mask you still need to use the 4 hard maskers; these are 8′ wide and very overengineered (and heavy!) though any unused ones can be stored in the theatre workshop.

Brickhouse has six cans beltpacks and headsets along with a power supply unit that is capable of supporting two communication rings.

Fire precautions are very strict; shows are expected to ensure that all upholstered furniture has valid fire safety labels etc. College staff have been known to ask for a signed letter from ADC Theatre management stating that furniture hired from there is fire retardant, although this has not happened recently. The Stage Manager and other backstage crew must have also attended a briefing with the Head Porter to be shown fire and evacuation procedures.


Lighting

There is a Zero88 Jester 24/48 (with monitor) in the control box, with a memory stack and submasters. This is linked by DMX to the dimmers, which are housed in a cupboard accessed outdoors through the stage left auditorium exit; there are a total of 40 channels, each of which has two outlets ‘A’ and ‘B’. The front of house circuits are patched in the dimmer cupboard; the overstage circuits in the stage left wing. You will need to talk to a member of the Brickhouse Committee to get access to the dimmer cupboard to patch Front of House. Although the patch circuits are labelled as ‘A’ and ‘B’, only the dimmer circuits are paired, so each socket on the bars is independent.

There are two fixed lighting bars front of house, which have a general front wash rigged to be used by Brickhouse shows and conferences alike. It is not generally necessary or advisable to change this for a show, but it can be altered by arrangement (see below). In addition, there are two perches, which can be rigged fairly easily. Overstage, there are three lighting bars, each of which can be lowered to working height with a manual winch.

As of late 2008, the college authorities have changed their policy on rigging and focusing front of house lanterns. This must now be done with the use of scaffolding which must be erected and used only by college staff from the maintenance department. Whilst this makes rigging and focusing front of house much safer, it does mean that it has to be done by college staff who are not necessarily used to focusing lanterns. It is a time consuming process that must be agreed with the college well in advance. Any use of ladders to focus those above the stage must be performed by a ladder trained member of the Brickhouse committee; although focussing with the bars lowered to working height is of course acceptable.

The following lanterns are available:

  • 8x Starlette fresnel
  • 6x Minuette fresnel
  • 5x Sil30 profile
  • 3x Prelude 16/30 profile
  • 3x Par64
  • 1x floorcan
  • 11x ancient cyc flood
  • 1x Minuette profile with internal dimmer and 13A tail
  • 1x Strand Cantata 11/26 1200W follow spot, with internal dimmer and 13A tail (see below)

Not all lanterns have shutters and barndoors available, although there are generally enough to get by. There is a gel stock of significant size, and a few gobos.

Four moving heads are also available, but rigging and controlling these is non trivial so please consult with the Brickhouse TD about using these.

A follow spot is available for use by all Brickhouse shows. This can be rigged on the back row of the auditorium, and as such 17 seats must be reserved if it is to be used. The throw length varies between 15m – 20m.

To view a scale drawing of the stage and lighting rig in the Auditorium, please click here.


Sound

The sound box is fitted with a sliding window and is reasonable soundproof with this closed, with a speaker and headphones to be used as a monitor from the sound desk.

There is a 24-channel mixer with stereo and mono buses, four AUXs and two FX returns. The desk acts as an MP3 player is required, and there are numerous mic tie lines to the stage, and four returns. It is believed that the Auditorium is capable of 5.1 surround sound, so there are three pairs of speakers front of house, and a subwoofer tieline in the USC dip (which is no longer used as standard). The front two pairs are Bose 802IIIs. The amps and a digital Bose EQ are in the control box. Other sources can be connected directly into the mixer.

A float mic is rigged on the rear side of the proscenium arch to pick up ambient stage sound. It does not pick up sound from the apron, however, and it has been known for shows to rig additional microphones on stands to get around this. 4 DI boxes (1/4″ jack input) are available to connect instruments such as keyboards to the sound system.

A few microphones may be available by prior arrangement with the conference department, this includes:

  • 3 (rather old) wired mics
  • 5 headset radio mics
  • 4 hand held radio mics


Metrodeck Staging

Brickhouse Theatre Company has recently invested in new metrodeck staging, which can be used in all of their in-house productions. This includes:

Platforms

  • 2m by 1m (Quantity: 7)
  • 1m by 1m (Quantity: 1)

Legs

  • 25cm (Quantity: 16)
  • 50cm (Quantuty: 16)
  • 1m (Quantity: 24)

Handrails

  • 2m length (Quantity: 6)
  • 1m length (Quantity: 2)

Treads (Stairs)

  • 1m height (Quantity: 4)
  • 50cm height (Quantity: 2)

(All treads are freestanding, meaning that they come with an additional two legs of their respective heights, which are not listed above)

Handrails for Treads

  • For 1m high treads (Quantuty: 8)
  • For 50cm high treads (Quantity: 4)


Pre-Production Meetings

Every production is the subject of a pre-production meeting (PPM) between college authorities, members of the production team and representatives from the Brickhouse Committee. Technical requirements of the show are discussed at the meeting and college authorities are usually very helpful if you mention things at this stage. As of the 2017/18 academic year, a production risk assessment should be submitted to the Brickhouse TD a few days in advance of each show’s PPM so that the relevant college authorities can check it and raise any queries at the PPM.

To read more about pre-production meetings, or if you are a Producer of a Brickhouse show looking for some handy information, check out the following link: [1]

Get Involved

Put on a Show

When applications are open, you can apply using the online form here.

Brickhouse put on at least one play and one musical in the Robinson Auditorium every Michaelmas and Lent term. They also take applications for venue hire, or for external funding at the ADC Theatre or Corpus Playroom. Applications of all types are encouraged, including original writing, but for licensed shows please make sure that the show rights are available before you apply.

Be in a Show

Check out the Brickhouse Camdram page to see the latest vacanies.

Join the Committee

If you think you would be interested in joining next year's committee, please do get in touch! Please note that the roles of President, Treasurer and Secretary must be filled by Robinson students.

Stewarding

Brickhouse relies on volunteer stewards to help run Front of House prior to performances and to act as fire stewards during performances. Perks involve a free ticket to the show and a free ice cream (or soft/warm beverage) in the interval!

All fire stewards must attend a 40 minute briefing with the college's Head Porter.

If you would like to be involved as a Brickhouse steward, email brickhouse@cusu.cam.ac.uk, so that it can be arranged for you to attend the next steward training session.

More Information

For more information, visit the Brickhouse website.

If you have any queries, please get in touch with the committee by emailing brickhouse@cusu.cam.ac.uk