The Hills Are Alive…

with state-of-the art wireless microphones that allow audiences, no matter where they sit, to hear every word spoken on our stage as if sitting in the front row.

Omozé Idehenre uses a wireless mic in Spunk

Omozé Idehenre uses a wireless mic in SPUNK; photo by Kevin Berne.

Thanks to our generous partners at Meyer Sound Laboratories in Berkeley, and their friends at Sound Associates in Yonkers, NY, Cal Shakes will implement wireless microphones for all shows this season. In our ongoing quest to provide access to everyone, we enlisted their help to ensure that audience members never have to strain to hear our actors.

“I am so grateful to Helen and John Meyer and their colleagues at Sound Associates for providing us a tool to enable an equal audio experience for everyone in our audience, regardless of where they sit,” says Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone.

The weather at the Bruns can get windy, and when the trees rustle, sometimes people have to strain to hear.  Even on a perfect night, it’s hard for some people who have difficulty hearing. And this system has the capacity to lift the voice with subtlety and nuance that provides everyone the ability to hear the great words of Shakespeare, Wilde, Montoya, and of every writer we bring to our stage.” Other theaters—the Old Globe in San Diego and Shakespeare in the Park in New York—have already gone this route, but Cal Shakes is the first Bay Area theater to incorporate this subtle yet effective technology on a regular basis.

Meyer Sound designed an entire system to help Cal Shakes accomplish this goal. New for this season will be Meyer’s coveted “UPQ” loudspeakers, as well as a six-speaker “MINA” line-array dedicated to reinforcing the actors’ voices. Our approach to reinforcing the actors with microphones will be similar to the San Francisco Opera: to maintain the delicate balance of giving enough reinforcement without allowing the show to sound artificial. Our goal is that audiences will not notice this change on a conscious level; they will simply find themselves more relaxed and able to enjoy more of the actors’ performances.

Meyer Sound Laboratories is a leading top-tier manufacturer for professional audio applications, and have been in the vanguard of audio systems research since the company was founded in 1979 by John and Helen Meyer. Along the way, Meyer Sound has been granted 34 patents as well as countless research and development awards. We are fortunate to have such awesome neighbors! (No, really, they’re like two blocks from our offices.)

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