Professional Sound - April 2017 - Page 39

Drayton Entertainment began 26 years ago when Alex Mustakas, who still runs the company as artistic director and CEO, convinced the town to convert an old opera house built in 1902 into the 375-seat Drayton Festival Theatre. From its modest beginning, offering only three productions over nine weeks in its first year, Drayton Entertainment has grown immensely, now operating seven theatres that range from 100 to 650 seats in rural communities and small cities: the Dunfield Theatre Cambridge in Cambridge; the Huron Country Playhouse and Playhouse II in Grand Bend; the King’s Wharf Theatre in Penetanguishene; and the St. Jacobs Country Playhouse and the Schoolhouse Theatre in St. Jacobs, in addition to the Drayton Festival Theatre. As well, the scope of productions has grown, with Mustakas and company staging 17 different shows in 2017 that run from March to December, traveling within their own circuit of theatres. But while the number of shows has grown, Drayton Entertainment has remained close to its original mission of offering comedies, musicals, and dramas that appeal to all ages and tastes. For the 2017 season, Drayton Entertainment is staging, among others: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s iconic Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; Million Dollar Quartet, about the infamous day Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and Carl Perkins wound up in the same Memphis studio; Disney’s Beauty & the Beast; and Marathon of Hope, about Terry Fox’s inspirational journey. Mustakas recalled in a Toronto Star profile a few years ago how the communities in which Drayton Entertainment operates had not been exposed to a lot of theatre, but he knew it could work when, during the initial discussions with the community in the early ‘90s, “There was a gentleman in the back row, a prominent farmer, who was stone-faced. Then he said, ‘Our kids grew up on hockey, but why not expose them to theatre?’ Then I knew we had something special.” But what makes Drayton While there are obviously many Entertainment special is not just that it’s advantages to switching from the bringing theatre to small towns; it’s that analog GL consoles to the digital dLives, it’s world-class theatre. Practically every McMillan immediately enthuses that theatre outside of Broadway deals with the dLives’ more compact footprint – 4 budget restrictions, but this doesn’t stop ft. compared to the GLs’ 8-ft. span – has Drayton from hiring some of the best allowed them to move the mix position actors, musicians, directors, and technical in some of the theatres. “Some of our professionals in Canada. mix positions in the theatres are not And, of course, world-class ideal, but now that we’ve gone digital, productions and professionals require the footprint that we would take up to quality tools to do the job. get an ideal mix position is improving. Looking to upgrade and replace So already this year, one of our venues at some dated and worn gear, Drayton Drayton, they’re moving the mix position Entertainment made a major investment because the console’s footprint is the size in audio ahead of the 2017 Season. This it is, it’s been seat-neutral,” he explains. includes three new Allen & Heath dLive “So we’re not losing any seats and audio S7000 digital consoles SENNHEISER 2000 SERIES WIRELESS TRANSMITTERS with DM64 digital heads, eight new Apple Mac Mini computers with Behringer FCA610 interfaces to control eight channels of Figure 53’s QLab, and the largest single acquisition of Sennheiser 2000 Series wireless microphone systems in Canada. All of this was sourced from Drayton Entertainment’s long-time audio partner, Angus Audio, in Cambridge, ON. With seven theatres and usually four shows running simultaneously, the allotment of gear is often determined by the shows’ needs. “The current scenario is that the dLives are going on the three large musicals and then we have a [Behringer] X32 that goes on a smaller musical,” explains Allan McMillan, Drayton Entertainment’s head of audio. “So it’s really that the gear, and the same with the wireless, is spread out by show. The comedies will remain on the Allen & Heath GL consoles, our analog consoles. We’re not in a position right now where we have a dLive in every venue, though that’s where I think we’re going in the future.” 6r7GVǒ&RFRƖRb6v@bFRBV"vBv^( &RFr6FBv2&rW2f"W2f"7W&R( ХvV&WfWvrG&F( 2F0F&W6RFRt24֖V6V@&VƖ&ƗGBFBFRWFF77FVЦVVFVBF&RV7FW6RFFFFFPfFW"6VBBFRV&W"bWG2FRFvFVG2FN( 266&FrF6&"BwW2VFvfW'6rF27@&V6VBW&66R( &VǒvFVBFfP66W72F26V2bf62076&UB7FfR6G&bFR&@6V2vFWBfƗrFFW"vR( Ч62&"( vRVBBfWrFW"66W2'WBVf'GVFVǒFRV&W"bfFW'0VVFVB'&VvBFRfG&BbFR66PWFR֖F5&bBFR3sfRFP6RFV63vWfW"FR3s03bfFW'2FB6&R76vVBF6V0$dU544TB( "3