New State-of-the-Art Facilities for the Arts

Millions of pounds is being spent on the University’s Middleton Hall to offer students some of the finest music facilities around.

The centrepiece of the £9.5m development will be a 400-seater concert hall. The versatile venue will be ideal for classical music concerts, and with adaptable acoustics, it will also be used as a surround-sound cinema and theatre space.

The facilities open October 2016, ahead of Hull’s reign as UK City of Culture in 2017.

Phase one of the development opened 2015, boasting music studios and recording equipment that rivals the best commercial studios.

The studios include a huge 48-channel mixing desk – one of the finest ambisonic studios in the country, meaning that listeners can experience 3D sound. Students can access the studios around the clock and the facilities have already been used for an eclectic range of projects.

More facilities information:

This significant programme of improvements to the hall (originally designed by Sir Leslie Martin) will include:
• New lighting, sound and stage projection equipment.
• A flexible acoustic for concert recording.
• New lighting and audio control room with state-of the-art equipment.
• Surround sound and cinema projection system.
• Multi-speaker sound diffusion kit for spatialisation of musical works
• TV capture and edit suite with remotely controlled cameras in the hall.
• New audience seating and dressing rooms.
• New cafe bar and reception area.

Case study

Tom Wardman

“The facilities make the University stand out.” Tom Wardman, BA Jazz and Popular Music graduate.

Tom Wardman graduated this year with a first class honours in Jazz and Popular Music and was one of the first students to benefit from the studio redevelopment.

He said:

"I remember going to the studio as the shops nearby were closing and coming out of it the next day as they were opening. I was so absorbed in what I was doing, I didn’t realise a whole night had passed!"

Tom is now a professional jazz pianist.

He added:

"The facilities are second to none, and they helped me to achieve exactly what I wanted. I still use a live recording I made in the studios as promotional material. The facilities make the University of Hull stand out."

  • Drama
  • Music
  • Screen

Drama

Middleton HallThe newly refurbished centre will offer high-quality rehearsal space for students and staff working to develop productions that will form part of the public programme at the University.

The newly developed auditorium will give students and staff access to the very latest lighting and sound performance technologies, improving the quality of scenography in all performances. Its design will offer greater comfort to the spectators, improved sightlines, a partially sprung stage floor and a more refined acoustic experience.

This investment will offer a huge boost to Hull theatre makers, building on the success of recent Drama and Music productions and helping to sustain a long and continuing tradition of inter- school performance collaborations.

Past productions have included A Little Night Music (Sondheim), Light in the Piazza (Lucas and Guettel; pictured opposite) and The Coronation of Poppea (Monteverdi).

Music

New Facilities
Middleton Hall will provide a superb space for performers, with excellent acoustics, ample stage space, and a fully equipped auditorium.

The surrounding complex already has a range of brand new cutting-edge studio and rehearsal facilities, including the flagship Duality Recording Studio, which is of a scale and standard rarely seen in higher education. It has a 48-channel SSL Duality SE console and PMC stereo and 5.1 monitoring, alongside high-quality outboard equipment (including Bricasti) and industry standard DAW facilities. A unique 16.4 Ambisonic Studio provides a state-of-the-art insight into 3D surround sound technology and its applications.

In addition to this, a new mixing studio and recording facilities in the hall will complement existing facilities, providing a wide range of spaces for recording and producing music that are in line with professional industry standards. The University’s Salmon Grove Recording Studios were significantly refurbished in the summer of 2013, with a new acoustic design, new equipment (including the installation of the SSL AWS 924 and Avid ICON control surfaces), an enhanced band practice room – all with 24/7 access.

New rehearsal spaces already allow for ensembles of different kinds and sizes to practice in close proximity to the concert hall, and an additional, larger scale space is due for completion in September 2016.

Specific features include/are due to include:
• Two large acoustically treated rehearsal rooms for classical ensembles, bands, early music instruments and percussion.
A substantial recording studio with a 48-channel Solid State Logic Duality SE console, PMC monitoring and Pro Tools HD software.
• A surround sound mixing studio with Pro Tools S6 control surface and Genelec 5.1 monitoring.
A 16.4 Ambisonic (3D) sound studio.
A Loan Centre for reserving and using additional equipment.

Screen

Middleton Hall concept image view from the stage September 2015In addition to live performance, the development greatly enhances the student experience of film and screen-based media – with regard to both its production and reception.

Full video recording production and distribution equipment will be included in the new facility. Screen students will therefore have the opportunity to be part of project teams involved in large-scale video production as part of their studies.

In the main auditorium, the latest Digital Cinema Initiatives projector will be installed making Middleton Hall one of the most advanced screen venues in the region. This will give screen students the chance to watch the latest cinema releases and Blu-ray and DVD films through an HD digital projector with full surround sound in purpose-built facilities.

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