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’14-18’ is a new musical about friendship and love, and the devastating effects of war on a group of friends during the First World War. It opened at the 1900 capacity Nekkerhal in Mechelen in April.

The production retells the atrocities of the Great War for a modern audience and has been launched to coincide with the centenary. This unique project premiered inApril in the Nekkerhal in Mechelen, Belgium – a location chosen for its proximity to Flanders Field, where much of the fighting took place.

Scenes from the new musical. About friendship and love… @Nekkerhal in Mechelen

The play has an internationally renowned musicaldirector and is in a purpose built venue in Belgium. It is a collaboration between productioncompany, Studio 100, Frank Van Laecke, Dirk Brossé and Allard Blom – the team behind the hugely successful 2008 hit Daens. The theatre sound designer is Guido Olischlager, who once again worked alongside Studio 100’s head of sound, Mark Luyckx.

Since Guido also operates as both FOH and monitor engineer he needed a reliable, redundant fibre transmission system and chose OPTOCOREmulti-fibreto transport the sound between the DiGiCo SD5 and SD stage rack at FOH and the Coda Audio PA (a primary system of 36 arrays of three ViRay cabinets and 18 SCV-F subs) with additional surrounds. It is connected via a redundant OPTOCORE loop across a distance of 350 metres. The equipment itself was supplied by audio rental and event technology company Studio Halifax.

Devastating effects of war… @Nekkerhal in Mechelen, Belgium
Devastating effects of war… @Nekkerhal in Mechelen, Belgium

Says Olischlager, “I chose OPTOCORE because of the loom length, and coaxial cable was not the way to go over that distance with its length restrictions and lack of flexibility — particularly because of the movement of the tribune. I have worked with the DiGiCo / OPTOCORE set-up now for a couple of years and it always provides a solution.”

Being able to get a signal from the desk to the matrix to the amp distribution without AD-DA conversion improves the signal a lot, he says.“In fact we use 32 channels of the new Sennheiser digital 9000 series via AES to inputs on the DiGiCo SD racks so from mic to amp the whole signal path is digital.From there it travels via OPTOCORE into the desk then out on MADI to the Timax.” It then travels via optical MADI to a D.O.TecAndiamo.

From their Timax 2 sound hub at FOH to the amp distribution they also ran optical MADI over the same 350 metre distance.Timax is used to create the virtual ‘hovering’ sound over the audience, using the Timax for gain and delay fading within a 36-line array sound field.

14-18 is set to run until July 15, with a possible extension until mid-November.