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What is a Sound Designer?

I am often asked this question by a variety of interested people. Students, friends, family, colleagues, the barber, the taxi driver after a press night...

The short answer

The short answer is that theatre sound designer's are responsible for everything the audience hears in a production. How the sound designer carries out that role is largely dependent on the style of the show, the venue, and the vision of the director. The requirements for Sound Design on a commercial West End musical can be dramatically different to a piece of new writing in a studio style theatre, the experienced sound designer adapts to the demands of each individual project.

Naturally, my more detailed answer to this question will be shaped by my particular stylistic preferences and my professional background. I came to sound design for theatre via a meandering journey of directing and writing my own work during and after sixth form, working as a venue technician and recording studio engineer (having dropped out of a degree in Theatre Studies after 6 weeks of nothing much!) and later bringing my artistic and technical specialisms together as a Sound Designer. I like to bring this love of storytelling and text together with a varied and creative interest in sound technology, along with excellent teamwork and people skills to collaborate with other creative team members, the technical staff, and the performers.

Production Desk - The Sorcerer's Apprentice at Northern Stage, christmas 2021

The Longer Answer

The long answer

Pre-production

H5 Ffos y Ffynne.jpg

Reading the script

Sourcing and making sounds

Image by Von Fox Productions. Matthew Tuckey in rehearsals with director Jack McNamara for The Bounds at Live Theatre and The Royal Court
Worlds Apart Rehearsals - Juno Synth.JPG

System design

Technical rehearsals

Prod Desk - Love It - Notes .heic

Previews

Remounts, transfers, and tours

YHM - onstage speaker - ARC.HEIC
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