Digital upgrade for centre welcomed

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The West Otago Community Centre is updating its 22-year-old sound and lighting technology.

The upgrade replaces analog technology with digital.

Sound manager Jeff Rea said the new equipment would open up new possibilities for future shows.

“The sound system is programmable so it knows who is on stage and, more importantly, who is not,” Mr Rea said.

This meant the system would automatically turn off the microphones for people who were not on stage, he said.

The analog equipment was installed in 1996 and had not been updated since.

“We got a good run out of it.”

The digital sound system allowed them to achieve more with just the one console, Mr Rea said.

“With the analog system we would need all the toys to do all the things we can do on this system.

“It would end up costing a lot more.”

The theatre was used by the West Otago Theatrical Society and by schools in the district, he said.

“We are so lucky to have the theatre here.

“Without the lighting and sound equipment it would just be an empty room.”

Lighting manager Hans van der Linden said he was excited to see what he could do with the new equipment.

“We should be able to enhance what’s on the stage,” Mr van der Linden said.

The lighting equipment now included moving lights, which opened up more possibilities.

It was important to update the system to encourage more people to get involved, he said.

“Young people don’t want to learn on an old analog system.”

The new equipment was bought with grants from the Community Trust of Southland, the Trusts Community Foundation and West Otago Theatrical Society.

“We are so grateful for their support.”