We occupy a majestic, Grade II-listed, 19th-Century building, which has been restored and transformed into a well equipped performing arts institute.
We have two main performance spaces used for productions and teaching. The Paul McCartney Auditorium (PMA) is a traditional proscenium arch theatre with full counterweight flying facilities. The PMA is our largest performance space and can seat over 400 people. The Sennheiser Studio Theatre can hold an audience of up to 96 people. Both spaces are flexible and accessible and promote the right ambience for all types of performance, whether that is a music festival, a visual feast of dance theatre, a Broadway-style musical or a sumptuous costume drama. Each year, over 150 performances take place between these spaces, about half of these are to a public audience. Both theatre spaces are fully equipped and we have a large floating stock of additional lighting, sound and video equipment available for external projects. We have also recently invested in equipment that enables us to transform our café area into a venue for music gigs.
Our dance studios are based in our Hope Street facility. All have specialist sprung floors and mirrors. There is also a Pilates studio equipped with Pilates machines.
There are a number of spacious rehearsal rooms, which are predominantly used for workshop-style teaching and as rehearsal spaces in the lead up to performances. Some have their own sound and lighting facilities.
Music practice rooms
There are five large band rehearsal rooms, eight small band rooms, seven rooms set up with piano/keyboards and two digital audio workrooms. A variety of professional music equipment can be borrowed including vocal PA, drum kits, bass and guitar amps and over 30 musical instruments. Generous donations from a number of sponsors and manufacturers such as Orange Amps, Fret King guitars, JHS guitars and Zildjian ensures numerous state-of-the art instruments and equipment.
We have lecture theatres and airy seminar rooms for more traditional style-teaching, with a range of presentation equipment.
A large theatre workshop, equipped with metalwork and woodworking machinery, is located behind the Paul McCartney Auditorium. It is used to construct and paint the scenery and props used in productions, as well as being a practical teaching area for the Theatre and Performance Design and Technology programmes.
Costume and Wardrobe Department
We have a wardrobe department, where costumes are planned, designed and created for up to 30 separate productions throughout the year, which will normally include a wide range of performance genres and contemporary styles. There is a costume store that houses a good selection of classic tailoring and period fashion and also preserves samples of student designs.
If you study management, you have your own dedicated space in which to operate. It includes key communication tools such as computers, a printer, a fax machine, plus a dedicated phone line.
There are six professionally equipped recording studios. All of them support music tracking and mixing to a high standard, and some have additional facilities for sound to picture production, surround mixing, mastering and editing.
There are 22 offline workstations to complement the HD systems in the studios. The offline workstations are based around Mac Pros. Each system runs Logic Studio, Pro-Tools and a variety of software synthesizers and samplers such as Reason and Reaktor.
We have a fully flightcased set of equipment capable of being configured for a variety of location broadcast applications. This is based around a Soundcraft RM1-D digital broadcast mixer, communications and cue systems and a range of playback sources including a computer based playout and scheduling system.
In addition to the recording studios, we also have a mobile recording system with microphone preamplifiers, monitoring and routing based around a Pro-Tools HD2 system. This is used for recording on location (for example, at Liverpool's Philharmonic Hall), or for recording in some of the larger performance spaces.