Actors Timothy Olyphant (left) and C.J. Wilson in Atlantic Theater Company’s 2016 production of Hold On To Me Darling.
Photo: Doug Hamilton
The award-winning Off-Broadway theater company Atlantic Theater Company in New York City has a new asset backstage: a Tempest900 Wireless System from Pliant Technologies. Supplied by Dale Pro Audio, Tempest is able to provide the Atlantic Theater Company with the flexibility to expand its system for the variety of productions that take place in the venue, from straight plays to full blown musicals.
Celebrating 30 years, Atlantic Theater Company has produced more than 150 plays, including Tony Award winning productions of Spring Awakening (Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik) and The Beauty Queen of Leenane (Martin McDonagh). With the theater’s productions becoming more complex and requiring regular rentals of additional intercom, the production department decided to upgrade its communications system. The Tempest900 was the only system able to provide the coverage the theater required while offering the flexibility to adapt to the venue’s varying productions.
“When we tested the Tempest900 wireless system and it worked throughout the building, it was almost a no-brainer,” says Mike Wade, former Production Manager for the Atlantic Theater Company. “It met our needs in terms of coverage and expandability at a fantastic price-point.”
From the moment the Tempest900 system was installed, it was able to provide coverage of the basement, theater level and support floor of the Atlantic Theater Company venue, a capability that was not possible with the company’s previous wireless system. The Tempest system also easily interfaced with Atlantic’s existing four-channel wired partyline system.
The theater currently has deployed one Tempest BaseStation located in the booth and seven BeltStations. A typical setup for an Atlantic Theater Company production has the backstage crew and assistant stage manager on the Tempest system and then the board operators and stage manager on a wired party line. Although seven BeltStations will handle most Atlantic productions, additional BeltStations can be rented and easily added to the system without requiring an additional BaseStation.
“Tempest gave us the flexibility to essentially have a limitless number of BeltStations if needed, so as our crew requirements expand we are able to expand the wireless system along an affordable, reasonable path,” Wade continues. “The ability to increase the number of BeltStations without adding another BaseStation was a big selling point.”
Another benefit of the Tempest900 system is its ability to work in congested RF environments. Although the Atlantic Theater Company is based in the middle of Manhattan, a congested RF environment, the crew was able to turn on the Tempest900 system and immediately have it work without obstruction. Tempest shrugged off any external neighborhood sources of interference, along with several very localized sources, such as in-house Wi-Fi, wireless speakers, in-ear monitors, wireless dimming for the theater’s lighting system and more.
Tempest900 operates in the 900MHz ISM band and allows as many as five BaseStations and 25 full duplex BeltStations to operate license-free using FHSS (Frequency-Hopping Spread Spectrum) Technology. Tempest900 offers improved coverage in areas where more structural penetration is required—as in the Atlantic venue—and in large enclosed areas where multipath interference can be a factor.
For certain productions, Atlantic Theater Company has operated Tempest in Split Mode to add more users without adding additional BaseStations. Split Mode allows for up to four BeltStations in Normal Mode operation and an unlimited number of BeltStations on one shared channel. Operating in Split Mode, the BaseStation provides a combination of Normal and Shared Modes. Up to four BeltStations operate with the same features and capabilities as Normal Mode with no restrictions. Unlimited shared BeltStations all share the same single channel for all users. Any one of the Shared BeltStations may talk one at a time, operating with Momentary Talk only. Additionally, Stage Announce, Wireless ISO and Relay functions are available for one BeltStation at a time in Split Mode.