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The Sound of Shakespeare: Diablo Sound and Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA (July 2018) — For more than a decade, Diablo Sound has provided stirring sound design for many of Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles’ (SCLA) critically acclaimed productions.

Back in 2006, Diablo Sound was newly formed by its President and Principal Designer Drew Dalzell, when they designed the sound for SCLA’s production of TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA at the outdoor LA Cathedral Plaza.

This year, Diablo Sound designed the sound for SCLA’s highly publicized outdoor production of HENRY IV in an entirely built from the ground up venue on the West Los Angeles VA Campus. Under the artistic direction of Ben Donenberg – SCLA’s founder and Executive Artistic Director – HENRY IV was staged by Tony Award-winning director Daniel Sullivan with a world-class cast that included Tom Hanks as Falstaff, Hamish Linklater as Hal (Prince Henry), and Joe Morton in the title role. Tom Ware was the Executive Producer.

Dalzell states: “In the beginning, it was a very big deal. Shakespeare Center Los Angeles was one of our very first clients. We provided them with sound equipment to reinforce vocals, and at that time, it was all the equipment we had. Now, it’s just a tiny part of our offering.”

These days, Diablo Sound provides sound design, show control, audio content, and project management for theatre, theme parks, cruise ships, and corporate clients such as Universal, Disney, Marvel, and Nickelodeon.

Dalzell adds: “We also provide sound equipment rentals in the Los Angeles area and have a small recording studio on site. We always work closely with our clients and give careful attention to every project, from small rentals to full corporate designs. But we have a special place in our heart for SCLA.”

Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles – which celebrated their 30th anniversary in 2016 – enriches and nurtures personal growth, professional development and social change through engaging and accessible arts experiences inspired by Shakespeare’s plays and poetry, with a special focus on empowering underserved youth and veterans. In recent years, SCLA has been a national leader and innovator in the field of arts and human services. Partnerships have included the National Endowment for the Arts, U.S. Department of Justice, Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, US Department of Veteran Affairs, Arts and Healthcare, Volt Workforce Solutions in Anaheim, and the Linked Learning office of the Los Angeles Unified School District.

“Drew’s work has been invaluable to our ability to present our shows in site specific and outdoor venues,” said Ben Donenberg, SCLA’s Artistic Director. “There is nothing more important in Shakespeare than to be able to hear the language, and there is nothing more challenging than supporting sound outdoors. I know those things will be successful with Drew’s expertise.”

Both companies have grown in the intervening years, as has their professional relationship. Since 2006, Diablo Sound has designed the sound and provided the sound equipment for numerous productions produced by SCLA in multiple spaces, including A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM and the aforementioned TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA at the LA Cathedral Plaza, a second production of MIDSUMMER as well as ROMEO & JULIET at the Japanese Garden on the West Los Angeles VA Campus, and a Macbeth-themed Haunted House in SCLA’s downtown headquarters.

This year, Diablo Sound went back to the VA Japanese Garden to design the sound for SCLA’s critically acclaimed production of HENRY IV. Diablo Sound provided the complete PA system needed to support the sound design for HENRY IV.

“Our mixing console was an Allen & Heath SQ6,” Dalzell explains. “It was our first time using the new console on a theatrical production, and it worked beautifully. We took advantage of the digital mixer’s impressive Automatic Mic Mixing to manage mic levels on the fly.” Diablo Sound also incorporated QSC K Series speakers, Shure ULX-D wireless microphones, and wireless Clear-Com with 8 channels for crew communication.

“Supporting the Shakespeare Center is truly a labor of love for us,” states Dalzell. “I value the collaborative relationship we’ve created, and I look forward to many diverse, thought-provoking productions to come.”


Diablo Sound specializes in sound design and integration, show control, and large project management for theatre, theme parks, cruise ships, and corporate clients worldwide, including Universal, Marvel, Disney, Nickelodeon, the Griffith Observatory, and the LA Auto Show. They also provide sound equipment rentals and sales in the Los Angeles area, including being a dealer for QCS and Alcorn McBride.

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In 1986, The Shakespeare Center, then operating as Shakespeare Festival/LA, presented the first Summer Festival, with performances of “Twelfth Night” in Pershing Square. In lieu of admission it launched a ‘Food for Thought’ admission policy that generated more than $2 million in non-perishable foodstuffs for the needy. In 1993, SCLA expanded to offer outreach programs such as Will Power to Youth and employment and enrichment program that combines hands-on artistic experience with paid job training, specifically created to provide an arts immersion for at-risk youth. In January 2000, SCLA purchased and moved into its permanent downtown headquarters. This year, SCLA has expanded partnerships with Linked Learning to serve even more students with our youth employment initiative and with Santa Monica College, host for the educational dimension of Veterans In Art.

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