Cadac desk from Little Shop of Horrors (1983)
From Harold Pinter Theatre ()
The first Cadac desk built for theatrical use, for the 1983 London production of Little Shop of Horrors, at the Comedy Theatre (now Harold Pinter Theatre). Sound design by Martin Levan. The desk was custom-made to fit the requirements of the show, and to fit the limited space available at the venue, so is a one-off. It was put together in 4 weeks.
Cadac was the choice of recording studio engineer (turned theatre sound designer) Martin Levan.
Size: 1870 x 600 x 340mm
Used 11U of rack-mounted power supplies.
This unique audio mixing console was designed and built specifically for the original West End version of Little Shop of Horrors, the stage musical adaptation of the 1960 American horror comedy film directed by Roger Corman.
The show was produced by Cameron Mackintosh with sound design by Martin Levan, then an engineer at Morgan Studios, who were Cadac's very first client and at whose studios many successful records were made.
Cadac later became the leading audio console brand in theatre, thanks largely to their long and close association with Andrew Bruce and his company, Autograph Sound. This console represents the start of that journey as it is the first Cadac ever built specifically for theatre use.
It was specified by Martin Levan and a key requirement was a matrix output, now very much a theatre standard but virtually unknown in those days (the Midas TR console that Abe Jacob specified for Cats in 1981 predated it) so this was also the first Cadac of any kind to feature a matrix, in this case an 8 x 8.
The specification for the console also included the provision that it should provide 'studio quality audio' and that the front-to-back dimension could not be deeper than a single row of seats. This allowed for one row to be occupied by the console with the engineer mixing whilst standing in the aisle, a space-saving measure dictated by the modest dimensions of the theatre and to minimise seat kill. The original layout included just 26 inputs (later expanded to 30), eight outputs, four auxiliaries and a built-in jackbay for channel inserts and other connectors.
The most remarkable fact about this console however is that it was conceived, designed, built and delivered in a little over four weeks to meet the show deadlines!
Little Shop of Horrors opened at the Comedy Theatre in October 1983 and closed in October 1985, after 813 performances. The console then went on tour with Evita and subsequently completed numerous other hire projects for Autograph before eventually taking a well-earned retirement.