Technical Notes

Technical notes for hirers
The Assembly Rooms is a versatile performance/presentation facility available for hire. We offer a range of services which can be designed to the needs of your event. The hall is well suited to weddings, family gatherings as well as theatre and music events.
What you need to know…
The Main Hall is a multi-purpose space 10 meters by 16 meters, with 3 entrance/exit fire doors, each of which requires 2 meters radius ‘clearance’ for emergency purposes. The walls are 4.5m high to a picture rail. At 2m intervals along the wall are stone heads 3.65m from the floor. The walls are stone with a dado rail at 1.6m high and plastered underneath. Pictures and hangings can be affixed to the picture rails or fixings that are already in place for décor. You cannot add your own fixings or drill into the hall.

The Hall has a maximum capacity of 200 standing or 150 seated. For weddings and family gatherings, the hall will comfortably seat up to 80 at tables for a sit down meal with enough room for a small stage for speeches and presentations. Tables can be cleared to make room for dancing in the evening.

We do have a stage available consisting of nineteen 1m squares with 60cm risers and four 1m by 50cm steps which are 30cm high. There are no drapes, wings or cyclorama however for a small hire charge of £25 a projector and screen can be made available. Any set or scenery you bring in must be appropriately fireproofed. You must not use any nails, screws or fixings in the walls, if you need to hang drapes, backdrops, pictures or anything else. Please talk to the Manager on duty who will advise you.

There are two 13amp mains sockets in each corner and halfway down the sides of the Main Hall. This supply is on a safety cut-out, which can be turned off if necessary. We have a limited amount of extension leads/4-gang plugs etc. (to ensure you have what you need, you may wish to bring your own)

If your event requires the use of our theatre lighting system, this must be specified and planned at time of booking. We can design lighting specific to your event, or approximate your plan- you must discuss your requirements with the Technical Manager.

The system is DMX controlled with 12 LED parcans available. Any additional requirements will need to be arranged with the technical manager. There may be a small hire charge involved and should a lighting technician be needed for your event, we can provide this service at an hourly rate.

One full months notice is required for special licences from the local authorities (e.g. smoking on stage, naked flames, pyrotechnics etc.)

We will agree a set up time with you. It is important that you arrive on time to ensure the hall is set to your specific requirements.


The Sound and the Fury
We have a legally defined sound limit of 88 decibels inside the hall, and a very clever machine, which measures this. The future of our venue depends on adherence to this condition and any event which breaks it will be terminated (and our full fee will be payable). Bands especially must be aware that most ‘rock’ drummers will exceed this limit on their own, as will electric backline equipment.

It’s quite possible for monitor systems to be too loud without adding front-of-house sound. The hall itself is a highly reverberant ‘sound-box’ which maximizes any noise and adds about 2 seconds delay. High frequencies are reflected straight back from our stone walls, while low frequencies wobble around uncomfortably and create a ‘standing wave’ about a meter in. Natural, un-amplified sounds benefit greatly from this, but anything else is problematic.

DON’T DESPAIR!
Sound engineers will tell you that you deal with this in one of two ways. You either overwhelm the room’s acoustic with excessive sound reinforcement (but we’re not going to let you do that!) or you underwhelm it. The best sound I’ve heard in the hall has been achieved by toning down all on-stage sound.

Bass amps should be very compact and ‘short-throw’ with careful attention to the sound of the bass at the back of the room, and EQ cut back to suit.
Lead guitarists are better served by small combos than Marshall stacks.
Recent tests have shown that a simple 100-watt mixer/amp, ticking over comfortably, provides the optimum decibel level of 87.5 and a nicely crisp sound. You are strongly advised not to bring anything more powerful than this- you may not be able to use it.
If you keep the stage sound to bare minimum, you should be able to add vocals through the front-of-house and achieve a nice result.
If you don’t…
We will tell you at least three times if you are too loud. After that, we will turn you off. Sorry, but our survival makes it necessary.
If you need a PA
The Assembly Rooms has a small PA system that has been adapted for use in the Main Hall. Discuss with Technical Manager at time of booking.

If you need the stage, lighting and P>A there may be a small set up charge to cover the cost of someone being here.


Running times
A dressing room/green room can be made available if specified at time of booking. Events can run no later than Midnight. Sundays are limited in what we can provide; we can only use a PA on a Sunday for religious ceremonies or as part of an ongoing conference. Timing can be an issue for our venue and to saty open beyond our licencing agreement threaten us losing it. Your event must close on time. You may be wise to schedule the evening to finish at 11.30 to 11.45, allowing time for an encore number. The building must be cleared of your personnel and equipment by one hour later, unless otherwise arranged and you must be quiet when removing it. (Out of respect for our neighbours).

What we need to know…
What time you will arrive and leave, set up times, what you plan to do in our venue, who the crucial people are (organiser, performers, sound engineer etc.) what sort of technical support may be necessary.

We set out to be a friendly, helpful venue, with a very special and supportive atmosphere. We can make almost anything possible given sufficient preparation…so please talk to us about your needs!