2 Sep 2020

The P.A. People delivers systems for the historic Rathmines Theatre in regional NSW

The P.A. People is delighted to have delivered the installation of new audio, AV, comms and theatre systems in the refurbished Rathmines Theatre on behalf of Lake Macquarie City Council.

“The historic nature of the project is something that interested our team, given our experience with heritage and culturally significant venues over the years,” said Chris Dodds, Managing Director for The P.A. People.

“The end result is a credit to all involved and the new systems will support the Council’s plan for a wide range of uses.”


Rathmines Theatre, previously known as the Rathmines Community Hall, is located on the former RAAF Station Rathmines. The building was constructed in the 1940s and was used as a Picture Theatre and Gymnasium; it was vital in providing a recreational outlet for hundreds of men who spent time at the RAAF Station.

In the 1960s, Council took over the management of the former RAAF Station and used the building as a community hall.

Rathmines Theatre, Lake Macquarie NSW

Lake Macquarie Mayor Cr Fraser said the project has given the historic building a new lease of life. “The refreshed facility will help to reinvigorate the cultural scene in western Lake Macquarie and will deliver significant economic benefits to the area,” she said.

“This state-of-the-art facility offers a place for performers to take centre stage and share their talents with the community. It is also home to the Heritage Centre, a place where our community can visit to learn about the history of Rathmines and Lake Macquarie City.”

From its early history and more recent community use, the Theatre has not had significant investment in refurbishment until the current project. To enable the broad range of uses the Council intended, the technical brief involved providing the capability to perform theatre productions, presentations, functions and community activity.

This state-of-the-art facility offers a place for performers to take centre stage and share their talents with the community

Ross Ford, project manager for The P.A. People said; “We believe an excellent systems and technical function outcome has been achieved which will allow varying groups to produce and enjoy a range of programs with the equipment provided.”

Venue functionality has been provided in terms of comms capability for ‘Green Room’ cast member instruction, a comprehensive talk-back system to allow production staff to direct cast members on stage, ‘bells’ for audience recall to the Theatre, and user-friendly system capability for user groups with varying levels of knowledge.

Audio is provided in two modes; Basic mode is controlled from a touch panel side-of-stage and this is duplicated in the bio box (main control) location. This gives the user control of three radio mics, video control, and lighting control.

The bio box with Yamaha TF5 console patched and ready

Advanced mode includes a Yamaha sound desk with up to 32 inputs, varying patch points throughout the venue, and four radio mics. Four paging zones allow paging and routing of audio via the main hall, back-of-house/Green Room, veranda and terrace area, and ticketing box.

Lighting is also in two modes which link in with the dual audio modes. Basic mode uses pre-sets for lectern and overhead, all controlled from a touch-panel. Advanced mode includes 12 moving lights and four profile lights to provide varied lighting design. New lighting bars have been installed with 36 patchable outlets.

FOH lighting bar

Projection systems in Basic and Advanced modes and full curtaining includes a full back curtain, side legs, a proscenium arch system and a front curtain with manual draw rope.

Brett Steele, Manager of Installed Systems for The P.A. People said the venue presented some particular challenges relevant to its historical nature, where original features needed to be preserved.

“Great care was to be exercised with placement and method of equipment installation. The Theatre’s location meant only temporary power was available during construction and the site was a distance from materials and access to services.”

Both Brett and Ross agreed; “Our task was made easier through an excellent customer relationship with Lake Macquarie City Council and the fact that a local AV contractor was engaged with the process who would have continuing involvement with the venue post-completion.”

As the Performing Arts Officer for Lake Macquarie City Council, part of Melanie Stanton’s role includes curating the arts program. “Council has interest in lifting the Theatre’s profile in events, weddings, conferencing and other activities” said Melanie.

“The Venue will also cater for Council-led uses including its Lifelong Learning & Engagement program, with events such as classic film nights and writing workshops spanning youth to retirees.

“The Heritage Centre is part of the building, and it is hoped that this, along with the Venue’s lakeside location, will become a broader regional attraction in keeping with the Rathmines Master Plan.”

Council’s Manager Arts, Culture and Tourism, Jacqui Hemsley said the redeveloped venue provides a great opportunity for the arts community and an ideal tourism destination. “Rathmines Theatre will offer unique programs and exhibitions unlike anything Lake Macquarie has experienced before,” Ms Hemsley said.

“This revived venue provides a space for performance artists to be inspired and connect with their audience, attracting visitors from across the region to our city to experience something memorable.”


• QSC KW-122 Arrays and QSC KS112 subwoofers

• Yamaha TF5 console with Yamaha TIO1608-D stage box

• Yamaha MTX5-D processor

• Sennheiser EW 100G4 Hand Held and Lapel radio mics

• Shure SM57, SM58 and MX418/C mics Comms

• Jands EZICOM intercom Master Station and Beltpacks


• Zero FLX-S24 lighting console

• LSC GVW12/10A Dimmer and Patch

• ShowPRO R3 moving head LED wash lights

• ShowPRO Pharos LED Profiles

• Jands JLX Lite lighting bars


• Epson EB-L1495UNL Laser projector

• Screen Technics 180” 16:9 Motorised screen

• Kramer VS-62HA switcher

• Kramer TP-580R & TP-580T HD Base Transport Control

• Crestron CP3 processor

• Crestron TSW-760-B-S Touch Screens

• Ruckus ICX7150-24 Network Switches


• Stage Management Paging System

• Stage Drapes and Tracks

More information:

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