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Sinfonia Seating for Midsummer

Published on Friday 13 September, 2013

I caught up with John Pryce-Jones, Music Director of Northern Ballet Sinfonia, to ask about life on tour for the Sinfonia and unique positioning of the Sinfonia at the West Yorkshire Playhouse.

John Pryce-Jones said...

'You will have noticed the orchestra is seated in an unusual formation at the West Yorkshire Playhouse due to the nature of the theatre and lack of a pit. Normally the 1st Violin section is on the left of, and close to the conductor, and facing across the pit. The other string sections are grouped around the conductor with the cellos opposite the 1st violins. This is not possible in this theatre and as you can imagine the layout can pose big problems of sight lines and ensemble, not to mention sore necks for the players!

'It is a bit like driving a car from the wrong seat. However it is a tribute to the skill and concentration of our players that we manage to overcome these obstacles. There are advantages also in that the orchestra is out of the hole and can be seen by all (most people say this is a bonus) and the sound is more immediate in the auditorium.

'One way or another it is a pretty unique set up and for us musicians, preferable to being behind the stage (Dangerous Liaisons) or underneath the stage (Hamlet and A Tale of Two Cities).'

The Northern Ballet Sinfonia will accompany the tour to perform A Midsummer Night's Dream in Newcastle, Woking and Nottingham in the coming weeks. Each venue with a new seating arrangement and experience.

Communications Officer: PR and digital media

The views expressed in blogs are those of the author and not necessarily of Northern Ballet.