Newnham College Old Labs

Newnham College Old Labs was renovated and re-opened in 1998. The building has a main theatre space (The Ida Freund Room) with capacity 100, a music room, various practise rooms and a green room.

I drew the following plans back in 2011 after a quick but reasonably accurate survey:


  • 24 channels of Zero88 dimming are hard-wired to 15A sockets on the lighting bars (note some pairing) plus two “dips” (ground-level sockets). Note that the circuit breakers for the dimmers are behind a locked plastic panel – the key is on the main old labs keyring.
  • Control is via a Zero88 Lightmaster XLS. This can be run as a two preset manual board, or a a memory desk. In memory mode the top row of faders is used to set up states, the bottom row of faders is effectively 24 submasters. There are 8 pages of submaster memory. See links above for user manual etc.
  • DMX to dimmers is fed from a socket in the control room, into which you plug the desk directly, or patch the DMX from facilities panels FP01 or FP02. This is particularly useful since the control room can’t really see the stage and this allows the desk to be operated from within the space.
  • Lantern stock is 11 Strand Quartet 650W Fresnels (approx 10-40 degree beam angle) and 2 Strand Quartet 650W profiles (22-40 degree beam angles).
  • Additional “display lighting” is available. There’s a reasonable number of what look like PAR38 lamps designed for lighting the pictures on the walls, exhibits etc. These plug into the various 5A sockets on the lighting grid – these sockets group to three switches in the control room.
  • House lights are separately controlled. There are a pair of Strand MultiDim modules in the control room which control 16 500W floods that wash the ceiling of the space. 4 preset out-stations are located by each entrance to the space and in the control room


  • Crest power amplifier supplies power to four ouputs on patch panel (two left, two right). Patchable to these are any of the four speakers (one in each corner of the room) and one speaker socket on each facilities panel FP01, FP02.
  • Mixing desk is a Soundcraft Spirit Folio. By default the loom supplies Mic channels 1 and 2 (FP01) and 3 and 4 (FP02), plus CD (Stereo fader 9-10) and cassette (stereo fader 13-14) from the control room rack. Facilities panel FP01 and FP02 also have inputs marked “Phono L-R” (I think they’re actually jack sockets) and these share the stereo faders as input 7-8 and 11-12 (Spirit Folio doubles up the stereo inputs).
  • Two mics point at the stage end of the space. One of these feeds the induction loop system, the headphone output of which drives a monitor speaker in the control room. The second of these drives a noise limiter which can cut power to the sound rack.


  • Masking. The tabs can be arranged to usefully mask the “stage end” of the space, optionally leaving the projection screen unmasked (NB there is no installed video projector at the time of writing). Without them the walls are white.
  • The window blinds are motorised as is the projection screen.
  • The control room rack appears to include a TecPro power supply for a cans system; cans sockets are either side of the control room and on panels FP01 and FP02.
  • Video camera feeds a monitor in the control room. (Composite video via BNC in control room).
  • 13A mains is available in a number of places including a dip trap in the middle of the “stage” floor.


At the timing of writing…

  • You can’t see the stage from the control room!
  • One of the Quartet F’s is missing its safety chain so seems to live in the control room.
  • The Lightmaster XLS is a bit tired. At first I thought it had a few dodgy faders, but I suspect it’s been dropped at some point and has a few dry joints. Be gentle with it, otherwise wackyness ensues at the end of fader travel.
  • The houselights dimmer should provide three states A, B, C and Out. Seems buggered. A is everything at full, C is everything off, B freezes whatever fade is running and O doesn’t do anything!
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