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The Swedish theatre, Svenska Teatern, located in the centre of Helsinki experienced a major transformation a couple of years ago. The theatre building, completed in 1860, was completely renovated with major room alterations. Svenska Teatern has three stages and a rehearsal area. Some of the stage halls and their details are protected by the National Board of Antiquities, which set additional constraints on the building’s audiovisual and performance technology design.
The biggest change in the main hall was the alteration that enabled an unobstructed view of the stage from all seats. We observed the view from each seat individually and, based on our observations, the architect altered the floor levels of the stalls and balconies, among other things. The number of seats was also increased. In addition, the hall’s sound insulation was significantly improved. The 700-seater hall with the main stage is protected by the National Board of Antiquities and, therefore, the room acoustic alterations were minor. Only the wall and ceiling surfaces were renovated.
The rotating stage in the main hall, on the other hand, faced many improvements. The old technology above the stage was dismantled and all lifting equipment and sound and lighting systems were renewed. In addition, the sound and image control facilities located at the balcony were relocated at stall level. In conjunction with the renovation, new recording and video studios, and preliminary planning and modeling facilities for lighting were constructed in the basement.
Above the back stage of the main hall, a new black box stage with 130 to 160 seats was constructed with the ability to transform the custom stage and audience area. Part of the old technology in the main hall was used in the theatre hall called Amos but a lot of new technology was also added to the hall. In addition, a new rehearsal facility was constructed above it.
The third stage in Svenska Teatern is called Nicken, and it has 70 seats. The performance technology in the hall did not meet the requirements of a proper stage and, therefore, it was entirely renewed in conjunction with the renovation project. There are also decorations on the walls that are protected by the National Board of Antiquities, and these were hidden behind fake walls.
“The performance can be recorded in a way that each soundtrack and each camera can be recorded individually. This cannot be done in any other theatre in Finland,” says Tapio Ilomäki, project manager responsible for Akukon’s theatre technology and audiovisual design. From now on, the sound engineer can practice mixing by seeing the conductor and stage view, and by adjusting each audio channel individually. In this way, the mixer can practice difficult scenes or the entire show by using a recording that is equivalent to a real performance situation. A DVD can also be compiled of the recording for the director, for instance.
The Rose for Building (Rakentamisen Ruusu) is an annual award granted by the City of Helsinki Building Control Commission. In conjunction with the 2013 award, three honorary awards were granted, of which one went to the designers of the structural and technical implementation of Svenska Teatern’s renovation.
Location: Svenska Teatern