The Performing Arts Education Centers of Las Virgenes

Keeping the Arts Alive and Thriving
Calabasas and Agoura Hills, CA

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The Las Virgenes Unified School District (LVUSD) opened the doors to its two new Performing Arts Education Centers located at Calabasas High School and Agoura Hills High School in California. The two almost identical theaters were designed by renowned architect John Sergio Fisher & Associates (JSFA). Electrosonic’s Design Consulting team provided the audio system design for the theaters, and also designed the theatrical intercom and video distribution systems.

Agoura Hills
Agoura Hills High School Theater; Photo: Ciro Coelho

The approval of the Measure G construction bond in 2006 facilitated the building of the two state-of-the-art performance venues, which will be used by students, artists, community members, and outside groups, to feature quality arts and culture to the Las Virgenes community. Each center features a 650-seat main stage theater, a Black Box theater to be used as a teaching and performance space with accommodations of up to 100 seats, a full orchestra pit with a hydraulic lift, and professional acoustics, lighting and sound systems.

Calabasas High School
Calabasas High School Theater; Photo: Ciro Coelho

Electrosonic designed a hybrid audio system composed of both digital and analog components. With an understanding that the facility would be used by both students and visiting professional theater companies, Electrosonic made a decision to provide a system that employs current technologies without being overly complicated. This allows theater students to establish a solid foundation in their knowledge of the system, without compromising the higher functionality required by outside theater professionals. Such is the case with the Yamaha M7CL-48ES audio console which is used for the main stage theater at each location.

Yamaha Audio Console

“The M7CL-48ES was chosen for its quality, reliability and stability and because Yamaha’s range of digital consoles are very prevalent in the theater industry worldwide. It’s the perfect console to train newcomers to the world of audio on, and at the same time is a console that meets the needs of exacting industry professionals,” says Electrosonic design consultant, Steve Coe.

Line array speakers

The Black Box theater is equipped with a Yamaha LS9-16 for the same reason. Cobranet audio output from the consoles is sent to a Peavey MediaMatrix Nion DSP system, which then sends the signal to the amplifiers. Electrosonic specified QSC ILA line array speakers and subwoofers for stage left and right. The pit rail and stage lip areas have additional front fill speakers. The reverb time in the theaters can be changed with variable mechanical acoustics designed by JSFA.

Electrosonic designed the intercom system using a Clear-Com Encore master station in the control booth, and wall station and headset stations in the stage area, the dressing rooms, and throughout the production space. The paging system, which also handles all paging announcements from the existing school buildings, is handled by a Peavey PageMatrix connected to the MediaMatrix.

Agoura Hills High School
Agoura Hills High School Theater

Coe continues, “It’s very rewarding to be involved in the building of these two theaters. Theaters are such important buildings in a community, going right back through the ages, and it is very encouraging to see that new theaters continue to be designed and built around the world.”

Electrosonic’s audio-visual design was expertly installed by AMT Systems of Santa Clarita, California.

Calabasas High School
Calabasas High School Theater