Joshua Heerssen, Seven Lakes High School’s production designer and technical theatre teacher.
Seven Lakes High School has one of the most prestigious theatre programs in the Houston, TX region, while its Performing Arts Center (PAC) plays host to several school and out-of-house productions each year.
The school recently purchased a Harman Soundcraft Si Performer 3 digital console for its educational theatre performances and technical theatre classes.
The Seven Lakes Theatre Program rents out its PAC to numerous out-of-house groups because it is widely known as the most professional venue in the area.
“Most out-of-house groups rent our PAC because they know we run a professional space and the students I train are professional-grade student technicians that no one will find anywhere else,” said Joshua Heerssen, Seven Lakes High School’s production designer and technical theatre teacher. “Groups continue to spread the word: ‘I want to rent at Seven Lakes’ and even other schools want to come use our PAC for their performances.”
At Seven Lakes High School, Heerssen teaches technical theatre classes, which include hands-on training with everything that entails a theatrical production, including lighting and sound engineering. The Seven Lakes High School theatre program performs four to six large productions a year and shares the PAC with in-house groups, such as the school band or choir, as well as rents to out-of-house groups.
Keeping up with the forefront of technology, Heerssen looked to upgrade Seven Lakes’ analog audio console. “I looked into Soundcraft because we already owned a Spirit 8, so I understood the terminology and I really liked the way Soundcraft consoles are set up,” said Heerssen. “After I saw the Si Performer, I knew it would be the perfect board for our space and a great teaching tool as well.”
Heerssen replaced the PAC’s Soundcraft Spirit 8 soundboard with the Si Performer 3 after attending the TETA (Texas Educational Theatre Association) conference. “I saw the Soundcraft Si Performer on display and demo’d at the conference, and the first thing I noticed were the colored faders, and then to a have digital sound board at this price range with 32 channels of control made me look more intently at this console.”
Heerssen noted the Si Performer’s DMX interface, which allows for lighting control, was a key purchasing factor. “It definitely put a smile on my face when I brought up a channel for lighting on the sound board the first time in our PAC,” said Heerssen.
Heerssen uses the Soundcraft Si Performer 3 for large performances in Seven Lakes’ PAC and as a learning tool for his technical theatre students. “I chose the Soundcraft Si Performer 3 because my goal as a teacher is to make sure students learn the tools that will not only serve them well in college, but what they’ll need for professional theatre,” Heerssen concluded.