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Putney High School

The Project Brief

Putney High School for Girls is one of the UK’s leading independent schools, with a reputation for academic excellence and a focus on providing its students with significant opportunities in art, design, sport, music and drama.


In order to provide these increasing opportunities, Putney High School are continually working to ensure that their facilities are of the highest standards. Due to this, Putney recently completed a project aimed at providing their students with a new, cutting-edge performing arts centre.


Piranha AV were contacted by Jonathan Savage, director of UCAN Play, and asked to be a part of this exciting new project. We were tasked with designing and installing two sound systems and two projection systems to go in the main hall of the new centre.


The hall itself was designed with the ability to function as one whole, or in two halves, and therefore the sound system installed needed to be able to operate in either configuration. The school required that the sound system include eight, new, radio microphones and a control system which featured the latest technology. In addition to this, fold-back speakers were required, so that those on stage could clearly hear backing tracks during performances.


The projection system installed needed to be full High Definition, high brightness and include a large projection screens, in order for it to be fitting for the size of the hall. The projection screens were required to be electric, so that they would retract when the system was not in use. As well as inputs for staff laptops in the hall, the school also required laptop connections installing in the hall’s control booth, a separate room located upstairs.

The Piranha Solution

The multi-configuration layout of the hall is designed with one half constituting a performance area, and the other half containing retractable seating, for use as a lecture space. For performances, the partition separating these spaces is removed, allowing the areas to combine and form one, large, performance space. Due to this, the speaker system we installed is designed to work at an equally high level across both configurations of the space. Piranha installed two sound systems in the hall; the first of these includes discreet speakers suspended from the lighting bar for high quality sound across the space, and the second includes fold-back monitors positioned at the front-edge of the stage, facing the performers, for playback of backing tracks etc. These monitors are wired into local connection points.


Piranha included a digital snake backstage, providing all the necessary connections for the stage microphones, and utilising Cat5 cabling to transmit the signals up to the sound desk in the control booth, to be played through the speakers.


The control room has been fitted with a cutting edge Allen and Heath QU-32 digital mixing desk for complete control of the Audio Visual systems, with a matching digital stage box and QSC active speakers installed in the hall. The desk has been programmed by our expert team with the different room configurations, to ensure ease of use. Piranha have also equipped the school with eight radio mic receivers with radio mic aerial distribution amplifiers. The control room is also fitted with connections for Windows and Apple laptops on both modern HDMI and older VGA. A Roland Vision Mixer has been wired to the hall’s projector, enabling the school to connect cameras or additional laptops into the system for larger productions.


A projector and screen have been installed in each half of the hall space; these are both extremely high-brightness and full High Definition, in order to best serve the needs of the large rooms. The performance half of the space has been equipped with a 4.5 metre wide projection screen to match the large dimensions of the space.


In order to ensure ease of use, a Crestron control system has been incorporated to automatically set the room to the correct requirements once switched on, meaning control of the system is accessible through the push of just one button.


This cutting edge and advanced Audio Visual Solution was completed within the specified time period and met each of the client’s specific requirements.

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