Hello from John in sunny Blackpool, the breezy seaside resort on the west coast of England. I'm a science technician in a secondary school and also have responsibility for the audio-visual resources which include the school hall's stage lights and sound gear. I've a degree in electronics but no experience of theatre tech. A year 10 boy has been helping me so far but he just got himself promoted to Head Boy. I advertised today for pupils to assist me and one year 7 has already volunteered so its looking good. I'll have to spend the forthcoming summer holidays making up a course of study for him. Any one know any good books? The hall is about 80' x 60' with 16' depth of stage having a 32' opening. The lighting board and dimmer are new(ish) with 24 DMX channels of 10A capacity but the sockets for the lanterns are mostly round pin 5A types, suggesting 1kW max loading. This makes me wonder how much I can safely plug in given the short-term intermittency and variable power loading of stage lights in use. Any suggestions? Our lanterns are a mix of Strand (Patterns 23 & 263 Profiles, 223 Fresnels, 137 Flood, 60 Flood), Furse 1kW Fresnels, Parcans, CCT Minuette Fresnels and a TAS follow spot. Also we've got a full Cyclorama with asymmetric floods. (I recently visited another school that has nothing but (lots of) Parcans and preferred our set up despite its probable obsolescence: strangely shaped fixtures look good). On stage there are two 12-socket overhead pipes using 3 and 5 channels respectively. FOH we have unwired ceiling mounted pipes at centre (4 sockets all with Parcans) and left/right stage (both 2 sockets), and a 3 socket bracket high on each side wall. A problem with all but the centre pipe is that the auditorium's lampshades obscure them. As these are giant hemispheres with a "pip" at the bottom the shadows they cast uncannily resemble lady's ti..er....bosoms (blush blush blush!). LOL. I'm thinking of dropping the lanterns about two feet on threaded rod in the hope of alleviating the problem. We also use a digital projector to project "backdrops" onto the cyc. This was done for the first time earlier this year and was deemed successful despite once losing the radio senders signal and resorting to the projector manufacturer's bright purple splash screen. Oops! I had to tie the projector to the FOH centre pipe to do it but I'm asking for funding for a proper ceiling mount as the projector is used almost every week in school assemblies (from a trolley on the hall floor). I might get a signal wire installed if I can and do away with the sender. Our sound system is crap. We haven't really got one. We've a couple of powered mixers (Carlsbro & Phonic) which are powerful enough but with just a speaker hanging on the wall each side of the stage opening there is a real intelligibility problem. We've three handheld mics and three two-channel radios with 5 lapel mics and one handheld. Some of the school's old boys offered to pay for a bit of upgrade but I'm struggling to get a decent sound and not sure where to spend the money to best effect. Any suggestions would be welcome. The local Salvation Army hall has a beautiful Bose installation that sounds as divine as their mission. Fortunately jealousy is a sin so I just study catalogues and dream. That's about it. Hi folks! John.