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clear-com-guthrie-theater-photo-credit-sally-wagner.JPGMINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, JUNE 18, 2008—With a theater boasting 12 stories, three performance stages and a staff of 900 supporting a packed schedule of shows, it’s imperative to have reliable internal communication for highly-coordinated production teams. At Minneapolis’ Guthrie Theater, CellCom10®, a digital wireless system by Clear-Com®, a brand of The Vitec Group, is the heart of the intercom network, enabling flexible and crystal-clear communications.

Constructed in Minneapolis, MN in the 1960s, the Guthrie Theater was the precursor to Broadway-style theaters built later in major cities across the country. In June 2006, a newly refurbished theater opened including the 1,100-seat Wurtele Thrust Stage and the 700-seat McGuire Proscenium Stage. The need for mobile communication among its large staff became a main consideration. The CellCom10 digital wireless system working in tandem with a Clear-Com Party-line system was the answer.

Since then, the Clear-Com system has continued to provide untethered intercom communication throughout the theater’s two major stages, situated back to back on the second floor, as well as the dressing and prop rooms they share located beneath them. Wireless beltpacks are discreet, easy to operate with the Party-line intercom system on each stage, and are able to quickly move from one stage’s intercom system to the other. Furthermore, Clear-Com’s CellCom system offers reliable antenna-to-antenna relay that allows beltpack users to move around the facility without signal loss.

“We divided 10 beltpacks evenly between the Wurtele Thrust Stage and the McGuire Proscenium Stage,? says Paul Estby, senior sound technician for the Guthrie Theater. “During any production we may shift more beltpacks to a single theater to fully equip the crew. The software program makes the system easy to configure and re-configure as the need arises.?

Each of the two stages is outfitted with a wired intercom backbone of a Clear-Com RCS-2000 Party-line programmable source assignment panel and an MS-812A 12-channel intercom master station. Each of these is interfaced with a CellCom10 receiver with four active antennas. This allows users to move throughout either stage, the audience seating area as well as dressing and prop rooms, keeping in constant wireless communication. In a few seconds, beltpacks can be switched for communication with the other stage’s intercom system, a process called “changing pages.?

In addition to the stage crew, a stage manager wears a beltpack that allows him or her to roam throughout the stage and dressing room areas of the complex. The 12-channel Party-line system gives the Guthrie the ability to communicate within and among workgroups on a production, while maintaining the priority as the stage manager calls cues during the performance.

The Guthrie houses a third theater, the 200-seat Dowling Studio, located several floors above the other two stages. The “black-box? flexible space is used for development and rehearsal, and is equipped with a separate MS-440 four-channel intercom main station interfaced with a CellCom10 system with four beltpacks. The Clear-Com Party-line intercom system working in tandem with the CellCom10 wireless intercom system has given the multi-stage performance complex the communications flexibility it needs to carry on its ambitious schedule.

Clear-Com’s newly released 1.5.7 version of CellCom10, offers new features and functionality including vibration alerts, which notify users when the headset has been removed from the ear. New remote battery monitoring and remote microphone kill offer greater control from the basestation. Improved configuration software allows for individual labeling of the user’s beltpacks and the creation of communication routes along with conference groups, which is especially helpful for on-the-fly applications such as performance venues like Guthrie Theater.

Note: CellCom® and FreeSpeak® are different brands representing the same digital wireless intercom system (with minor technical differences). Due to trademark limitations, CellCom10 is only available the USA and Canada; FreeSpeak10 is available in all other countries.

Clear-Com®, a brand of the Vitec Group plc, is the global leader of professional communication solutions for broadcast, live performance, military, government and commercial markets. For more than 40 years, Clear-Com’s signature products such as Encore™ Party-line, Eclipse® Digital Matrix, CellCom®/FreeSpeak® Digital Wireless and IP Communications systems have revolutionized broadcast stations, production trucks, houses of worship and performance venues. Recognizing Clear-Com for its history of intercom innovation, production teams around the world achieve ubiquitous communication with products to promote easy interoperability and global connectivity. More information can be found at www.clearcom.com.

The Vitec Group plc (“Group?) is acknowledged as a global leader in the supply of equipment and services to the broadcasting, entertainment and photographic industries and has established a reputation for technical excellence and superior engineering along with an astute business strategy which has seen it grow by acquisition. Innovation is a cornerstone of the Group’s activities and the organization is committed to a policy of continuous product development. With revenues (2007) of $546m (£274m) and over 2,200 employees world-wide, its products are distributed in almost 100 countries, through a strong, fully-resourced distribution network or direct to the end user or corporate customer. More information can be found at www.vitecgroup.com.

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