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Oxford University Theatre Technicians and Designers

The Burton Taylor Studio


Theatre Burton Taylor Studio
Location Gloucester St, OX12BN
Capacity 50


The Burton Taylor Studio (BT) is a small theatre based next to the Oxford Playhouse. It is owned by the University of Oxford, and managed by the Oxford Playhouse. It is an ideal space for the first time techie as the jobs required by the production are a lot smaller than those in the O’Reilly, thus allowing for more on-the-job learning. There is a full-time Manager, Rob Bristow. He is the first port of call for hire, technical information and other queries. The University Drama Officer (UDO) also has their office in the BT. Like other Oxford venues, a production company must bid in the term preceding for the use of the BT, for a week long slot. For student shows, the slots are often arranged into an ‘early’ and ‘late’ slot, both in the same evening, to allow more productions.

The theatre’s technical specifications can be found on the Oxford Playhouse Website. Please contact TAFF or the theatre manager before your visit for most up-to-date technical information.



The Burton Taylor has a grid of fixed Internally Wired Bars (IWBs) suspended above the entire length and width of the theatre. These have regular 15A outlets. There are additional normal scaffolding bars bolted to the IWBs, creating more flexibility in positioning of lanterns. A short length of 15A TRS may be required in order to reach a socket from these positions. All of these bars may be accessed by ladder; the theatre has two tall Zarges A-frame ladders, and a small stepladder. As the grid covers over-stage, front of house and extends down the sides of the stage, a good mix of facelight, downlight and sidelight can be achieved.

The theatre has 24 dimmable channels, provided by a Strand LD90. Each channel is rated at 2.5kW. In addition, a 5kW Strand Multidim offers dedicated houselight dimming plus three 2.5kW Stage Electric non-dims. A patch bay is located behind the tech desk. Each dimmer and non-dim has dual 15A sockets allowing pairing of lanterns; the houselights dimmer has six 15A outlets.

There are 68 grid outlets available, plus eight in four wall boxes at the corners of the end-on stage. There is a DMX input located in the control box, plus three DMX outputs at grid level (chained).

Control is by an ETC Express 24/48 DMX memory board. This is fully programmable, but can also be used as a 2-preset 24-way desk, or single preset 48-way desk. This is an intuitive board; a manual can be downloaded from the ETC Website. Each show can be saved onto the board’s memory, and backed up to a 3.5 inch floppy disk.

The lantern stock is mixed, but has ample to create a number of washes and specials. It includes Selecon Acclaim profiles, with 24/44 and 18/34 degree lenses, plus a small number of Prelude profiles, with 16/30 and 28/40 degree lenses. Profiles have corresponding irises and gobo holders. There are four Source Four Pars (575W), with a selection of VNSP, NSP, MFL and WFL lenses. Wash lighting is provided by Selecon/Prelude Fresnels, Selecon/Prelude PCs, plus Minim PCs and Patt 743s. There are also two Minuette asymmetric flood lights. Six Par 16 birdies provide houselights.

The theatre holds 5 GelStream 100 colour scrollers which fit Prelude lanterns (150mm back plate), loaded with house scrolls. These are controllable from the lighting board. Note that their use requires an additional 15A outlet – one for the lantern as usual and one for the power to the scroller (patched to a non-dim. Non-dims are currently controlled on submasters 45-47 (with houselights control on submaster 48)). The scroller’s single DMX channel can then be patched to another submaster, allowing selection of a desired colour by sliding the sub to the correct place.

Lanterns when not in the grid are kept in the lantern store; this is accessed by the fixed metal ladder adjacent to the patch bay. Assorted length 15A TRS, 13A-15A adaptors, 13A extension, DMX extension and XLR5-XLR3 adaptors are stored under the desk in the control box. Lighting stands, floor stands, plus gel frames, irises, boom arms and assorted scaff are kept in a small store underneath the control box.



The BT has ample sound equipment for the space, including four Martin CT2 speakers (flown, upstage and FOH), linked to dedicated Carver PM700 225W (8 ohm) amplifiers. Mixing is provided by an Allen & Heath MixWizard3 14:4:2 desk. Two Shure SM58 microphones are available, and additional sound equipment (inc SM57 units and radio mics) can sometimes be rehired from the Oxford Playhouse at a nominal rate, please contact the theatre manager if you require this.

Playback sources are Sony MDS-JE530 minidisc player (with pitch control), a Denon DN-600F CD player (with pitch control) and two Denon DRM-540 single cassette decks. There is a dedicated input with 3.5mm jack adaptor to connect a laptop.

Processing is provided by a Lexicon Stereo Effects unit, which has 16 inbuilt preset programs, plus a BSS Opal FCS966 stereo graphic EQ.

Extensive cabling is provided, including 5m and 10m XLR3 extensions, plus XLR3 male, female and jack adaptors. This is stored under the desk in the control box. A 25m multicore cable with 16 XLR3 returns and 8 jack sends is also available. Most equipment is permanently wired to allow easy playback and recording.



Exact dimensions of entrances and exits from the theatre are given in the technical specifications. Broadly speaking, note that 8’x4’ flats will not fit up the staircase, but anything up to 7’10”x4’ will. The theatre is located on the second floor, with box office on the first floor.

The theatre has a capacity of 50 people. This can be arranged end on (with seating adjacent to the theatre entrance), side-on (with seating on the left of the entrance, adjacent to the control box). For these configurations, a seating stand of 5 raked rows of 10 seats is set up. Alternatively, for an in-the-round configuration, 50 black folding steel chairs are used.

The theatre has brick, black-painted walls and a wooden floor. This is a light brown colour, and must not be painted or screwed into. Alcoves (three S-R) are covered by black drapes. Six 2.4m tall black masking flats are available; these come with corresponding stage braces and stage weights. The theatre holds a choice of black or white cloth backdrops - note that if you are hanging this from (for example) the most upstage bar, then you cannot hang any lanterns on this bar. A ringing phone is available, controllable from the control box.

There are ten 13A power outlets at stage level, plus eight 15A outlets which may be used for practicals (controlled from the lighting board). Tables of various sizes can be sourced from the theatre manager.

There is a show relay system, with speaker positions in most areas. These can be turned down. Calls to backstage areas can be made from the Control box and calls to all areas can be made from the theatre office.

The dressing room is located on the first floor and can accommodate up to 6 people.



The BT is an accessible venue, and is a good starting point for novice technicians, but also provides scope for more experienced lighting, sound and set designers to create an exciting, high-impact design in an intimate space.

AJB 27/11/12, updated JE 21/06/13