Completed installation

The Client

Fernwood, near the city of Nottingham, is a high performing school recognised for excellent standards in the education of children aged 11 to 16 years. With very high expectations and an ethos of opportunity for all children, we realised the solution we needed to design for this school needed to be high quality.

Fernwood School has recently commissioned CBP Architects to design and build a new school hall as part of a major expansion project. It was to include a stage for performances and assemblies. CBP Architects operate on guiding principles of cooperation and teamwork to deliver building solutions and a strong working relationship with clients. They seek advanced technology and high quality contractors such as EES Showhire to deliver the aspirations of their clients.

First Contact

EES Showhire maintain a strong web presence through their website and always have someone at the end of a phone to talk about your requirements. On this occasion, CBP Architects Senior Associate Director, Ray Rudd, found EES Showhire using an online search engine and made contact with Andy White on the telephone to discuss their upcoming project. Initial contact was made some 9 months before the project started, but this included a delay during the Covid-19 lock-down period. Following several email exchanges, site visits and subsequent telephone conversations, a strong working relationship was built.


It became clear that EES Showhire was the correct contractor to take the Fernwood stage project forward. We have the skills, qualifications and mindset to match CBP and Fernwood’s high expectations.

Starting with an empty page, we had to design a stage sound, lighting and AV solution which enabled the school to hold performances, concerts, assemblies and lessons in a large hall which had the added ability to be split into two by a Skyfold drop down wall. The two rooms were required to contain independent AV projection and audio solutions which would tie back to the main hall system when the room was made whole for full hall usage.

We also needed to design the electrical and data system necessary to achieve this and instruct the electrical contractors on how to install the cabling, as in this instance we were not needed to complete ‘first fix’ as the client already had their own electrical contractors on the main project build. It was cheaper for them to be employed as they were already on site and in the interests of teamwork and cooperation, we were more than happy to help keep the costs down for the client.

EES Showhire was contracted to advise the client on what was needed for a stage and performance space, design the solution, supply the necessary equipment and install the final solution into the building. It was expected the project should include two independent but co-joined sound systems, two projectors, one projecting onto a wall and another onto a 6m widescreen, stage curtains, theatrical lighting rigs, sound and lighting automation and an option for local control, in a remote control room, situated overlooking the stage.

The stage area had a total width of 16 metres with no proscenium arch with which to conceal equipment and there were also two store rooms either side of the stage.

Safety trained installers using scaffold tower to install 12m lighting
Installation of bespoke manufactured lighting bars
Bespoke cabinets built to house sub woofers


Through a series of conversations we advised a two tier approach to the design of the system, one being simple day to day and the second a full production theatre mode needed to put on school shows.

To achieve this we used two types of systems, both tried and tested. First was the everyday system consisting of Bose Control Space and a “Cooper Lighting” iLight system, both of which are industry standard.

These systems allow complex configurations to be recalled by pressing a button and imposing a predetermined scene which achieves the required outcome. All of the complex switching and routing is taken care of in the setup of the system so end users can consistently create quality results every time. This can be as simple as changing the colours of the lights on the stage to complex tasks like setting the audio, lighting and projector system up for a meeting or presentation. Flexibility of these products allows for any number of scenarios to be catered for.

These same systems also enable the control of the sound, lighting and AV to be passed over to more conventional sound and lighting mixing consoles for performances.

When it came to the second room mode, for performance use, again we chose products well known in the industry offering quality and reliability every time. These were the “Cooper Lighting” FLX-s lighting desk and the “Allen and Heath” QU-24 digital mixing desk.

Following the agreement of our specification, we were able to annotate CAD drawings supplied by the architect. We marked out precise locations of all cabling and equipment locations to ensure data and electrical supplies would be placed in the correct locations.

Before arriving on site to complete the installation we supplied our risk assessments and method statements for the work we undertook. We also had the added complication of emerging from lock down following the Covid-19 pandemic. We worked with the site management to allow the safe working of our employees and those coming into contact with us.

During the installation we wanted to keep the architect and building contractors informed of our progress. Joint decisions were taken together where necessary regarding any changes or opportunity for improvement that had been encountered by our engineers. We have a forward thinking engineers who are able to problem solve on the job and adapt to changes in any given situation.

Following the installation we undertook an end user training programme with the school staff who will be using the system. We also provide a complete set of operation and maintenance manuals and are happy to be on hand to answer any queries. We believe in leaving the customer confident in the use of the equipment we have installed so that they can get the most from it for many years.


Fernwood School now have an AV and performance space solution that meet their needs now and into the future. Teachers will be able to deliver presentations, full stage productions and enable the education of children using industry standard equipment.

They have touch screens to control the motorised projector screen and curtains, three local HDMI inputs to use with the high power projectors, two separate but integrated audio systems again controllable with a touch screen.

Five loaded bespoke manufactured lighting bars provide stage and effect lighting which is controllable by touch screen or the lighting desk in the control room. DMX inputs are also available on stage for rehearsals.

After the first assembly held in the hall, the headmaster has since emailed us stating he was impressed with the ‘awesome’ system. In addition the architect has been talking to us about further work with them as they are very happy with the relationship we have built with them.

Programmable wall mounted control panels Illustration 6:
Control room
Completed installation


Using EES Showhire you are ensured high quality of service and a future proof solution using some biggest most well known brands on the market. A solution you can trust, installed by friendly and professional engineers.

You also have access to our extensive knowledge, user training and periodic servicing including PAT testing and electrical safety testing.

If you wanted to work with us why not get in touch via our email or telephone number. We would be more than happy to discuss your needs.