Southam Hall has a fresh new look, and a superb new sound. The NAC’s new orchestra shell, which took more than 18 months to design and build, arrived in 15 semi-trailers from two separate facilities 1,000 miles apart and was installed over the summer.
While Southam Hall is the NAC’s signature venue, it was originally designed for opera and ballet, not for an orchestra. The 2016 renovation, which included new flooring, new aisles and new seating, improved the acoustics considerably.
With the new orchestra shell, music carries even better to the audience, and there is more clarity to the sound. The shell also helps artists hear each other more clearly on stage. A new sound system for amplified concerts and speech further enhances the experience.
The shell was part of the Architectural Rejuvenation and Production Renewal Project, a $225.4-million investment from the Government of Canada. It includes replacing and modernizing much of the NAC’s aging electrical and technical equipment, and bringing the NAC back up to international standards for artists and audiences alike.