Thursford Christmas Spectacular

For the past six years I've had the joy of working on the Thursford Christmas Spectacular, the largest Christmas show in Europe, where I am the show's sound designer. This extraordinary event has to be seen to be believed.

Held in a barn in a tiny village in North Norfolk, it attracts over 120,000 visitors from all corners of the UK each November and December to a show that is as feel good as it gets. The scale of it is amazing: 58 singers, 22 dancers and 33 musicians perform on a 40m wide stage twice daily to a capacity audience of 1,400. There's a Wurlitzer organ with 1,339 pipes that rises out of the ground. There are something like 5 million fairy lights on site!

To make all this sound as good as it looks requires a world-class sound system and a world-class team. We use a DiGiCo Quantum SD7T at front of house, and an SD10 backstage for monitors. On the SD7T we use over 230 input channels. There are 82 channels of Shure radio mics and IEMs, with a huge number of mic swaps during a show - typically over 30,000 per season, with my brilliant colleagues backstage getting it right every time. Show control is handled by the industry standard QLab (with over 900 cues in the 2023 show), and RF monitoring with Wavetool.

For the 2023 show, we introduced our new d&b audiotechnik Soundscape system - the highest resolution Soundscape system anywhere in the world. Featuring 143 loudspeakers, including two 360-degree surround rings, it has raised the bar on sound quality, and has given us an exciting new world of creative possibilities. We are using TiMax tracking tags and Atlas spatial audio show control software.

Below are the promotional trailers for the last three years, that will give a small flavour of the huge variety within each three-hour show.