This fall, I’m hitting the road, not with the usual synth-loaded DJ or a rock band, but with the iconic rabbit herself—Miffy!
Or as we say in Dutch, Nijntje. A far cry from strobe lights and smoke machines, I’m rolling into A-list theaters across The Netherlands to make sure the first-ever theater experience for kiddos is unforgettable. And, of course, to make it sound incredible.
First things first. This isn’t just any kiddie show; this is high art for the short-statured crowd. The tour is a brainchild of lyricist Ivo de Wijs, who crafted a delightful new story, and young director Naomi van der Linden (my neighbor from across the street, hi!), who’s turned the books into a fresh, lively stage spectacle. We’re talking about an adventure full of cheerful songs and dances that have kids and their parents hooked from start to finish.
Wearing Multiple Ears…uh, Hats!
In this tour, as the main and only sound engineer, I wear multiple hats. Not only am I responsible for the pristine sound but also for the show’s pacing through QLab. And the receivers of the wireless dpa mics. Let’s just say, I’ve got my hands full. And yes, every now and then stuff doesn’t go as planned.
You might think it’s all fun and games until you realize that six actors are sharing the stage with omnidirectional mics. Close proximity and open mics? It’s a recipe for disaster if not handled right. I’ve tried turning that challenge into an aural playground. The sound is as clear as a summer day, even when the actors are practically whispering in each other’s ears. Also, I’ve completely separated the voice channel from main left and right, where the music is.
Audience Reactions: A Rollercoaster
The giggles and claps come in all shapes and sizes, depending on where we are. Rotterdam had a lively (but well-behaved) crowd, while Utrecht was a touch more composed. My personal favorite bit? The heartwarming song Wat een tempo heeft de tijd, where Miffy’s parents look back on their life. Not gonna lie, it’s got a bit of an emotional kick.
Every venue has its quirks, but the Nieuwe Luxor in Rotterdam was a real treat for me. The Alcons Audio soundsystem is the stuff of dreams. Crisp, clean, and not a touch of feedback—exactly how audio should be. That being said, we’re playing some top-shelf theaters, including the Koninklijke Schouwburg in Den Haag, Stadsschouwburg Utrecht, Theater aan het Vrijthof in Maastricht and DeLaMar in Amsterdam.
And here’s the whimsical cherry on top: for Miffy’s birthday scene, we snuck in a massive bouquet of helium balloons stage-right. The actors were as surprised as the audience and even improvised with the floating spectacle. Talk about a spontaneous burst of joy!
This tour keeps me busy until Summer 2024, but we do have sizable gaps so I can pursue other gigs. If you’ve got little ones—or if you’re a fan of Dick Bruna’s charming universe—grab your tickets and your Miffy plushies. See you at the theater!