Theatrical Sound Designers and Composers Association

In 2020 the first TSDCA Education Committee Residency Fellowship program was awarded for the first time. It was put on hold as so much was in the spring of 2020.

You can read more about the fellowship here:

In 2022, recipient Lucy Peckham is finally able to begin her journey. She will keep us updated on this page.  Have a great time, Lucy!




From Lucy Peckham:

September, 2022:  The Fellowship of the TSDCA  Pt. 3:  1776 Conclusion and Outcome

It is time to report on what the TSDCA fellowship inspired!
The music of 1776 was on NPR yesterday.  Hearing it brought a lump to my throat, warmed my heart, and took me instantly back to the edge of my seat at A.R.T., and the frustration and joy of watching and listening to the sound of the show develop under Jonathan Deans’s refined guidance.
So… the inspiration mentioned above?  After four and a half weeks of watching and listening to Jonathan, Daniel Lundberg, Timothy Jarrell, and the A.R.T sound team work, I’ve been hungry to do a musical.  “Ravenous” might be the better word choice.  The hardest part of the whole fellowship was being merely an observer.  As someone who is predisposed to “pitch in,” it was a little like being bound and gagged.  But the opportunity to hone my ability to listen, observe, and take notes was unparalleled.  It was good for me.
My home regional company, Perseverance Theatre, doesn’t have a musical on its schedule this year – so after I returned home, I began checking Anchorage’s small theatre companies.  Fortunately for me, there was a musical already in already rehearsal, and they didn’t have a sound designer, a FOH mixer, or anything.
TBA Theatre ( ) is a company for which I used to design frequently.  They are one of the most consistent companies in Anchorage, with seasons that accommodate kid and adult programming.  As my schedule has filled with better-paid work,  I had to start saying no to TBA.  This time, I asked them to let me work on Hello, Dolly!  They agreed!
It has been a roller coaster, thanks to a very short timetable.  I combined the company’s wireless mic system (Shure BLX4R) with two other borrowed systems – Sennheisers – four wonderful units deployed on lead characters.  The other borrowed mics are NADYs – Sennheiser copies – used to amplify ensemble performers with limited lines and act as spares.  There are also five choral mics to amplify the ensemble in big scenes.  I added sixteen speakers to the house theatre system augmenting front fills, side fills, and onstage and orchestra pit monitors.
Because the facility doesn’t own one, I’m using my own digital mixers.  They are very limited compared to professional consoles. I needed both of mine in tandem, the QSC TM16 (managing the orchestra mics and choral mics) feeding into the QSC TM30, handling everyone else. These little digital workhorses are able to save and advance scenes, including varied delay times for multiple speaker systems, vocal and instrument effects, and EQ on each performer and speaker system in each mixer scene.
It’s not possible to prepare the many hundreds of saved cues that I saw when I shadowed large productions on a previous grant.  Hello, Dolly! only had five techs including the three dress rehearsals, no exclusive orchestra sound rehearsals, and no previews.  I have somewhere around a hundred cues (a guess).  In addition to scene advances, there are a lot of mixing notes, muting and unmuting voices and effects as cues.  Mostly, it’s a lot of fun and REALLY satisfying.
There is an assistant who trained with me and now acts as an A2. Though I’m there with him before and after every show, he’s able to handle issues that might arise during the performances.  That is a first for the company, a huge relief to me, and very comforting to the cast.
Hello, Dolly! sounds good – very good – better than it would have had I not received the TSDCA fellowship.  I brought more to the process, fought harder for significant changes, and the company feels the difference.  Audiences have noticed, and I continue to learn on every show.
This was a COVID-delayed production from spring of 2020, so I’m happy to be a part of the company’s return to live performance and the show’s success.  There were nine performances, including one school show.  Yes, it’s nothing like major regional theatre or Broadway, but it’s wonderful all the same.  I can hardly wait for the next musical opportunity!  Maybe someday on a more capable console?  I can hope.
I am very proud to continue to set an example of the value of continuing education and to bring energy and professionalism home to Alaska.
Thank you, TSDCA Education Committee and Jonathan Deans!  You inspire me.
(mix position for Hello Dolly!)

May, 2022:  The Fellowship of the TSDCA  Pt. 2:  1776


Friday, May 6, 2022:  I’m here in Cambridge at the American Repertory Theatre.  Jonathan Deans, sound designer and mentor is to my right at the tech table, and beyond is Daniel Lundberg, Associate Sound Designer (and BINGO cruise director, he insists!), and Timothy Jerrell, A1 at the DiGiCo SDTen console.

Today is the first day that the cast will be on stage.  It’s a spacing rehearsal, without wireless mics or in-ear monitors (IEM). Just the Director, the Music Director, piano and percussion accompaniment, a few costume pieces, God mics, and a house full of design, production and tech teams watching, listening, and working as much as they can without interfering with the spacing.  That is what this first day will be.

I arrived in Boston early because the tech schedule changed after my travel was booked, and COVID in the team caused an additional delay giving me twelve unscheduled days.  Boston’s a long way from Anchorage, Alaska, so free time was not a burden.  Boston has a real Spring!  It is a beautiful city, and walking is a wondrous way to explore the history, visit Bunker Hill, Boston Harbor, and see crews rowing on the Charles River among the many lovely possibilities.

My schedule didn’t stay empty.  There is a lot going on!  The Education Committee provided referrals to Ben Emerson at the Huntington Theatre, and David Remedios at the Booth Theatre for tours of their respective facilities.  A breakfast meeting with Jane Shaw (in town designing Our Daughters, Like Pillars) came with a comp ticket to see it.  A powerful show… and a few days later Ben gave me a hard hat tour of the renovation underway at the old Huntington Theatre.  I hope to find a way to visit again after it opens next fall.

Surprise! A band I’ve mixed in Alaska emailed a tour schedule that included a performance just a five minute walk from the A.R.T.   The venue, Club Passim, has a packed schedule, and as I checked it out, I found three more groups I’ve mixed in Alaska playing during my stay here.  It’s also good for me to check out small venue installed systems when I have the chance, so I purchased a ticket to the first of the shows and had great fun surprising the band members and hearing the venue.  I’ll try to go to another show there if the tech schedule permits.

Last but not least, I’m an early musician.  I’ve wanted to buy a bass recorder for years, but have never been anywhere I could try more than one or two.  The Early Music Shop of New England listed over a dozen bass recorders for sale on their website.  I trekked to the shop in Brookline, and as you’ve guessed by now, I tried many, and bought one I love!

Here is a Gaia GPS map of my Boston walks so far:

The fellowship began on April 27.   That’s when I finally met the whole 1776 sound design team.  Now, I’ve been a professional sound designer/composer and have designed and mixed musicals and opera since the late eighties, but this team was intimidating.  They are all seriously exceptional in their areas of expertise, whereas my professional life can best be described as good ears with other skills acquired through non-stop on-the-job training.  I know little of the most common professional software, am inexperienced with large FOH consoles, and have almost no experience with the remarkable art of the A2 position.

That confessed, I’m here to learn as much as I can about musical sound design from Jonathan.  I can leave the marvels of software, graphs, and charts to the facility of Daniel who revels in having details at his fingertips.  I can leave navigating the SDTen to Timothy, even though I confess I’ll look over his shoulder whenever I can.  I can leave the exceptionally necessary world of the A2 to Kris Meyer and Alison Schaefer, though I’ll probably pester them with questions when possible.

Jonathan has already shown that building and supporting his team is integral to his design style. During tech, he is alert to the director, the musical director, and the other designers, always making sure that his sound team is ready for tomorrow’s needs, not just today.  His demeanor is precise, focussed, and calm.  It is important to him that he knows the whole cast on sight by name and character name.  He wants them to know that he knows them as individuals.

The cast is large, by the way, twenty two members, plus two standbys, but Jonathan describes this as a simple show, a classic show, and he is designing it that way.  The Meyer system has “only” sixty-three speakers, and I already love the way he is using it – describing his intent ranging from a gently-reinforced classical pit orchestra acoustic sound progressing to classically operatic, and finally full bore Broadway!

Another aspect that is completely new to me is that 1776 has three separate producers, the A.R.T., the Broadway run producer, and the tour producer.  I’m glad that I don’t have to unpack that complexity right now.

Next Monday, I’ll be back at the Booth Theatre for a lecture by Carl Mulert, Local 829’s National Business Rep, followed by Dave Remedios’ senior design students’ presentations, and a tour of the theatre where I saw their joyful season-closing production of Shakespeare in Love last night.

As I said, my schedule filled up!

My goal is to return home to Alaska with practical information to improve my own musical sound design skill, and to be able to demonstrate what I’ve learned to interested people who are trying to grow professionally.  This is an unparalleled opportunity, and I’m doing my best to take advantage of it.


(selfie at my spot)

March, 2022:  The Fellowship of the TSDCA  Pt. 1:  An Introduction

Three years ago, the TSDCA Education Committee offered a funded fellowship for the first time.  Professional member Jonathan Deans proposed an opportunity to shadow him at the American Repertory Theatre (ART) on the revival of 1776 scheduled for production May of 2020.  The fellowship recipient was selected by an adjudicated application process, and was to be awarded to a TSDCA member, generally expected to be in the early career/emerging artist category.

My name is Lucy Peckham, and if we haven’t met yet, it’s not surprising.  In the TSDCA, I’m known as “the Alaskan.”  I am neither early career, nor emerging, though both those could be considered relative terms!  I was completely floored when notified that I was the recipient of the fellowship.

I began sound designing professionally in 1987, and have been designing and composing ever since.  I live and work in Alaska and have my own company, Both Ears Live Sound.  Through it, I do music festivals and concerts between theatre sound designs at Perseverance Theatre, and for a few theatre companies “Outside,” (how Alaskans refer to the other forty-nine states).  I’m thrilled to have a show in Seattle right now at 12th Avenue Arts, running through March 27.  It is the American premier of Europe, by David Grieg, produced by Thalia’s Umbrella.  If you are in Seattle and read this in time, please go see it.  It’s beautiful (fully admitting personal bias), very timely, and it’s my first sound design since October of 2019.

Though 1776 was postponed for two pandemic years, it is now scheduled to open in May, 2022. The Education Committee has asked me to write periodically about my experiences during the fellowship.  I’m happy to do this!  My intention is to bring what I learn home to share it, to teach and inspire Alaskan early career/emerging designers with what is possible!

Through this first fellowship, the TSDCA is doing what I believe with all my heart:  If you love what you do, your most important job is to train your successors.  They can come from anywhere, even Alaska!