Universal Hall Facilities

Building and Facilities

The Universal Hall was built as a labour of love by literally thousands of people (mostly visiting or living at the Findhorn Foundation Community) in the ten years from 1974 to 1984. Its basic shape is a pentagon and, at its heart, is an auditorium that will seat 280 people comfortably and up to 400 on a ‘get-well-aquainted’ basis. The Auditorium is primarily used for music, drama, dance and mixed media shows and makes a great conference venue.

Designed by British architect George Ripley, the building has a hand-carved stone exterior facing, a magnificent stained glass entrance, geodesic roof construction and five enormous wooden ring beams hold up the roof.

From the exterior you can get a good view of the glass roof lantern, again pentagonal in shape, giving the building a highly unusual outline. Located at the edge of a sand dune/wilderness area, the Universal Hall was built to be the theatre, conference centre and meeting point for the Findhorn Foundation and Community.

The Auditorium

The auditorium has a thrust stage area (hand-laid beechwood) with audience bleacher seating on three sides. The seats can be removed to create an increased dance area or for conversion to a TV studio. Video and slide projection are available onto a permanent cinema-sized screen. A full theatre lighting system is controlled by a Strand 200 48 channel mixer with FX. Total Blackout possible. 2 Bose 802′s and 2 bass bins with a system controller. The sound system is powered by an M1000 power amplifier, and the power rating is approximately 450 watts per side. This system is suitable for playback of compact discs and I-Pod and similar audio sources. A dedicated radio microphone available for use with this system. Should an event require a larger PA, a more powerful sound system is available from Acorn Audio. Please click www.acornaudio.com for more information.

Sound connections located throughout the auditorium can be relayed via a patch bay into the adjacent recording studio making the recording of live concerts a possibility. (The BBC has recorded a symphony orchestra here, for example.)

The auditorium also contains two of the largest oil canvasses in Europe, specially commissioned works by the late N Haydn Stubbing. There is a Steinway Grand piano, a lighting/projection booth, plus a soundproofed viewer’s gallery. A window connects the auditorium to the video production suite.

Dance Studio and Music Room

The dance and drama studio has a sprung floor, exercise bars on three walls and floor-to-ceiling mirrors on the fourth, sound equipment, plus changing rooms with showers. It is used for a variety of classes including contemporary and traditional dance, drama and yoga. Further down the corridor, a music practice room with baby grand piano and percussion instruments is available for classes, rehearsals and general use by community musicians of all levels of ability.

Recording Studio

The recording studio is currently operated on a commercial basis by Acorn Audio, who offer a complete audio service from client concept to finished stereo master.

Studio Equipment – the sound recording studio uses a 24-track hard disc recorder for multitrack recording, and stereo masters are prepared to a red book CD standard on a hard disc mastering processor, or mixed to a Digital Audio Tape (DAT) recorder, depending on the clients wishes.

Live Room – the recording studio is acoustically designed and is fully soundproofed with air conditioning system. The live room, which is large enough to cope with anything from a 12-piece soul band to a Gaelic choir, has three isolation booths for vocal recording, drums or any other instrument that requires separation. The studio is also wired to record live performances in the adjacent auditorium.

Compact Disc Duplication

Short run compact disc duplication service with disc face printing.
Please contact: Ian McIvor, Acorn Audio on 01309 673141, mob 07925531539
Email: or click on www.acornaudio.com

Blue Angel Cafe

Located at the front of the Universal Hall. Interior and exterior seating in the café with a south facing terrace next to a rock garden with water feature. There is a range of cakes and pastries, cappucino machine, selection of light lunches, good range of herbal teas. Vegetarian. Organic beer and wine available during public performances. Open to the public daily 7 days per week and some evenings in conjunction with performances in the Hall auditorium.

Art Exhibitions

The walls of the café and the upper foyer are offered as art exhibition space and exhibitions are booked the year round. The manager of the Phoenix Store (which owns the café franchise) should be contacted for details on 01309 690110.

Technical Specifications in detail

Lighting Lamp List

Rank T64 spot Profile
Rank prelude 28/40 Profile
Rank Patt. 23 Profile
CCT Minnette Profile
Rank 743 Fresnel
Rank Patt. 123 Fresnel
Rank Prelude F Fresnel
Rank 803 Fresnel
CCT Minnette PC Pebble convex
CCT Minnette F Fresnel

A detailed lighting plan can be viewed by clicking here (PDF, 2.1MB)

Sound System

The Bose stereo loudspeaker system comprises of :

2 Bose 802′s and 2 bass bins with a system controller. The sound system is powered by an M1000 power amplifier, and the power rating is approximately 450 watts per side. This system is suitable for playback of compact discs and I-Pod and similar audio sources. A dedicated radio microphone available for use with this system.

There is also a stereo HK Audio sound system with flown loudspeakers which is powered by a Lab Gruppen power amplifier. This system is approximately 6oo watts per side.

A powered stage monitor system with a stereo 31-band graphic equaliser is also available comprising of 2 x powered monitor speakers with two passive satellite speakers.

This system is suitable for bands and conferences and similar applications.

The sound-mixing console is a 12 input Soundcraft Folio. The FX rack has a Zoom reverb unit and a small graphic equaliser. There is playback via compact disc player but please note, we do not have a mini disc player.

The present microphone list includes, SM 58′s, SM 57′s and some condenser mics. Two hand held radio mics are also available. There are also 4 direct boxes.

The Universal Hall has now added an HK Audio Actor DX digital powered sound system with an output of 3,200 watts to it’s inventory, along with a Soundcraft LX7 24 channel sound mixing desk. The new sound system is intended for shows where more sound pressure levels are required and can be linked to the existing HK Audio installed sound system. This brings the sound system up to more than 4K watts power.

Should you require anything that is not on the list please ask, as some items may be available for hire locally.