Exhibitors label PLASA 2011 a great success
This year's event sets the scene for a strong return to Earls Court in 2012. Events manager Sophie Atkinson commented: "Exhibitors have been enthusing about the high quality of visitors and the rate of sales enquiries, and with hundreds of new products being launched, there has been a great return on investment for them. We expect to see many back here at Earls Court next year."
Visitors also relished being first to get their hands on some of the industry's hottest new products. Over 500 products were launched at the show, including major new developments in audio, AV, lighting and staging, plus there were a number of 'behind closed doors' prototype demonstrations of ideas expected to be unveiled in full next year.
PLASA 2011 also delivered an enhanced visitor experience, with a raft of new interactive features drawing substantial crowds, including the STLD's LED luminaire shootout, the expanded Theatres Trust Ecovenue feature and the new PLASA Production Bar in Earls Court 2.
Another big success was the second PLASA Rigging Conference, attended by 175 delegates from 18 countries, some travelling from as far as Malaysia, Singapore, Sweden, Canada, the USA, Hong Kong and Australia, to share their know-how and explore best practice in a fast changing field.
Over 70 rigging professionals also turned out for the informal Riggers' Forum on the afternoon of Sunday 11 September - an increase of 60% on expected numbers.
Conference consultant Chris Higgs, of Total Solutions Group, comments: "The Conference was a great opportunity to continue the important discussions first begun in 2010 and to introduce debate on wider working practices. The global rigging community shares a lot of common methods, interests and aims, and we're keen that PLASA should be a central resource for riggers from the UK, Europe and North America. We have great plans for the next one in 2012."
Equally popular was the expanded Education and Learning Programme, which drew over 2,200 people. Several key sessions, including the Gottelier Masterclass by ETC's Fred Foster, 'Lighting Visualisation at the Royal Opera House', the ALD's '50 Years of Lighting', the RST and Stage Electrics' 'Transforming Theatres', Bernie Davies' 'Lighting Big Events for Television' and MA Lighting's 'How the Sun works and why the fixture weighs so much!' were all standing room only.
Dave Swallow's much anticipated session on 'The Art of Mixing a Show' was so oversubscribed that it was switched to the much larger Cromwell Room to meet demand for places.
Adds Atkinson: "The seminar programme has continued to grow in both quantity and quality, and its popularity means we are being offered ever more exciting ideas for providing unique insights and sharing knowledge across the industry."
Exhibitors were queuing up to praise the exhibition and its cluster of supporting events.
Mark Vassallo, VP of global sales at ETC, commented, "The show just gets better and better - it's busy from beginning to end and our distributors and customers come from all over Europe, not just the UK, to check out the new products. We actually premiere a lot of the products before they go to America for LDI so PLASA's a very important show for us."
Andrew Richardson, managing director for Adam Hall, said, "It's been another great PLASA for us. The show helped to attract visitors from all over the world keen to see many new products. We're looking forward to next year's PLASA already."
Michael Budmani, Bath University's subject leader in theatre production, commented, "PLASA 2011 has been a huge success for Bath Spa University. As well as the opport