HSL supplies Robinson Crusoe

Thursday, 5 January 2012
HSL supplies Robinson CrusoeRobinson Crusoe & The Caribbean Pirates - at the Clyde Auditorium in Glasgow
UK - Lighting and visuals rental company HSL supplied and installed a full mother grid and flying system for scenery, cloths and props, plus all the lighting equipment to stage one of the UK's highest profile pantomimes this year - Robinson Crusoe & The Caribbean Pirates - at the Clyde Auditorium in Glasgow.

The show, produced by Qdos Entertainment, stars John Barrowman who also co-directs with Jonathan Kiley. He's joined by maverick Scottish comedy duo, The Krankies, in a colourful, all-action romp from Port Glasgow to Skull Island, where good and evil battle it out in classic panto style resulting in a supersonic evening of entertainment, slapstick humour and much hilarity. Lighting is designed by Nick Richings.

HSL's project manager is Mike Docksey, who comments, "It's great to work with Nick, particularly on this production which really lends itself to dramatic lighting. His designs are always original and innovative. It was also a great challenge to have the chance of designing and installing a full theatrical rigging system tailored to the venue and this specific production. It involved a lot of pre-planning with the Qdos team led as always by production director Mark Sherwood for whom HSL has supplied pantos for some considerable years now. As a result of many hours of hard work and precise calculations we could ensure that all departments using the system had exactly what they required."

The flying & rigging system was designed and drawn by HSL's head of rigging, Rupert Reynolds, and took just one day to install, completed in time for all the other departments utilising it to start work on the Sunday before an opening night the following Saturday.

The mother grid measures 18m wide by 12 deep, is constructed from Tomcat 20.5 cm spigoted truss and suspended from six two tonne motors. This is flown as high as possible, right up to the house beams, trimmed at 23m.

Underneath this are 13 sections of ladder beam trussing on a total of 26 Kinesys Liftket motors, allowing the fast movement in and out of numerous scenery pieces and cloths.

The Kinesys Vector control is run by Heather Orr for the shows, a Glasgow based freelance technician, who visited HSL and Kinesys in advance to receive training.

Nick Richings is an aficionado of the very specific art of lighting panto, which, done well, needs to contain all the dynamics and ingredients of a standard theatre production, with an almost cartoony texture which is unique to the genre.

It's his first Robinson Crusoe for Qdos and in fact the first time he's worked on a Robinson Crusoe show since 1981, so he had plenty of ideas to bring to the table.

All the lighting is rigged on only three overhead LX trusses suspended from the mother grid, plus two other areas in the house.

Six Martin Professional MAC 3s are rigged on the front of the circle and also the front truss, which do the core of the 'grunt' work and basics, together with some projections onto the floor and set. Also on the front truss are six Robe Robin 300 Washes.

Around the proscenium - used as a goal post for additional lighting positions - are 12 Robe Robin 300 Spots for a bit of serious audience blinding and effects.

Over the stage on the first three LX trusses and their attached side ladders are 18 Robe Robin 600 Spots and 24 Robin 600 LED Washes.

i-Pix satellites are used for warming the various set portals, so these can also change colour, and on the floor i-Pix BB4s are used for up-lighting the front show cloth. Two Atomic strobes add to the atmosphere.

Additionally, two banks of PixelLine LED battens are utilised for the general cloth washes, which Richings comments are far more effective than a line of single cell cyc units would have been in the 'old days'....and consume considerably less power.

The only generics in the rig are 30 single PARs and 24 Source Four profiles. However, there is also a myriad of practicals - primarily LE

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