Moscow theatre in new light with ETC

Thursday, 17 May 2007
Moscow theatre in new light with ETC
Russia - Maly Theatre in Moscow recently celebrated its troupe's 250th anniversary, making it the oldest in Russia. The theatre had even more reason to celebrate this milestone, as it got to show off the first completed phase of its £4.9m (€7.2m) renovation, which includes some of the latest lighting technology from ETC.

In 1756, by decree of Empress Elizabeth, the repertory troupe was formed at Moscow State University and was named 'Moscow Russia Theatre'. In 1780 the troupe moved to the Petrovskii Theatre, next to the Bolshoi, on what is now Theatre Square. In 1824 the theatre became officially known as the Maly, which means 'small' in Russian, because it is smaller than the Bolshoi ('big').

The Maly was given a government grant this year to upgrade its facilities. Plans for the renovation include refurbishing the building's façade, revitalising the artwork in the theatre and the entrance and bringing the lighting and sound systems up to date. The full renovation is scheduled to take place over six years and to be completed in 2012. However, the Maly won't need to close, as major work will be carried out during the summer months when the troupe is on tour, and minor work will be done in phases so as not to impact upon the performance schedule.

In the first phase of the refurbishment, the theatre focused on its lighting and sound capabilities, updating the equipment in a whirlwind three months. With only minor repairs and upgrades since the 1940s, Maly's equipment was outdated, so the theatre added 155 miles of electronic cable, thousands more outlets, and a long list of new equipment including an ETC Congo lighting control console, ETC Sensor+ dimming, ETC DMX Nodes, eight ETC Sensor Advanced dimmer racks with DimStat software, and 40 ETC Source Four Zoom spotlights. Artistic Director Yuri Solomin says of the upgrade: "There is not another dramatic theatre like this in Russia."

Lighting designers at the Maly want to do more with moving lights and other media, so they chose ETC's Congo console, which is designed for the complexities of modern theatre rigs. Congo has over 200 moving light templates and more than 30 Dynamic Effects, with the ability to build and edit on the fly - all features the lighting designers wanted for their productions. Since Maly's repertory schedule includes multiple productions each week, the moving lights are a convenient alternative to refocusing lights and changing a rig's inventory each night. With just a few keystrokes on Congo, the stage can be ready for the next production. Congo controls the theatre's new moving lights: 48 SiSTEMA Comandor-Es, 48 SiSTEMA Spectrum-E scrollers, six Martin Moving Heads, two MAC 2000 E Wash and four MAC 2000 E Performance II.

SiSTEMA Stage Equipment, a Moscow based ETC authorised service centre and business associate, installed the lighting system.

(Jim Evans)

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