Rigging and Staging News


Unusual Rigging descends on opera house

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

UK - Bat out of Hell the Musical opened at the Manchester Opera House in February where it is currently enjoying a 12-week run. The show is the brainchild of Jim Steinman and rock superstar Meat Loaf - a romantic adventure about rebellious youths. Steinman composed Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell albums and always dreamed of lifting the tracks from record to stage. Forty years later the dream has become a reality.
Production manager Simon Marlow, who will also take the production to the London Coliseum in June for another 12-week run before transferring the show to Toronto, knew that for this technically complex large scale production he would require the help of Unusual Rigging. He said, "As production manager here in the UK and technical supervisor in Canada, I am in charge of everything, from the set, engineering, automation and rigging etc, to costumes, wigs and special effects.
“Having worked with Unusual Rigging on several other projects, most recently constructing the temporary theatre space for Lazarus, the David Bowie musical, they were my go-to company for this project because it throws a number of technical challenges at us."
Work has been done to both the front of house and grid at the Manchester Opera House and modifications will also take place at the London Coliseum in order to ensure the venues can take the show, but


PL+S: BroadWeigh’s biggest ever presence

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Germany - BroadWeigh is set to enjoy its biggest ever presence at this year's Prolight and Sound with five of its product partners promoting the company's offering through displays and demonstrations. A.C. Entertainment Technologies (Hall 5, B25), Hof Alutec (Hall 3, A44), Louis Reyners (Hall 3, C14), Scanrig (Hall 3, F31) and Sonoss (Hall 3, C14) and will all represent BroadWeigh on their stands at the show.
Mela Coskun, marketing manager at Louis Reyners explained: "We are very excited to be joining forces with Sonoss, France to present BroadWeigh to the public on stand C14 in Hall 3.0. We will be running product demonstrations and a strength competition using the BroadWeigh load cells to measure the strength applied by hands of each participant. Winners of the competition will be presented with a goody bag which we are packing with a range of items including various branded pieces from BroadWeigh, while the overall winner of the show will receive a special prize."
Uno Knaff, marketing manager at Sonoss added: "We will have several 3.25t and 4.75t load cells along with both USB and handheld receptors for demonstration. Software will be running on a laptop and can be displayed on our TV screens which will demonstrate the solution."
Scanrig is also set to demonstrate the wireless system which received its official European debut at last year's show. "We


Blackout provides rigging services to Microgaming

Thursday, 23 March 2017

UK - Working for exhibition designers and producers event.live, Blackout were approached for the third year to provide rigging for Microgaming’s stand and bar at the ICE Totally Gaming exhibition at ExCeL, February 2017.
The Microgaming stand and bar designed and produced by event.live had a daily change in set design to encourage repeat footfall and stand out from the visually competitive surrounding stands. The final day of the show engaged delegates with a castle-themed bar, utilising Blackout’s rigging expertise to suspend a number of chandeliers from one half of the truss grid above the bar to surround guests with in-keeping decor, whilst being entertained by professional sandcastle sculptors organised by Microgaming.
Tim Searle, Blackout’s project manager and his six-strong crew, over the course of three days, supplied and installed 300m of black Prolyte H40v truss forming a rectangular grid from which over 430 kinetic lights were hung above the immersive exhibition stand. The 24m x 20m grid featured a double-layered truss perimeter, onto which 135sq.m of black sharkstooth gauze was attached creating an aerial perimeter of the exhibition stand below. An additional 480sq.m of black gauze was installed across the top of the truss grid, forming a dark ceiling layer. Blackout’s crew supplied 28 1 tonne hoists in order to winch the extensive installa


ModTruss makes more of the world a stage

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

UK - The Pleasance Theatre Trust has bought its first venue. Designed by Triple E, the pop-up 80-capacity ‘Project 33’ will launch at the ABTT Theatre Show in June before going on to host eight shows a day at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
A first major UK application for Triple E ModTruss, the award-winning Meccano-style construction system, Project 33 will provide a sought-after alternative for the courtyard-based Pleasance Beside.
In stark contrast to the prefab cabins which preceded it, limited to 8ft to fit through the archway access, Project 33 will arrive flat packed and provide a 13ft internal height to the benefit of lighting, production and performance.
With a unique clover and bolt-hole pattern repeated every 3” on all six sides, ModTruss has unlimited connection points, allowing the product weight to be reduced without sacrificing any of its strength. And with a huge line of accessories, wheels, hinges, plates, mounts, ModStairs and ModPanels among them, ModTruss can safely provide for almost any stage design.
Project 33 is designed for a fast build and breakdown. The flooring is created using joist hangers and timber joists. The main structure consists of 6” and 12” ModTruss, with sleeve blocks running up the masts to raise the theatre grid and roof in one piece via electric chain hoists. The cladding is a curtain walling


Unusual Rigging at Norwegian Aviation Museum

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Norway - ViFlyr is a new permanent exhibition at the Norwegian Aviation Museum which details the history of civil aviation within Norway. Truly a part of modern Norwegian culture and history, aviation has linked the country together, overcoming the mountainous terrain.
When Michael Loftus, curator at the museum and the man responsible for the care of the exhibits, was briefed with the task of preparing and suspending the aircraft, he brought Unusual Rigging on board to come up with an effective solution that would show off the objects to maximum effect while ensuring that each item was conserved and protected.
Michael explained, "It was quite clear early on that the suspension plan for these aircraft was complex enough to require specialist skills. I had previously worked for Engineering Conservation at National Museums Scotland and knew that Unusual had been contracted there. I also spoke with colleagues at RAF Museum Cosford to find out how they had suspended aircraft and they also recommended Unusual Rigging. The company's prior experience of aircraft within a gallery setting really made Unusual Rigging an attractive proposition."
Unusual's project manager Robin Elias and Chris Johnson, head of design and his team visited Michael in Norway for preparatory meetings and aircraft inspections and the aircraft were suspended in phases over several visits.


Doughty helps Little Angel Theatre transform

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

UK - The Little Angel Theatre (LAT) in the heart of Islington, London, is a home for puppetry. Not only does the theatre serve to inspire and ignite the imaginations of young minds with its repertoire of productions but it also works to equip tomorrow's puppeteers with the tools they need to succeed. The LAT has a lively and imaginative education programme which works with local schools and community groups as well as providing training opportunities for puppeteers and puppet makers, helping to maintain this rare art form in the UK.
In 2014, the LAT took on a second building - a disused community centre behind Islington Town Hall. After a couple of years of using it for education and rehearsal space, David Duffy head of production, decided that it could be used to stage performances. With the support of the local council, the LAT made plans to install a lighting rig, sound system, track curtains, removable dance floor and flexible seating and chose to work with Doughty Engineering following a change meeting with Laurence Dyer at ABTT in 2016.
David said, "Initially, we were interested in the Modular Rigging System. Little Angel Theatre is a venue dedicated to puppetry and much of the lighting design for puppetry involves lots of side lighting. Our main theatre was developed to give as many rigging positions on the side walls as possible. Moving into a more op


ASM Steuerungstechnik appoints sales director

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Germany - ASM Steuerungstechnik, an innovative producer of lifting equipment, has announced the appointment of André Bragard-De Naeyer as international sales director.
His primary mission is to develop the international presence of ASM in collaboration with distributors, dealers, integrators and to promote the ASM product range with consultants.
“I’m very excited to be joining ASM and this incredibly talented and innovative team” André asserted,” ASM has a reputation of being an innovative manufacturer of hoists and controls for use in performance productions. I have admired their highly-engineered selection of steel band and chain driven hoists for some time and it is a pleasure to be their ambassador.”
Maurycy Sowka, CEO of ASM, adds, “I’m very enthusiastic of welcoming André into the ASM family. With his extensive experience in international sales and market development he will enable ASM to strengthen our position in existing markets and with existing customers, while allowing ASM to expand into new markets and new projects.”
The ASM range of hoists includes point-hoists, stage and scenery hoists, chain hoists and control.
(Jim Evans)


PLASA Focus Leeds returns with a top seminar schedule for 2017

Monday, 20 March 2017

UK - PLASA Focus Leeds is back with a stellar line-up of seminar sessions and speakers for this year’s event on 9-10 May at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds. The free to attend exhibition is a leading platform for the entertainment industry, offering an opportunity to discover the very latest technology including products from recent international launches.
Speakers this year include James Simpson, lighting visualiser at the Royal Opera House, who will be discussing the latest technologies in use at the Royal Opera House, with a look at how some recent projects have been technically achieved. Simpson will also be talking for the first time about an exciting new R&D project being developed at the ROH which uses Augmented Reality technology to create new opportunities for design teams to visualise their ideas – the talk will include a live demonstration.
The future of audio technology is also high on the agenda; d&b audiotechnik’s Oran Burns will be exploring this topic in a session titled ‘What’s Next for Pro Audio.’ LSi audio journalist Phil Ward will host a panel session to discuss ‘Is Point Source Fighting Back?’ an exploration of the varied applications of point source over line array.
The hugely popular Riggers’ Forum will return to Leeds, led once again by Harry Box and Chris Higgs, known for their thought provoking sem


Pointman debuts Flex-Phase electric chain hoist

Monday, 20 March 2017

USA - Pointman Lifting Products has introduced the Flex-Phase hoist. Initially available in the 1/4T capacity Model S unit, this new to market hoist gives users the flexibility of powering their hoist with either 115V single-phase power or 230V three-phase power, without changing any parts in the hoist.
With a lifting capacity of 500 pounds at 16ft per minute regardless of operating voltage, Flex-Phase is a suitable tool for companies whose projects run the range from small events projects up to large tradeshow events. The compact chassis and low self-weight of the SM series platform combine to make the Flex-Phase hoist easy for crews to handle, and leaves more of the rigging points capacity for the support of the production equipment. A Flex-Phase unit fitted with 60ft of lift weighs in at less than 50lb.
“This hoist meets a need for a very large segment of our industry. In many cases the convenience of a single-phase hoist is the difference between an easy load in, or a larger labour call,” says Elmer Veith, Flex-Phase project lead. “Not having to carry a duplicate inventory of hoists to cover those cases means you can take on any project without worrying if you can get the right power or the right hoist. It’s liking getting two hoists in one body.”
Flex-Phase hoists will work with a single channel control pendant, or can be operated from


Spotlight on MILOS Roofs – fourth video released

Friday, 17 March 2017

Europe - MILOS has released the fourth and final video as part of its three-month spotlight on MILOS Roofs (1 January – 31 March).
In this final video of the series, Area Four Industries GmbH technical director Norbert Tripp explains how the required ballast is calculated for temporary demountable structures due to the effects of overturning, sliding and uplifting.
Click here to watch the fourth MILOS Roofs video
(Jim Evans)


Backup charity raises awareness at special event

Friday, 17 March 2017

UK – Supporters and trustees of Backup - The Technical Entertainment Charity - gathered in London on Monday evening to help raise the profile of the charity’s new name and logo in entertainment industry. Around 80 guests attended the event, which included live entertainment from Jay Johnson.
Backup exists to provide financial support to technical professionals working in live events, theatre, TV and film, helping them to get back on their feet when their lives are disrupted by illness or injury to themselves or to family members. Previously known as Behind The Scenes UK, the charity changed its name to Backup in 2016.
Backup’s chairman, John Simpson, welcomed guests to The Hospital Club in London’s Covent Garden, which generously sponsored the event. He reiterated the purpose of the charity by highlighting some of its achievements to date. “We have helped a number of technicians and their families when they have suffered falls from sets and studio rigging, been involved in horrific vehicle accidents, suffered rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, mental breakdowns and other circumstances that have prevented them from earning a living for a period of time.”
Among those being helped by the charity is Mark Pritchard, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma while touring with Level 42, and has just undergone a fourth round of c


New motors for Centurion-based Eventech

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

South Africa - Eventech, a Centurion based rental company has purchased 12 new Prolyft Aetos motors which will be used for their ground support, for flying PA, or which can be rented out.
“We chose Prolyft for various reasons,” said Wynand Veldsman of the company. “Reliability, safety and it was time to upgrade our current motors. Prolyft is often specified, and when used on events, the motors are quiet, aesthetically pleasing and look neat in a rig.”
The motors were purchased from DWR Distribution. “We are pleased to see the growth of Eventech and all the exciting projects they have in the pipeline,” said Robert Izzett from DWR. “When a good crew is complimented with good equipment, you can’t go wrong.”
(Jim Evans)


ETC prepares lighting and rigging line-up for PL+S

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Germany – ETC is powering up to demonstrate a selection of its latest and most popular lighting and rigging solutions at this year’s Prolight+Sound, taking place in Frankfurt from 4–7 April. ETC representatives from around the globe will be available to answer questions regarding lighting control, luminaires, rigging and complete system solutions, in hall 3.0 on stands E47, E51 and F51.
Visit stand E51 to see the recently launched Gio @5 console. This lighting desk brings the professional-grade control of the Eos Ti and Gio consoles within reach of users with tighter spaces – and tighter budgets. Receive a demo using the Gio @5, another Eos-family console, or Cobalt Wings, and see in action a selection of ETC’s Source Four LED Series 2 luminaires.
On stand E47, product specialists will show all the features of the entire ColorSource family of products. Developed for those with limited budgets who want a complete, high-quality LED lighting system with plug-and-play setup, the family includes ColorSource and ColorSource AV consoles, ColorSource® Spot, PAR and Linear fixtures, and ColorSource Relay and ThruPower power control solutions.
Stand F51 offers the opportunity to discuss ETC’s selection of cost-effective rigging solutions, designed with halls and smaller stages in mind. This is also where you can find the latest innovations in Unison


inspHire launches new website and branding

Monday, 13 March 2017

UK - inspHire has introduced its new global website. Cementing inspHire’s position as a leading promoter of hire software globally, with offices in UK, USA, Netherlands and Australia, the user-friendly site provides a hub of information about the hire management software provider; from innovative products and customer case studies to company news and values.
The new website features customer case studies, as well as inspHire’s latest software updates and product developments. Over 2200 hire companies are already utilising inspHire software, the company says.


Getting Hypnotic with Wilkinson

Monday, 13 March 2017

UK - Colour Sound Experiment delivered equipment for a recent UK tour by pioneering d‘n’b music producer Wilkinson, a much anticipated series of sold-out gigs ahead of the release of his new Hypnotic album in April - working with lighting designer Sam Tozer.
Playing a variety of venues, this was an opportunity for the company’s new pre-rigged trussing - a Litec product specially modified for them - to provide a flexible and practical solution. Features include an expedient four-wide-two-high stacking truck pack combined with super-fast deployment onstage.
The regional dates were primarily at academy venues, culminating in a high profile high pressure performance at London's Roundhouse. The look and design developed for the tour was a total change from any previous Wilkinson live shows, and a big part of the aesthetic goal was to produce something new and exciting.
The floor package was based around six trussing towers - made up of the new pre-rigged truss. All the fixtures and cable looms staying in the trussing for transportation, and once unloaded from the truck the truss towers are moved swiftly into place using removable wheelbases which detach once they are in place on the custom X-base floor stands which provide excellent vertical stability.
The show concept was initiated after discussions with Mark Wilkinson himself and his m


Power Logistics wins racecourse renewal

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

UK - Power Logistics has won a competitive tender that sees its contract to deliver comprehensive temporary electrical distribution services and generator provision to several of The Jockey Club’s most prestigious racecourses extended for a further three years.
Having already successfully provided electrical distribution services and generators for four and three years respectively, Power Logistics’ track record, high levels of service, investment in equipment and competitive pricing structure have resulted in the contract extension.
The contract encompasses generator hire, design, consultancy, installation, maintenance and de-rig for all The Jockey Club’s temporary power requirements. Power Logistics will continue to provide generators, cabling and distribution equipment and lighting solutions to service catering, trading, display and betting areas at many of The Jockey Club’s flagship events. These include Cheltenham’s Open and Gold Cup; Aintree’s Randox Health Grand National and The Investec Derby at Epsom.
Mike Whitehouse, managing director at Power Logistics said, “We were incredibly proud to secure our first contract with The Jockey Club, so to have it extended for a further three years is a fantastic endorsement of our services and underlines the excellent job that our experienced team of project managers and crew are doing out i


Kinesys to exhibit at USITT 2017

Thursday, 2 March 2017

USA - Motion control specialist and manufacturer Kinesys will exhibit for the first time in its own right at a US trade show during the three-day USITT 2017 stage expo in St. Louis, Missouri, from 9-11 March.
Stand 1404 will focus on two of the leading brand’s most popular product ranges, DigiHoist intelligent motor controllers and the Libra range of load monitoring equipment, as well as highlighting Elevation vari-speed chain hoists which will interest those looking for more advanced automation systems.
David Bond of Kinesys USA comments: “The North American market is currently expanding for us and we want to nurture this growth and reach out to more potential buyers, users and specifiers.”
He thinks that USITT is an ideal environment for meeting a diverse cross section of industry professionals working in the key sectors of theatre, performance, and the arts as well as a variety of venues. “First-hand communication is always invaluable, and our high expectations of what the USITT expo can deliver is based on thorough research,” he affirms.
While Kinesys is already well established in the concert touring and production rental segments, Bond believes that USITT attracts the perfect demographic to introduce the Kinesys brand to venue operation and creative theatrical professionals and students alike. The Kinesys booth will feature a truss


Careers initiative at Stage|Set|Scenery

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Germany - Technically oriented theatre, film and event careers are wíde-ranging and creative. This is something that the international trade show and conference Stage|Set|Scenery, which will take place from 20-22 June in Berlin, aims to take into account by organising a special programme for young professionals. The reason is a decline in young people learning technical skills, which has led to growing competition on the home and international employment market. This is where Stage|Set|Scenery will seize the opportunity to promote a dialogue between cultural institutions and the employees of the future.
Business colleges, universities and other professional training institutions will be represented in Hall 23. They include Akademie der Österreichischen Theatertechnischen Gesellschaft, Berufliche Schule Holz. Farbe. Textil, Beuth Hochschule für Technik in Berlin, DEAplus, DHBW Ravensburg, Hochschule für Bildende Künste Dresden, IECA Internationale Event- & Congress Akademie, the New Design University St. Pölten, Theaterakademie August Everding Studiengang Maskenbild – Theater und Film, as well as Oberstufenzentrum für Gestaltung, Wilhelm-Ostwald-Schule, whose trainees will paint a scene for the stage live in Hall 23.
Next door in Hall 22, on the stage area of A. Haussmann Theaterbedarf GmbH, interested trade visitors can try out their own s


Power distribution specialist extends rental fleet

Friday, 24 February 2017

UK - Power distribution specialist ide Systems has expanded the fleet of products available through its ide Rental service with the addition of its new mains distribution unit, the MD63. The product is a power distribution unit for temporary electrical installations, such as those in the event industry, and is housed in a high density polyethylene enclosure to ensure resistance to impact and the elements.
The MD63’s polyethylene enclosure is designed to provide consistent performance and safety, with recessed socket and switchgear panels for mechanical protection and ingress protection (IP) rated sockets that protect against dust and splashes of water. Each outlet of the unit also features a red power light, allowing electrical contractors and event staff to easily identify whether an outlet is live.
The MD63 has 15 output sockets to accommodate the large number of electrical applications that are now used at events. These include six 16A three-pin sockets, six 32A three-pin and three 32A five-pin sockets, allowing event staff to power a variety of electrical equipment and installations from one unit.
“In recent years, we have seen the events sector become increasingly reliant on effective electrical infrastructure,” explained Stuart Barnett, rental manager at ide Rental. “Whether it’s because of more elaborate stage setups or the growing numb


Mobile Technik named Promocube distributor

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

UK - Mobile Technik, specialist in event trailers and pop-up structures, has been appointed as the sole UK distributor for the German-made mobile event space, Promocube. The Promocube is a versatile mobile event space that “heralds a dramatic new design”, opening to create an innovative 36m² pop-up environment. From high-end VIP hospitality suites, experiential brand zones, TV studios and broadcast hubs to pop-up retail units for UK touring roadshows, this new temporary event space helps to create environments to meet a range of budgets and creative briefs.
The Promocube is designed for both indoor and outdoor use with an open structure for an airy feel, or with easy-to-assemble Plexiglass panels providing a weather resistant, temperature controlled, enclosed environment. This space is fully customisable to suit any requirement from wrapping the whole structure with branding to installing internal screen displays and event furniture.
Manufactured in Germany, each structure is transported on a flat-bed trailer and simply installed on site by hydraulics lifting the Promocube off the trailer and easily into place.
Mobile Technik’s Billy Smart comments: “This is a revolutionary new product to the UK events market as a temporary structure with the look and feel of a sleek permanent building. The team were impressed with how quick and easy the Promo


Distro equipment stolen from site

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

UK – A piece of distro equipment stolen from a site in East London recently is being sought by its owner, The Technical Department Ltd. The item is a DT12 - Type 12, 63A/3-phase to 2x32A/3-phase box (pictured). As the photograph shows, the item is clearly marked on the top with ‘TYPE 12’.
It is believed that the item was stolen by an opportunist thief, and that it will reappear for sale on the market. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the equipment is asked to contact Jerry Singleton at The Technical Department [email protected].


Glantre and ASM - an uplifting partnership

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

UK - Glantre Engineering has become ASM’s UK, Republic of Ireland, & Middle East approved distribution partner. Glantre announced the partnership with ASM having recently installed 29 HCWA Junior Hoists and control in a provincial theatre in Leamington Spa, UK.
Germany-based ASM is a manufacturer of hoists and controls for use in performance productions. All hoists are BGV-C1 and control is SIL 3. The ASM range of hoists includes point-hoists, stage and scenery hoists, chain hoists and control. These systems offer silent operation, and flexibility for load and speed to fit all types of venues and budgets.
Maurycy Sowka, CEO at ASM, added: “Partnering with ASM was a natural choice for Glantre and we are certain that our partnership will be of great mutual benefit. Glantre offers a complete service under one roof, for a convenient and efficient service to all customers. We offer stage engineering, audio-visual, lighting, audio and broadcast solutions and now with ASM, performance hoist systems.”
(Jim Evans)


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