USA - UK audio design firm Union Audio, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this month, has announced the appointment of Sweetwater to manage distribution of its audio products across the Americas.

Effective immediately, Sweetwater will manage the sales and distribution of the orbit and elara mixers and accessories, as well as any future product releases, to customers in the USA, Canada and South America.

"The Union Audio brand is about bespoke analogue audio products, meticulously engineered and hand built. We're thrilled to be able to partner with the leading retailer in such a major territory,” says Union founder Andy Rigby-Jones. “The new partnership will enable us to bring this excellence to a wider customer base, whilst maintaining our manu

USA - Magic Reinvented Nightly, magician Mat Franco’s current Las Vegas residency, is staged at the Mat Franco Arena at the LINQ Hotel+Experience.

Production lighting designer Scott Chmielewski from design studio DMDS7UDIOS was first asked to create a lighting environment for this show in 2020 when it launched. Scott has worked with creative director / producer Brian Burke on top TV shows like American Idol and America’s Got Talent and has crafted his own multidisciplinary lighting aesthetic blending the theatrical with the televisual.

The Mat Franco show – under the artistic direction of scenic designer Joe O’Neill was initially planned to run for five years – and received a quick refresh during the COVID period, followed by a full production and room re-design in February 2023. This last update brought large qua

UK - The first day of the ABTT Theatre Show at Alexandra Palace on 5 June will be open from 10am until 5.30pm but activities will not stop then.

For 2024, the ABTT Award Presentations will be kicking off from 5.30pm with drinks served outside the Londesborough Room as visitors and exhibitors join together to take their seat to celebrate the recipients of the awards for products and people making advances in our world.

The Products Awards include Sound Product, Lighting Product, Engineering Product and Widget of the Year plus Stand of the Year for 2024. The People Awards include Technician of the Year, Emerging Excellence, Environmental Sustainability, Costume plus the Award for WHAM Design.

Following these celebrations, will be a new innovation for 2024, the ABTT Social on the Terrace.

Attendees and exhibitors are invited to continue

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ETC Ministar

ETC introduces the High End Systems Ministar, a game-changer in our automated lighting product line. Ministar brings exceptional versatility and performance at an affordable price point; with a compact footprint, punchy output, and a professional feature set, Ministar fits the spec and budget for small to medium-sized venues.

Spain - Home of Zarzuela - a form of Spanish traditional musical comedy – central Madrid’s Teatro de la Zarzuela was restored to its historic beauty in 1913 after a fire destroyed the original 1856 building. Now owned by the Ministry of Culture and a designated Asset of General Interest with Monument status since 1994, the Teatro is Spain’s first and only Spanish lyric theatre.

The most famous Zarzuela performances have premiered here and the best works of its repertoire are still sung and heard here to this day to audiences in excess of 1,200.

Theatre, television and event rental company, CityLight Iluminación, has supplied 32 Robert Juliat Dalis 860 Cyclorama lights to the opulent venue, procured from Robert Juliat’s exclusive distributor for Spain, EarPro & EES.

Teatro de la Zarzuela’s technical team carried out some in dept

USA - Il Divo are currently on their 20th anniversary global tour, which is animated by a vibrant Ignacio (Iggy) Rosenberg lighting design that represents a dramatic departure from previous shows.

“This being the group’s 20th anniversary tour, we wanted to give them a refreshed, modern look,” said Rosenberg. “It was the best time for them to get a total revamp.  Some of the band members had ideas they wanted (including lasers and video), and I wanted to minimize the orchestra to express the individual identities of the four singers more dramatically.”

As part of new design, Rosenberg revamped the production’s audience lighting. To accomplish this, he added eight Chauvet Professional Color STRIKE M fixtures, supplied by The Lighting Design Group, to his rig.

“The band loves seeing their audience,” he said. “I wanted to push

China - Colombian singer-songwriter Juan Gomez’s concert at Beijing’s Zhongshan ‘Forbidden’ City Concert Hall has used the ethernet-based Green-GO digital solution to improve efficiency.

The Concert Hall is known as the ‘pearl of music in China’s royal garden’ as it is situated inside one of Beijing's most beautiful parks, Zhongshan Park, and surrounded by historic gardens and landmarks. Its main stage measures 23m wide and 14m tall, offering more than 1,400 seats on two floors. The venue hosts both international tours, the Beijing International Music Festival and concerts by the China Philharmonic Orchestra and Beijing Symphony Orchestra.

China Green-GO dealer and AV expert EZPro was tasked to provide a high-quality intercom system for sound engineers and stage staff for the show. “The technical team had no previous awareness of the

Poland - MSD Animal Health, part of Merck & Co, based in Rahway, New Jersey, has opened a new experience centre located at the company's production plant in Psary Małe (Greater Poland Voivodeship), established to present the company's solutions in the field of animal health identification and monitoring.

The unit's activities will support breeders and veterinarians in learning about the latest technological solutions supporting animal breeding and production.

IT integrators Koma Nord called in architectural sound installation specialists Lauda Instalacje who proposed a Nexo sound system comprising a pair of the French manufacturer’s ID84 column speakers mounted either side of the main screen, with LF extension from two ultra-compact LS400 subs mounted and hidden on the wall to the right. Processing and amplification are provided by Nexo’s DT

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Strictly FX Highlights

Strictly FX was founded in 1996 by industry veterans Mark Grega and Ted Maccabee. Our expertise and knowledge of the world’s leading pyrotechnic, laser, and flame manufacturers allows us to curate astonishing live events. With over 500+ shows performed a year, there’s good chance you’ve seen some of our work!

UK - Cardiff-based Magnum PA and SR Productions enjoy an ongoing strategic partnership, with Martin Audio’s Wavefront Precision series line array at the heart of it. While Magnum PA carries the flagship WPL in its inventory, SR supports the versatile WPC in its hire fleet - so that between the two companies, the Martin Audio box count exceeds 150.

To further strengthen the offering, both companies frequently partner with Bristol-based SWG Events, offering a formidable collective inventory. Long-standing SR Productions client Orchard Media and Events Group recently required a solution to cover delegates for Admiral Group’s annual staff general meeting at Utilita Arena Cardiff.

A main hang of 12 WPL per side was supported by an out-fill of eight WPC per side, while centre-fill duties were carried out by four TORUS T820 and monitors by four LE200s.

Damage Limitation - The UK risks "self-inflicted economic and diplomatic damage" if it does not take action to strengthen its creative industries, a new report has warned. To combat this, the report has made a series of recommendations, including the creation of a ‘soft-power council’ representing "the diversity of British talent" in government and "making requisite changes across the visa system to ensure it is fit for purpose for the creative industries".

The report has been produced by University of the Arts London and Erskine Analysis and is designed to "examine the critical role of the creative industries as a source of economic growth".

Entitled Keeping the UK’s Creative Industries Globally Competitive: a Playbook to Protect Our Future Prosperity and Security, the report calls the creative industries "both a huge strength and in

Sweden - Standard Audio Systems AB has been appointed Renkus-Heinz distributor for Sweden.

Karl Kahlau, CEO of Standard Audio Systems AB, comments, "We are honoured to be appointed as Renkus-Heinz's exclusive distributor in Sweden. The brand’s reputation for excellence aligns perfectly with our mission to provide our customers with cutting-edge audio solutions. With the ICONYX Series among the other exceptional product ranges from Renkus-Heinz, we are confident in our ability to meet the diverse audio needs of our clients."    

Standard Audio Systems AB distributes a portfolio of professional audio products across Sweden, offering technical support and services where necessary. This new partnership with Renkus-Heinz expands Standard Audio Systems’ portfolio with a selection of innovative products, including the renowned ICONYX Series.   

Australia - Based on Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s fairy tale La Belle et la Bête, Disney’s Beauty & the Beast was the first full-length stage show to be produced by the newly created Disney Theatrical Productions (DTP) company. The musical has since grossed more than $1.7bn worldwide and played in 15 countries and 115 cities and remains one of Broadway’s biggest successes.

A new Australian production – based on the 2021 UK revival - is currently mid-way through a tour across Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. This latest production features sound from KV2 Audio, designed by sound designer and long-time Disney collaborator, John Shivers.

Shivers first started work on Beauty and the Beast for the Shanghai production in 2018. He and his associate designers, Kevin Kennedy and Greg Pink along with sound engineer Andy Sha

USA - Daze Between New Orleans returned to Faubourg Brewery on 30 April – 1 May, bridging the consecutive weekends of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival with two days of live music, local cuisine, craft beer, and good times.

Now in its third year, the festival showcased two stages, both powered by official sound partner Meyer Sound. From jam to jazz, funk to rock, the lineup showcased acts from the Big Easy and beyond, including Galactic, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and headliners Lettuce and Gov’t Mule.

Meyer Sound systems were provided by Upscale Productions of Lake Charles, Louisiana. Panther large-format linear line array loudspeakers returned to the main Daze Between stage, paired with the 2100‑LFC low-frequency control element. The Jerry Garcia Wellness Stage centred around Leopard compact linear array loudspeakers, supplemented

USA - Elation’s R&D department embarked on a development project that spanned several years to tackle the challenge of achieving ‘the perfect balance between colour accuracy and intensity’. The result is TruTone Technology, an advancement that allows designers to adjust CRI from a single fixture in order to find the best lighting fidelity.

Achieving that perfect balance between brightness and colour accuracy is an issue that has persisted in the entertainment lighting industry for years and holds significance for lighting designers and rental houses alike. Traditional LED engines, with their fixed CRI values, have fallen short in delivering a comprehensive spectrum, leaving designers and gear providers with inflexible options. Despite the industry’s numerous attempts to address this shortfall, the ideal solution has remained elusive.


The Netherlands - Following the pandemic, Racoon embarked on an extensive tour of The Netherlands in support of their album.

The quartet performed at a wide variety of venues, from amphitheatres and festivals, to clubs and theatres during their busy 30-month tour. Each show had its own distinctive atmosphere, which is why Racoon’s long-time lighting designer, Erwin Van Lokeren created different looks for every stop along the way.

Now, as Racoon does the final shows of its extended run, Van Lokeren has woven together many of those looks from the past two-and-a-half years into a transformative tapestry. Moving seamlessly through a spectrum of emotions, his design blends live images of the band’s members on a blow-through video wall with evocative (mostly warm white) light projected from multiple angles.

“I took all those designs from prev

The Netherlands - With the 2022 version of Soenda Indoor Werkspoorkathedraal in Utrecht being a major success, repeating the trick for the 2023 edition in the same location would be no small feat. T.Y.S were once again on hand to create a design that surpassed expectations.

The biggest challenge for the design team was coming up with a solution that could turn the cavernous Werkspoorkathedraal into a venue with a cosy club atmosphere. With a floor surface of 5,800 m2 to cover and a ceiling height of 20m, there was plenty of scope for creativity.

Together with the event’s producer, Elevation Events, the design team decided that doing something with motion could add a surprising new dimension to the lighting setup for the 2023 edition. This culminated in the construction of four large square frames that were suspended from the venue’s two crane tra

UK - A celebration of the remarkable life of Richard Pilbrow - lighting designer, theatre consultant, producer, author, educator, mentor, friend, and so much more – is being held today (17 May) at the Dorfman - formerly Cottesloe - at the National Theatre.

The Pilbrow family, along with the ALPD and the ABTT invite those who knew Richard to join them at the venue from 1.30pm. “All are welcome,” a statement says. Like the great producer Richard sometimes was, we want a sold-out event, maybe even bursting a little at the seams - but not to end up with people unable to get in.”

Anyone who can’t make it but would still like to commemorate Richard is asked to do so by supporting the entertainment charities Backup Tech (in the UK) or Behind The Scenes (in the US).

Poland - Void Acoustics has announced a partnership with Phono Media as its distributor in Poland, the latest addition to Void’s rapidly expanding network of professional AV dealers.

Founded in 2010, Phono Media delivers visual and sound solutions across a wide range of commercial sectors, including hotels, restaurants and multipurpose venues. Void chose Phono Media as its regional distributor to help grow its business opportunities in the emerging Eastern European market and raise Void’s profile in the wider hospitality market in the region.

Phono Media has already begun installing Void’s products in venues in Poland. As Void’s Polish distributor, the company’s showrooms are equipped with Void Acoustics’ speaker range, enabling prospective buyers to experience the products up close.

Jacek Stanisławski, CEO at Phono Media, said:

Europe - Simple Minds are back on the road for their 2024 Global Tour, playing arenas and proving perennially popular to both old and new generations of music fans.

The production has also been growing and developing in size and dynamics with Robe iForte and BMFL moving lights assisting show and lighting designer Mark Wynn-Edwards to produce a colourful show supporting the band’s powerful up-tempo set.

The show design is new but contains some threads inspired by the 2020 arena tour which was abruptly halted due to the pandemic. Mark has been working with the band since 2018, initially coming onboard to look after media servers.

The tour features 14 x iForte in the floor package and three iForte for followspot duties plus 37 x BMFLs in the flown rig which are the main hard edge and workhorse lights of the design. All kit is supplied by Solot

Italy - Tenax, a beacon of the underground club scene in Florence, recently underwent a sonic upgrade with the installation of a new sound system from K-array. Boasting 43 years of continuous activity and a star-studded roster of performers including the likes of Daft Punk, Ben Harper, and Dream Theater, Tenax required a system that would live up to the club’s reputation whilst honouring the requirements for low frequencies in a built-up urban area.

The team at K-array worked directly with the in-house technicians at Tenax to design and implement the updated system. “Our headquarters are located just outside of Florence city, so we have strong connections with the nightclub and with the underground music culture that has evolved from Tenax over the decades,” explains Daniel Strasserra, global business development manager at K-array. “Whilst a key goa

Qatar/UAE - The inaugural Qatar-UAE Super Cup football tournament kicked off in Doha, Qatar on April 12, 2024, showcasing talent from both nations, then continued the next day with the UAE-Qatar Super Cup Shield match in Dubai.

Qvision (Qatar Vision), the Doha-based event production and management company, was charged with bringing the organising committee’s vision to life in spectacular opening ceremonies featuring a large complement of Claypaky lighting fixtures.    

For the opening ceremony’s show, Qvision artistic director and executive producer, Sharif Hashisho, devised a mesmerising display at Al Thumama World Cup stadium where storytelling laser animation highlighted the development of football in the GCC region and the significance of the newly established championship. A massive array of Claypaky beams lit up the night sky, sweeping

South Africa - Theatre and professional rental specialist, Gearhouse Splitbeam of Johannesburg, has made its first investment in Ayrton, purchasing a consignment of new Ayrton Rivale Profile fixtures from Ayrton’s South African distribution partner, Planetworld.

The decision came after a concerted post-pandemic fact-finding mission to secure the best new LED moving lights with which to update Splitbeam’s aging lighting stock, spurred on by the impending requirements of Showtime Management’s production of Mamma Mia! later in the year and a need to increase its stock of LED moving lights. Departing from its traditional manufacturers, Splitbeam decided in favour of Ayrton Rivale Profile following a shoot-out between major manufacturers’ products and a visit to the Ayrton factory just ahead of the launch of Rivale Profile.

“We are essentially a

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