Carola gets festive with Robe
Friday, 10 January 2020
1robe-carola-concerts-dsc2898Carola played 12 sold-out festive shows at the Slottsladan in Steninge Slottsby (photo: Karin Törnblom)
Sweden - Singer and songwriter Carola Maria Häggkvist – best known as Carola – has been one of Sweden's most popular performers since the early 1980s, releasing a range of albums over that time encompassing pop and disco to hymns and folk music.
She has just played 12 sold-out festive shows at the Slottsladan (Castle Barn) in Steninge Slottsby, around 35km north of Stockholm with special Christmas lighting designed by Danne Persson of Roxy Lighting and including a selection of Robe moving lights – 18 x MegaPointes, 8 x T1 Profiles, six BMFL Spots and one RoboSpot system.
The venue is newly refurbished. The old barn was ‘discovered’ by Carola when she relocated to Steninge Slottsby a couple of years ago and it became her dream to perform there.
The charismatic space is 60 metres long, 20 metres wide and dates to 1900. It’s now adjacent to a collection of retail outlets and restaurants which have been built more recently. Construction company Gelba thought restoring the barn was a great idea and started rebuilding it – tastefully – specifically as a performance venue in 2018. The goal was to retain all the old world ‘barn-like’ charm, and with creative use of contemporary materials like Plexiglass, insulation, and modern heating, offer some cool 21st-century event production facilities.
In December 2018, Carola played seven shows at the newly opened Slottsladan which sold out immediately. The shows were so universally popular that this year she doubled the number of gigs to 14 and recorded Carola’s Advent, a four-part TV series for Sweden’s TV3 channel.
Danne has worked with the artist on several occasions during one-off shows, festivals, and telecasts, but this was their first full-scale artist / designer production collaboration. The show contained a mix of Carola’s greatest hits plus some special Christmas and Festive numbers.
They decided on no video elements for the shows, so the visual impact and atmosphere was all down to lighting and set. The set was designed by Carola herself including a 12 x 8 stage with a five-piece band on stage right and a 12-person choir on stage left on risers. Stairs led from the stage to a 25-metre-long 40cm high runway going right out into the audience.
Danne and Carola discussed mood boards. “We wanted a warm CTO feeling at the start of the show and Carola was adamant about emphasizing the warm, cosy and inclusive feeling of the barn,” he explained.
Flying is limited so lighting rental company Scenteknik AVL from Uppsala built two ground supported box trusses 16m wide by 9m, with 9m of headroom – that were concealed behind the Barn’s structural wooden beams.
The first was over the stage and this was rigged with 12 of the MegaPointes on the upstage most truss with three MegaPointes on each of the two upstage legs. In the middle of the back truss, a T1 Profile was positioned and linked into the RoboSpot system for back follow-spot style lighting.
MegaPointes were chosen for rear lighting and for their excellent beams and gobos which provided the main effects lighting for the whole show.
On the second box truss over the catwalk, the T1 Profiles rigged on the front section were used for general downstage washes, and on the next truss back was a T1 Profile also linked to the RoboSpot system, with a RoboSpot remote camera beside it providing line-of-sight view to the stage for both T1 Profile follow spots.
Upstage on the floor were the six BMFL Spots. Their main function was to project gobos onto the back wall and engage in aerial beam work. The RoboSpot BaseStation was located at FOH.
The operator had control of zoom and tilt to adjust the back light, and the rest of the parameters, including dimmer, were controlled by Danne’s grandMA3 light console, which ran all the Robes and some other lights including LED washes, LED PARs, LED floods and some conventional static profiles.
The team included Jonas Hessel of Scenteknik AVL who was crew chief and looked after dimmers, RoboSpot operator John Nilsson, stage manager Timmie Malmberg and project manager Lotta Bjurenstedt-Waern.
(Jim Evans)

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