Bidvest returns with Future Now extravaganza
Tuesday, 21 June 2022
robe-bidvest-future-now-show-2022-zio251828109Stage, set and lighting design was delivered by Tim Dunn from nVisible agency (photo: Louise Stickland)
South Africa - The first major live post-pandemic corporate event staged in South Africa was organised by international services, trading and distribution company Bidvest for key clients, suppliers and staff. Taking the theme Future Now, the large and impressive show returned live after a two-year absence, staged for the first time at the Time Square Arena in Pretoria with newly appointed CEO Nompumelelo Thembekile Madisa.
Future Now was a special commission for Bidvest created and produced by the team of David Bloch of David Bloch International and choreographer Debbie Rakusin, who commissioned Gearhouse South Africa as technical supplier together with Pieter Joubert as technical director.
Stage, set and lighting design was delivered by Tim Dunn from nVisible agency, who flew in from the UK to programme and run the show lighting, which he did in close collaboration with Robert Grobler from technical contractor, Gearhouse South Africa (GSA).
Tim and Robert created some eye-catching lighting that ramped up the drama and the fun factors with the help of over 250 Robe moving lights.
Previously, Tim has lit the show when living in South Africa and working for Gearhouse, and for this occasion the company supplied additional lighting kit that was added to the substantial Times Square house lighting rig.
Gearhouse Group company Sets Drapes Screens built the set. This comprised of a series of interlocking geometric shapes including three hexagonal thrust stages at the front surrounded by a series of triangular shaped facias outlined in LED tubes which filled the entire width of the room. Upstage was a recessed and raised area that showcased concept segments of some of the production dance routines that were performed by a large cast of over 200 which consisted of dancers, singers, a choir, a local celebrity DJ and speciality acts.
The video elements supplied by Led Vision also spanned the whole width, creating an epic wide-stage reminiscent of the African skies and horizons, and were designed in layers with an elegant eight-way centre cluster of LED strip suggesting a powerful, positive South African sun image at the core of the space, also following the shape geometry idea. Along each side of the stage were three levels of video panels, with left and right IMAG screens completing the picture.
“The intention was to use the video to add depth and vibrancy as well as subtlety to the stage - I wanted to get a lot of video in there, but not for it to look overpowering,” commented Tim. Video playback content was supplied and operated by Inka Kendzia.
Throughout the evening, guests were entertained by a line-up of African singing, musical and dance talent such as Bongi Mthombeni, Corlea Botha and Thembeka Mnguni as well as performing sets from local heroes Encore, a vibrant trio who sing in Setswana
The Ndlovu Youth Choir raised the roof and helped ramp up an exceptional atmosphere with rhythm and soul.
With all this diversity and colour onstage, the pressure was on Tim and Robert to pull out all the stops with the lighting. On the second show evening, an Awards section was added to the schedule, recognising Bidvest staff from Southern Africa, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Spain and their achievements over the last year.
Tim and Robert’s biggest challenges were ensuring enough lighting to cover the full dynamic spectrum of the show.
The 130 Pointes were the cornerstone of the lighting design. These were positioned in the air all over the stage, set and risers and were used for everything . . . from the big bold anthemic rock and R ‘n’ B numbers to the power ballads and the more delicate balletic pieces where the stage space needed to be closed right down.
The 45 Spiiders and 52 BMFL Blades plus 12 BMFL Spots were the key lights and the main stage lights. With large ensembles of dancers for most of the numbers, they needed the flexibility of having lights from all angles of the rig contributing to the looks.
Two additional BMFL WashBeams on RoboSpot systems were positioned on two of the short downstage trusses rigged with pin spots for the dining tables
The 16 MegaPointes were mounted mainly on the set in between the side LED panels, where they were the main side dancer lighting positions as well as producing cool back lighting effects and back-of-shot eye candy for the cameras.
Time was tight for get-in, set up and programming, so Tim and Robert programmed the show simultaneously working on different grandMA consoles in the same session.
Eyal Yehezkely was GSA’s project manager for the event. FOH sound was mixed by Johan Griesel for Seal, and Jakob de Wit for the gala event and other artists, both using the Times Square PA house system.
All other technical aspects were delivered by the Gearhouse Group of companies, except for Pixel Nation who provided the Watchout system and services for the AV playback and MGG as inhouse technical supplier to Time Square provided rigging and additional lighting support including the 16 MegaPointes that were so central to Tim’s design.

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