Filament Eleven 11 gets creative with Astera
Monday, 16 January 2023
astera-filament-elevenScenes from a Yellow Peril staged at Auckland’s Waterfront Theatre (photo: Andi Crown)
New Zealand - Aotearoa-based design studio Filament Eleven 11 combines the talents and imagination of lighting and visual artists Rachel Marlow and Brad Gledhill. Working across multiple genres – theatre, opera, dance, rock ‘n’ roll’ live events, installation, and light art – and embracing a mix of medias and light forms, the company is known for its innovative and fun approach to enhancing storytelling with this form of expression.
Filament Eleven 11 also owns some specialist lighting and control kit, and this year invested in Astera wireless LED products – AX3 LightDrops and NYX Bulbs – which have been busy on several projects.
Three AX3 LightDrop kits (24 in total) and 30 x NYX Bulbs were purchased from Astera’s New Zealand distributor, ULA Group, in the last year for use as “ultimately useful lighting tools” commented Rachel, and since then, she and Brad have both enjoyed using them creatively and inventively in multiple contexts on a variety of productions.
Both were already familiar with the Astera brand and its products, they had used them on a few shows including AX3s and AX1 Pixel Tubes as part of Rachel’s lighting scheme for A Stab in The Dark by Carl Bland, staged at the Q Theatre in Auckland, a production that was also livestreamed.
With puppets as well as live actors onstage and the puppets needing extremely careful lighting to retain all the magic, drama, and complexity of the puppeteering, the AX1s and AX3s were a winning solution that could be moved quickly and easily around the stage without any cabling worries, helping to disguise all the puppeteer’s actions.
A Stab in the Dark was also streamed adding an extra layer of visual challenges to an already intricate lighting process, so the Asteras proved an all-round asset.
Rachel explains that before making the commitment to purchase the fixtures, they had heard much general chatter out in the community about Astera and the products, so looked at what was available and thought these would be perfect for the many moments when it was necessary to get a fully DMX-controllable lightsource into unusual, different, or sometimes near impossible positions!
“We immediately saw a host of possibilities and appreciated things like the high-quality light output that drove the initial purchase,” noted Rachel, adding that they wanted to go LED as much as is possible to boost sustainability. The conclusion was that it would be a great all-round move to have some Asteras available for their various works which are known for their ingenuity and impact.
The NYX Bulbs were purchased after a demo from ULA Group’s technical sales specialist, Sean Rosig, who encouraged them to look. “As soon as we saw them in action and had a play around, we knew we needed these and that they would be great fun and very useful,” commented Rachel.
The first show for Filament Eleven 11’s own NYX bulbs was Scenes from a Yellow Peril a poetry show staged at Auckland’s Waterfront Theatre, where they were used in a long line upstage for a reveal.

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