It was announced yesterday that the Dome Europe bid has won the race to take over the Millennium Dome in the new year. The company plans to turn the beleagured venue into a high-tech leisure attraction - based on the theme of Europe. The bid, backed by Japanese finance house Nomura, was widely regarded as the front runner, and the company will assume control of the attraction when the current exhibition closes at the end of this year. The rival bid from the Legacy consortium aimed to turn the dome into a new technology park - create a British version of Silicon Valley. The new attraction will be built by Dome Europe's partners in the bid, Hyper Entertainment, whose credits to date include successful leisure attractions in San Francisco, Berlin and Tokyo. A key attraction of the new Dome will be virtual reality version of the Beatles' Yellow Submarine film, while the BBC has offered to provide other content, based on popular productions like Eastenders and Walking with Dinosaurs. Dome Europe has also promised to keep some of the existing Millennium attractions and will consider continuing the daily live show. Incredibly, Dome Europe has said it hopes to open the new attraction in time for school half-term holidays in February 2001 - leaving a very short space of time in which to turn around the Dome's fortunes.
Telex Communications Inc has moved its corporate headquarters to a new location in the Minneapolis area. The new building will house all sales, marketing, engineering and administrative functions for Telex Communications and its professional audio, wireless and multimedia communications products. The new address is 12000 Portland Ave. South, Burnsville, MN, 55337. The main telephone number remains the same, with a new area code: 952-884-4051.The move, which significantly expands Telex's space to approximately 115,000sq.ft, was brought about by strong performance across all the company's product lines and the need to position the company for future. Telex, which employs 300 people in Minneapolis, will maintain its manufacturing facility in Buchanan, MI, which had once been the home of Electro-Voice and its related brands.
Disney has revealed plans for a third theme park at its Disneyland site in Anaheim, California, to be completed by 2010. The park, covering up to 78 acres, still requires permission from the local authorities. Disney intends that the first phase of the project be up and running by 2003, with completion in 2010. Disney will open its new $1.4bn 'California Adventure', also at the Anaheim site, next February. In addition to these plans and its existing parks in Florida, Tokyo and Paris, Disney also hopes to open a Hong Kong-based resort in 2005.
Le Mark Group of St Ives, Cambridgeshire has announced a closer business association with GAM Products Inc of Hollywood, California. GAM has been Le Mark's exclusive West Coast Dealer for StudioTak stick and peel temporary studio and stage flooring, and has appointed LeMark as its lead distributor within the UK, tasked to re-introduce selected items from GAM's unique Lighting and Effects range. This includes items such as GAM Patterns (gobos), Twin Spin Rotators, and GAM ColourTube. Jeremy Bramley will head up the GAM distribution in the UK.Le Mark will introduce the products at the PLASA Show in September, and a free seminar will be held on Sunday 10 September in the Kensington Room above the Earls Court showfloor. The seminars will be introduced by Steve Hoffman, US sales manager for GAM Products Inc.
Sony Broadcast & Professional UK and Leisuretec Distribution Ltd have announced a strategic distribution agreement that sees the two companies identifying major growth in the sound reinforcement, audio visual and public address markets. The agreement covers the Sony pro audio range, including sound reinforcement products, effects units, wired microphones, Freedom wireless mics, DAT CD and Minidisc, which Leisuretec will now offer from its 14,000sq.ft stock sourcing facility in Leighton Buzzard.
Rage, a West Midlands-based professional theatre company, has just been awarded a three-year grant from the Neighbourhood Support Fund to set up and run a new touring company - the Rage Ensemble. Over a period of 30 weeks, professional artistes will assist 12 young people in the creation, rehearsal and performance of three theatre productions which will be toured around the West Midlands. The Ensemble is made up of young people aged 16-19 who are unlikely to enter into further education or employment and aims to provide them with the skills to assist them into further education or employment. Rage is looking for companies to support them in this aim by making a donation of ex-demonstration lighting and sound equipment or by providing equipment at cost price. ETC Europe and Strand Lighting have already committed their support to the venture.
Australian manufacturer ARX Systems has reported a number of diverse product sales recently. Australia-based audio designer Brian Laurence has advised the sale of a complete ARX Ambience System for the Cadbury Pavilion at the Sydney 2000 Olympics site at Homebush Bay. Brian specified 24 Ambience 1 loudspeakers, one Ambisub and one Ambidrive three-channel power amplifier to provide high-quality audio reproduction for the Cadbury's Corporate AV display which is built into open-sided 40ft shipping containers.Meanwhile, Sydney-based mobile broadcast Company Zero 1 Zero have added to their extensive inventory of ARX products with another complete system of MSX4 mic splitters for their new O/B Truck due for completion in time for use at the Sydney Olympics. And finally, away from the Olympics, the New South Wales Police Integrity Commission (anti-corruption investigators) have recently taken delivery of VCS-6 DC controlled gates and ePre mic pre-amps. The PIC have been unwilling to provide further details of their need for remote-controlled microphone pre-amplifiers . . .
PLASA Exclusive: Vari-Lite has entered into a letter of intent to sell its operations in Belgium, The Netherlands, France and Sweden to an investment company which owns Focus Showequipment BV in Amsterdam. The intention, according to Vari-Lite CEO Rusty Brutsché, is to allow the company to concentrate on the development and sale of its automated lighting systems in the US, Asia and London. The sale is subject to various conditions, but is scheduled to be completed in September.
AC Lighting has supplied an extensive amount of new lighting equipment to the University of Derby for their Live Performance Technology course that was recently launched. Students progress to degree level over the programme's three years, which aims to produce technically competent researchers, designers and operators for the growing entertainment industry. Equipment from manufacturers such as James Thomas, ETC, Anytronics, Vision, Zero 88 and Manfrotto were supplied along with a multitude of cables, internally wired bars and power distribution equipment. All of this equipment is now located in Richardson Hall, the main training and performance area for the programme.
York Barbican Centre is probably the first venue in the country to install a lifting beam in its auditorium to enable mechanical lifting of mixer control desks for shows. Prior to its installation, moving the desks into position often took 20 minutes and could use up to 12 crew. The venue now has a 20m runway beam with a 1 ton electric trolley and 1 ton electric chain hoist attached. A spreader beam can also be attached to spread the weight and these are all controlled by an infra red pendant. With the new equipment, the desks can now be moved in five minutes with just two staff. The equipment cost £12,000 and took just two days to install. Bootham Engineers of York manufactured the equipment specifically for the Barbican's needs.
High End Systems lighting plays a part in South Africa's version of the popular TV game show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. LD Hugh Turner (previous projects include The Three Tenors) specified 20 Studio Color 575 and 9 Studio Spot 575 automated luminaires to highlight the set and add excitement to the contest. Installation and weekly operation is by Southern Lighting. The show is shot every week in Johannesburg at the AGN studios downtown for clients M-net and Videovision entertainment.
Tannoy and Axcess Technology (UK distributor for Biamp) will take to the road in August to host a series of audio conferencing roadshows aimed at demonstrating how their products combine to provide comprehensive AV solutions. Aimed at providing installers and designers with an informative overview, the roadshows begin at Tannoy's factory near Glasgow on 1-2 August, move to Manchester on 9-10 August and finally Richmond-Upon-Thames on 15-16 August.Tannoy will present a range of new and industry proven speakers, including the recently-launched iP5 Mirage Distributed Mode Loudspeaker (DML) panel. Axcess Technology will demonstrate a range of Biamp equipment, including the Biamp Voicecrafter Plus acoustic echo cancellers, Biamp VRAM variable resource automixer with Windows programming software for easy integration and Biamp CMA60 6-channel commercial mixer/amplifiers with extensive input paging and output facilities.
Legendary Parisian restaurant Chez Maxim's, in the heart of Paris, has always represented the epitome of refinement and elegance. Steeped in tradition, it maintains its position by mixing old world sophistication with the best from today's modern life. To this end it has recently installed a number of Martin's MiniMAC luminaires (supplied by Martin France) in the legendary dining room. These are discreetly positioned around the restaurant and now enhance the atmosphere with subtle colour washes and delicate colour hues.
Star Hire (Event Services) supplied two mobile stages to the Love Parade, the UK's biggest dance event this summer, attended by 250,000 people and held at Leeds' Roundhay Park. Production company Logistik turned to Star Hire for their staging requirements. Logistik's Dirk Mishendahl had worked with Star Hire previously, and knew what he wanted for the Love Parade. He said: "Star Hire's mobile stages were ideal for this event. Their speedy set-up saved us time and money, and caused minimum disruption to the local park. These stages also give us a great working environment for our artists and production crew."
Fabric, the leading London club, has swapped its Spirit Digital 328 mixer for a 324 Live. The desk, which can be used as required in any of the club's three rooms, serves as a front-of-house or monitoring console for the many live acts that perform at the club, as well as being available for the more adventurous DJs. Production manager Dave Parry said: "We need a digital desk because we're going to start a lot of internet broadcasting in the near future. The sound will be going straight down the line so a digital signal will be very handy." He continued: "We've had the 328 for six months and everyone that used it was very complementary. If we hadn't been happy with it, we wouldn't have bought the 324." House engineer Roberto Pieroni added: "As we only used the 328 for live work it made sense to switch to the 324 Live."
Tune in to Carlton ITV tonight . . . Cameron Mackintosh's The Witches of Eastwick, which opened at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on Tuesday is to be the subject of a television documentary intended to go out at 11.30 this evening. Entitled Dance with the Devil - The Making of The Witches of Eastwick the programme offers a behind-the-scenes look at the preparations for the world premiere of Cameron Mackintosh's new musical comedy, starring Ian McShane. Mary Nightingale interviews both the stars and creative team working on the production. If you can't stay in tonight or your video's broken, you can also read all about it in the August issue of L&SI.
ESTA has announced that the draft standard BSR E1.6, Entertainment Technology - Powered Rigging Systems is available for public review until October 10, 2000. The draft standard establishes safety requirements for the design, manufacture, installation and use of motorised rigging systems in theatres, theme parks, studios and other places of public assembly and performance. The document does not address manually-powered systems or lifting equipment used in the construction of these spaces. Copies of the document are available from the ESTA website.
Bronx, New York-based City Theatrical has been named in the second annual Inner City 100 listing by Inc. Magazine and the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), in recognition of the innovative lighting accessories manufacturer as one of the USA's top urban entrepreneurs. The list honours fast-growing companies located in urban cores outside the central business districts of America's cities. City Theatrical was placed 43rd on the list, with a sales growth rate of 296% and a compound growth rate of 41%.
London's first ever floating opera will take place on the River Thames in late July. Split across two dates - 26 and 27 July - the two performances of Fleeting Opera: Birthright will run first at Battersea Park and then on the following evening at the Albert Embankment. The water-borne initiative, which will see opera singers, musicians and dancers perform from a barge while being towed up the River Thames (which should prove enough of an attraction in its own right), is a collaboration between the Royal Opera House and the Couper Collection for the String of Pearls Millennium Festival.
The Zetor Bar and restaurant is one of Helsinki's most distinctively-themed venues. Designed by Malto Valtonen (of Finnish band the Leningrad Cowboys), Zetor uses farm equipment for furniture - including tractors for tables, and old buckets and cheese-graters for lampshades. Since Zetor was first established in 1992, its unique style has guaranteed its place as one of the most popular nightclubs in Helsinki. When the time came to install a new sound system recently, restaurant manager Sakari Ellila put a number of systems to the test, but opted for Turbosound's punchy sound, good reputation and price-to-quality ratio. Finnish Turbosound distributor Noretron Audio designed and installed the PA specification, based around the Turbosound TCS and Impact series. Three TCS-59 mid/high cabinets, with two TCS-118 sub-bass units, powered by LabGruppen LAB 1600 and LAB 2000 amplifiers were placed around the dance floor. The rest of the space - two bar areas, two restaurant areas and the tractor tables - benefited from 24 Turbosound Impact cabinets.
Nexo PS Series loudspeakers were used again at this year's three-week long Chichester Festivities. Surrey-based sound company Audioplan used six PS-15s, four PS10s and four of the new Nexo PS-8s for the distributed sound system in Chichester's 1000-year-old Cathedral. In the three years that Audioplan has been providing the sound, a variety of artistes from French jazz pianist Jacques Lousier to Johnny Dankworth and Cleo Lane and Jools Holland have all graced the stage, and all have used the Nexo system.
Swedish manufacturer Lab Gruppen, one of the world's leading developers of DSP and amplification technology, is to join the TGI Group of companies, which includes Tannoy, Martin Audio and Goodmans/GLL. Lab Gruppen has over 20 years of experience in manufacturing and distributing high-quality amplifiers and has been a pioneer of switch-mode power supplies and lightweight amplifiers. It has recently added DSP technology to its design and product base. Over the past few years the company has embarked on a successful expansion programme, and it is to consolidate this growth that Lab Gruppen has sold its interests to TGI plc. TGI plc is involved in the design and manufacture of loudspeakers for many different markets including live touring, commercial and leisure installations, recording studios, consumer hi-fi and the OEM automotive trade (in this last category they supply car manufacturers including BMW/Rover, Ford, Peugeot, Volkswagen and Honda).Martin Audio MD David Bissett-Powell, who will be chairman of Lab Gruppen, said that the acquisition provided a logical fit in the TGI portfolio: "This is an exciting addition to the Group, providing us with a range of development opportunities. "The fit and synergy is seen as being particularly advantageous, and while the TGI companies will continue to trade autonomously Lab Gruppen's R&D capability will enhance the Group's moves into digital electronics, providing us with sophisticated loudspeaker management systems and own-brand amplification," he said.
Martin Audio's new three-way THX-approved sound reinforcement systems have been specified and installed in no fewer than 14 auditoria (including the main THX room and the three Gold Class VIP suites, served by their own bar and foyer) at Warner Village's massive Star City 30-screen multiplex - situated beneath Birmingham's Spaghetti Junction at Nechells. The multiplex is the largest in Europe and its 24 general-run mainstream houses, are complemented by six distinct screening rooms. Martin Audio Screen 5s have been used in triamp mode in the THX suite while in the other larger rooms the same enclosures are run biamped. Screen 4s have been sued in other smaller auditoria - again in LCR configurations stacked with Screen Sub 1 low frequency enclosures.
The Oxford Sound Company has recently completed the installation of a voice-reinforcement system at the prestigious Keble College, one of Oxford's high seats of academia. The installation was in the main dining refectory used as a conference facility accommodating up to 200 people, making the use of voice reinforcement essential. "The refectory is a giant reverb chamber with a reverberation time in excess of three seconds," explained Andrew Riley of the Oxford Sound Company. "So we had to specify speakers with a predictable off-axis polar response and position them to achieve an even sound coverage for all of the seated areas." Three pairs of speakers were used, all fed via appropriate delays and equalisers.