A weekend of celebrations will mark the opening of the new Lowry Centre, the first purpose-built centre in the UK to integrate the visual and performing arts. Based on Salford Quays, Greater Manchester, the stunning steel and glass building will receive its official opening on April 28 with a major programme of music, dance, theatre and fire. The Lowry, a national millennium project costing £98 million, will host a 1650 seat lyric theatre, a 400 seat flexible theatre, as well as a purpose-built gallery for the City's comprehensive Lowry collection. In partnership with the University of Salford, there will be an adjacent national industrial centre for virtual reality. At the heart of the opening weekend is a specially-created production - To You - which involves the local community and professional artists. The audience will then be drawn into the 1,728-seat Lyric Theatre, which boasts the biggest stage outside London, for the next part of the production before the finale - a fireworks display and water pageant by Walk The Plank Theatre Company.
Earls Court and Olympia is working with Land securities, one of the UK's largest property companies, to develop an on-site hotel at Earls Court, home to the PLASA Show. Planning permission has been approved for a 513 room, four-star hotel in the Empress State building, adjacent to Earls Court 2. The two companies are now working closely to select an operator to develop the hotel, with a decision due in the next three months. The hotel will then be operational by spring 2002.
Preparations are now well underway for this year's Theatrical London event which will run directly after the PLASA Show in London from Wednesday 13th September through to Friday 15th September. Although certain parts of the programme are still to be finalised, shows already booked include The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre and the Witches of Eastwick at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. As with previous events, Theatrical London will include a number of backstage visits to venues of interest to this industry. Full details available shortly.
Showco Inc, provider of touring sound reinforcement equipment and services to the concert touring industry, is marking the 30th anniversary of both the company, and the industry it helped pioneer in the early days of major arena rock shows. Co-founded by Jack Maxxon and Rusty Butsché, Showco grew from the humble origins of a garage-based business into one of the first sound equipment suppliers to the post-Woodstock concert industry. Later forays into stage lighting led to the 1981 formation of sister company Vari-Lite, Inc. The company has won numerous awards for its products, most recently for the Showconsole and the PRISM sound system.
As a repertory theatre, in theory Sadler's Wells could play host to a different company each week, so to make chief electrician Martin Hunt's life a little easier, he's installed 36 of Wybron's new CXI (Colour X Infinity) Colour Fusion colour changers. Offering an extensive palette, the CXIs enable Sadler's Wells to call up virtually every colour of the spectrum. Each scroller uses just two gel strings made up of graduated frames of cyan, yellow and magenta to make the commonly used gel colours from Rosco, Lee and GAM, plus a host of shades in between. For Hunt, this means that the gel strings don't have to be changed for each different production. The first production at Sadler's Wells to benefit was Dick Whittington, which was lit by Andy Bridge who is also using Wybron equipment on the UK production of Fosse.
Northern Light will be showing its latest touchscreen programmable SM desk at this year's ABTT show in London (April 5-6). This desk is similar in type to those now in use at the Royal Opera House. As sole UK distributor for Austrian Company Lighting Innovation, Northern light will also be exhibiting the Motoryoke, a lightweight remote control yoke giving pan tilt and iris control and with an adaptor for a scroller for use with the Strand SL, Source Four or other spotlights.
Following on from the success of previous years, the DI UK Light Jockey Contest 2000 - sponsored by Clay Paky and Pulsar - has attracted a large number of contestants and is now underway. Pulsar has organised a number of seminars for contestants at all levels. The preliminary heats - first introduced last year and aimed at Light Jockeys new to the Clay Paky and Pulsar range of products - have proved popular. During the month of March these took place at Pulsar's headquarters in Cambridge, making use of its recently refitted showroom. The three highest scoring contestants will go through to the main heats which will be hosted at the famous Limelight club in London.
LIW 2000 (International Leisure Industry Week, 26-28 Seprtember, NEC, Birmingham) has announced details of a new internet feature, called e-leisure world, which will form part of its Leisure Facilities Management show. The area will be dedicated to helping leisure businesses exploit the benefits of the Internet for marketing and e-commerce. Several companies have confirmed their participation in e-leisure world include web designers and e-commerce solution providers.
The STLD recently held its annual Sponsors Dinner at the RAF Museum in Hendon. The Society has some 65 active sponsors and there was an excellent turn-out from many of these, most notably Strand Lighting, DHA, Rosco, Vari-Lite, ARRI and Le Mark. Guests had the opportunity to view in private the aircraft displays at the Museum and not surprisingly, a great deal of interest was shown in the flight simulator, with a steady stream of enthusiasts queuing on one side and a not-so-steady stream of green faces exiting at the other side.
The AES UK conference will take place from 8-9 May at Church House, Westminster, London. Mark Yonge will chair the conference which will address the way networks are used to transmit streams of digital audio and will include sessions on audio quality in network design, fibre channel technology, audio file transfers, ethernet networks and digital audio interfaces. The conference will be of interest to technical managers as well as the operators and technicians responsible for developing and using new audio systems for radio, TV and music recording.The registration fee is £298 + VAT for AES members and £348 + VAT for non-members.
A new company, set up to provide lighting and power solutions for design agencies, production companies, event organisers and theming specialists, has started operating from Bristol, London and a dedicated internet site. The company has been established by Richard Cross, Mike Matthews and Elise Tregaskis - all former SLX employees - who bring to the company a combined 40 years experience in the theatre, entertainment and conference industries. Fulcrum will provide creative design, development and project management, including equipment sourcing, co-ordination of equipment hire and sales, transport, personnel, travel and accommodation for both permanent and temporary projects.
West Yorkshire-based Futurist has been appointed a Strand Lighting main distributor. The agreement will provide Futurist with Strand's full range of stage, studio, location and architectural lighting products. Significant sales stocks are now in place and Futurist are planning a major launch event at the end of April, which will include a product showcase of Strand's new 300 series memory consoles.
Marquee Audio have embarked on the first four audio installations for an expanding pub chain operating in the Brighton and Guildford area. Zelgrain Ltd have grown their own estate to 25 leisure outlets in near record time, following the acquisition of Original Pub Holdings (OPH). The first refurbishment has seen the conversion of The Old Richmond, a legendary punk rock venue in Brighton's city centre, into Pressure Point. Marquee's Scott Wakelin designed the live PA system around Turbosound TCS series contractor products. These are driven by Yamaha P4500 and QSC Powerlight amplifiers via a BSS FDS-360 electronic crossover. This forms part of a highly specified FOH network of audio equipment, which also includes a Soundcraft Spirit 16/4/3 mixing console, BSS Opal Constant Q graphic, Behringer comp/limiters and Yamaha digital reverb. An existing CA SR707 was redeployed. Stage monitoring is provided by two Yamaha P4500 amps powering Renkus Heinz Q15s, while six each of Shure's classic SM57 and SM58 mics also form part of the order.
To coincide with this year's Frankfurt Music Messe [12-16 April 2000], Amina Technologies, in conjunction with NXT plc, will run a seminar presenting an overview of NXT- the new Acoustic Flat Panel Loudspeaker Technology - and its practical application and benefits within professional installations. The seminar will take place on Thursday 13 April at 11am at the Marriott Hotel, Frankfurt. The seminar will feature presentations from members of NXT - the developers of the actual technology itself, as well as Peter Mapp - one of the UK's leading audio consultants - who will give his expert advice on the application and installation of NXT-based products, whilst offering comparisons with conventional methods.
Lighting Technology Newcastle, growing dynamically out of the newly-merged but long-established company Sound Electronics, launched itself into the new Millennium with a major Open Day event at its premises on Tyneside on Friday 3rd March. The occasion celebrated the formal launch of Lighting Technology Group's Newcastle offices, which will act as a centre for expansion for sales in the region. It will also provide the base for the resources of the Northern region of LTP, the Group's project business.Over 30 major manufacturers lined up to support the mini-expo which included a special architectural lighting area, the presence of Strand Lighting's 45' exhibition trailer, Pioneer's mobile DJ display truck and the launch of a new-style entertainment lamp catalogue. For pictures of the Open Day follow this link . . .
Pulsar recently hosted a new seminar to present the latest Clay Paky range of Display Line projectors to its UK reselller network. Each projector consists of a lighting unit, an objective lens and twin guides on which effects can be mounted. These can be combined in modular configurations and can be chosen from a range of optional extras. Each delegate in attendance was awarded a training certificate
PCM has completed its first five-day intense Rigging School of two planned for 2000. This was attended by 54 individuals from all sectors of the professional rigging and entertainment industry. Vertigo Rigging's Ken Mehmed (Live Rigger of the Year 2000), Ian Lamb and John Teahan ran the rigging section of the course which covered all areas of rigging, rope access, truss walking, working at height, bridling, flying, motor husbandry, etc. Aluminium trussing specialists James Thomas Engineering conducted a section on trussing and ground support systems led by John 'Jig' Higginbotham. MAN Flying Systems' redoubtable Mick Nash de Villiers and Tony Mathews taught the basics of the very precise business of PA rigging. Rope Assemblies provided a selection of equipment for inspection, while health and safety expert Mike Curtis hacked away the official verbiage of the LOLER regulations. Also Integral to the course was a standard Lodestar Motor School, tutored by Tony Dickson of PCM and Wally Blount from Columbus McKinnon.PCM's next rigging school is scheduled for July 2000.
Stage Electrics are holding another sale on 1st April 2000. The Auction is being held near the company's Birmingham branch in Smethwick (one minute from Junction 1 off the M5). Lots will include Strand spotlights, including Brio, Prelude, Optique and Cantata. Follow spots, Martin Roboscans, smoke machines, radio mics, LCD video projector, Spirit Soundmixer, flight cases, trussing and corners and much more. Auction catalogues can be obtained by faxing 0121 525 2413 or emailing email@example.com Catalogues will be mailed out after the 20 th March.
Avolites is expanding into a new 500sq.m building in the same street. The move has become necessary because of the success of the ART dimming range, and the new premises are custom-designed to accommodate ART dimmer production. Recent sales include those to Skyscape at The Dome, The Royal Festival Hall, Hawthorn Theatrical, White Light, Stage Electrics and The Northern Ballet in Leeds - in addition to all the usual rock and roll suspects!
Vari-Lite Production Services (VLPS) London and AC Lighting have teamed up to create two interactive technical workshops under the banner of 'Outreach 2000'. The workshops, held in Edinburgh and Oldham, were designed to give entertainment technology students first-hand experience of the Vari*Lite automated lighting system, WYSIWYG programming, Wholehog and other DMX lighting consoles and DMX protocol. For the first course at Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh, VLPS training manager Coral Cooper and AC Lighting's Mike Falconer devised a workshop for students on the lighting technical course, whilst Northern Light's Mike Pendlowski provided instruction on the Strand 520 and Blacklight's Simon Wilkinson added guidance on the Sirius 250 console. For the second workshop at Oldham College, Coral and Mike gave the 60 students a two-day course, again covering the Vari*Lite system, the Wholehog desk family, DMX protocol and WYSIWYG programming.
Liverpool superclub Cream will be heading south, if plans for a new venue in Brighton get the go-ahead from the local council. A planning application for the new club was submitted recently and is currently under consideration although there is no news yet of where the venue will be, if successful. Cream hope to have the Brighton venue up-and-running by the end of the year and although details of events and DJs have yet to be announced, the northern superclub's reputation alone should guarantee interest from clubbers across the south coast.
PALA - the international trade show for the professional audio and lighting systems, audio-visual technology and music related products - moves to the Philippines for this first time this year. It should provide a fitting backdrop to the show as the country has a growing economy - new venues are being built and a large number of existing theatres, restaurants, arts centres and clubs are undergoing restoration, refurbishment and installation. A programme of special events has been planned to run alongside the trade show which will feature over 250 exhibitors, including both sound and lighting shoot-outs, a run of technical seminars and an outdoor concert, staged together with a Beer Party and a Millennium DJ Competition. 6-8 July 2000 - World Trade Centre Metro Manila, Philippines
Vari-Lite Production Services (VLPS) London has won the prestigious contract to light the biggest stage set ever built at Earl's Court - for the BRIT Awards 2000 night tonight.VLPS is supplying the automated lighting systems, not only for the Awards ceremony itself, through BRITs production company MJK Productions, but the pre-show Mastercard Reception and the massive after-show party too. VLPS won the huge contract after proving the cost effectiveness of choosing one specialist supplier for all of the event'' major lighting elements.
Concert Systems, the Altrincham-based PA system company, have committed around £1 million in stock to a major new enterprise in Scandinavia. The heart of Paul Tandy's operation, which he will run as a joint venture with Audio Industries of Stockholm, is a massive EAW KF750 rig, purchased from UK distributors Sound Dept, which will extend his existing fleet. Tandy says that this already vast EAW inventory has been increased with the addition of 32 KF750s, six KF755 downfill boxes and 32 SB1000 sub bass, which will be depoted in Oslo and Stockholm. This will bring his total EAW stockholding to 120 KF750, 12 KF755, 24 KF850, 80 SB1000 and 12 BH852 enclosures. The development has been stimulated by a growing work roster in Scandinavia, including a major tour by the Norwegian Gospel Choir and artists such as Smokey, Ray Charles, Joe Cocker and leading Scandinavian band, Secret Garden.