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.
Clear Channel Communications, Inc and SFX Entertainment, Inc have entered into a definitive merger agreement. The move will vastly expand Clear Channel's sphere of influence, for SFX is the world's largest promoter, producer and venue operator for live entertainment events. Clear Channel operates 867 radio and 19 television stations in the United States reaching over 120 million people weekly. It also has a wholly owned subsidiary - Premiere Radio Networks - which broadcasts to 40 million people weekly. Additionally, it has equity interests in over 240 radio stations internationally. SFX, meanwhile, currently owns or operates 120 live entertainment venues across the US markets and as we reported last year, is establishing a foot-hold in the UK market. In August, SFX Entertainment bought the UK's Apollo Leisure Group, which owns 23 theatres across the UK, for around US$254 million. The deal was SFX's first major investment in UK venues and included famous theatres such as the Lyceum, in London, The Playhouse, in Edinburgh, and the Palace, in Manchester. The current transaction values SFX Entertainment at approximately $4.4 billion. This includes the assumption of approximately $1.1 billion of SFX's debt net of cash. The deal is expected to be completed later this year subject to the vote of SFX's stockholders, and customary regulatory approvals and closing conditions.
White Light recently took delivery of the first four Robert Juliat Cyrano Followspots off the production line. The Cyranos were then immediately delivered to the Royal Albert Hall where they will be permanently based as part of a long-term arrangement hire between Royal Albert Hall and White Light. One of the first shows to use the Cyrano spots was the Mountbatten Festival, where the rest of the largely automated rig was supplied by White Light's sister company - The Moving Light Company. The rig also included 17 High End StudioColors and 30 Martin MAC 500 and 250 luminaires. The Cyrano Followspot is a new addition to the range of RJ Followspots which White Light already own.
Tony Shembish, Avolites' long standing salesman has left the Park Royal-based company to set up as an independent distributor - Avolites Middle East. The move was prompted by the rapidly expanding potential of the Middle East territories, and to take full advantage of the relations Shembish has developed with Avolites buyers, specifiers and users in this area. Shembish will have offices in Luton, UK and Beirut in The Lebanon and will be in charge of 20 countries.
Overt Light to Sound - a new distribution company, handling both lighting and sound equipment - has been launched by Malcolm Burlow. Burlow has been in the industry for more than 15 years, most recently working with Electrovision, but prior to that with DJ2000 which had the sole UK distributor rights to Numark. The company will distribute a wide range of products from major manufacturers worldwide.
The Mezzanine Group has announced the closure and re-branding of its Fulham-based venue The Kings Club. The eponymous private members club closed its doors in late February for a full refurbishment and will re-open shortly to launch the private members club and bar - The Mezz Room. The plan to change identity has been well received by members, who felt that the current image of the club was in need of a makeover to bring it in line with today's trends and fashion. One of the unique attractions of the Mezz room is the Mezzanine@, an internet-based entertainment concept devised by the Group. This effectively means that the venue can receive live audio visual broadcasts of music-based events from DJs and artists around the UK from other Mezzanine venues.
Vari-Lite Inc is expanding its new direct-sales product line into the amusement park industry. Feedback from theme park owners and operators has led to the introduction of the new Vari-Lite VL2400 Series luminaires and the VL2201 spot luminaire. Vari-Lite's Rusty Brutsche told L&SI: "Unlike our traditional clients, theme parks have entertainment production needs centred around the long-term use of equipment. The purchase and installation of Vari-Lite's new automated lighting products will provide all the features and capabilities of our specialised proprietary products."
The arrival of Aida in London's West End, originally scheduled for transfer from Broadway next year, seems likely to be delayed until 2002 following the off-stage performance of Sir Elton John, who walked out of the New York opening after only 15 minutes. The singer is not happy with the way his score for the reworking of Verdi's opera has been interpreted, particularly the techno-pop backing to two of his songs - Another Pyramid and My Strongest Suit. Disney has already dug deep into its coffers for the production, spending £10million on the show, including revamping it two years ago after Sir Elton saw the production in Atlanta and complained that the set was 'shoddy'.
An authentic Chinese tea room of the 19th century, a spectacular laser show from the 21st and a live transmission from China Central Television were part of China in Britain Day held on the eve of the Chinese New Year. Companies, community groups and artists from across the UK participated in the event which took place at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London. The Display ran in tandem with the annual Chinese New Year Lunch of London Export Ltd, supported by the 48 Group Club, whose long-standing ties to China date from 1952. The Display, organised by Chinese Marketing and Communications in conjunction with the Cultural Office of the Chinese Embassy, was taken from concept to reality in little more than a month thanks to key input from Clarion Events (organisers of the PLASA Show and PLASA Shanghai), LCI (Laser Creations International), LSI Projects - ADB (creative lighting) and China Gateway North West. Pulsar Lighting and DHA also lent their support to the project.
On the weekend of February 11-13, nearly 80 people from the international world of lighting descended on the Selsdon Park Hotel, Croydon, for 48 hours of hard work - and some hard play as well! ETC Europe was hosting a sales and marketing training weekend, attended by over 50 dealers from 19 countries. ETC staff from both the UK and the United States had arranged an intense schedule of seminars, covering not just product, but also system integration and the fundamentals of networking for theatrical and entertainment control systems.
The Victorian Arts Centre has recently completed Australia's largest permanent theatre system installation in its Melbourne Concert Hall. Totalling more than 35 self-powered loudspeakers systems, provided by Meyer Sound Australia, the system design was no small feat.The new pro-audio system in the 2,600-seat hall comprises a central cluster of three Meyer MSL-4s over two CQ-1s with a UPA-IP and UPA-2P on either side. The balcony downfills include a left/centre/right configuration of CQ-2s over DS-4Ps for the left and right and a CQ-1 over a DS-4P for the centre down fill. 24 UPM-1P making up the under balcony fills. In addition, a PSW-6 per side is located above the stage and a left and right array of two DS-4Ps, 4 MSL-4s and a CQ-1 flown over 2 PSW-6s.
The plans for Millennium Square, Leeds, destined to become Europe's most innovative city centre events space was recently unveiled. The £12m project, funded by the Millennium Commission and Leeds City Council, is due to open in October 2000 and has been designed and built with the event promoter and manager in mind, with services and infrastructure incorporated into the design. Set to become one of Europe's most impressive civic spaces, the Square has a capacity of 2,000 seated, 5,000 standing and up to 20,000 for free events. Millennium Square will play host to a year- round programme of events and festivals commencing with the UK premiere performance of a major piece of outdoor theatre in October 2000. Other events likely to feature include an outdoor ice rink, Christmas markets and a summer concert season.
Electrovision, the Merseyside distribution company, has bought another well known name in the industry - Altai Group Ltd. This take-over further strengthens the group's position within the market giving it such famous house brands as Sound Lab, Eagle, Vision, ELV and of course NJD, as well as distribution for many other industry names. The take-over also includes branches in France, Holland, Germany and Belgium, as well as representation in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Mark Benyon now of Altai told PLASA News: "This move will provide greater penetration of the European market and will provide a better and more comprehensive service to all our customers. It gives us even stronger buying power to offer the best possible value to our customers." Richard Fox of Electrovision added: "I am very pleased with the successful outcome of this project and look forward to hearing from our customers old and new who should all benefit substantially, with even better service, from this new arrangement."
Production Resources Group is to hold an auction for the Lighting Group and the Audio Group which will see a range of automated lights, dimmers, scrollers, speakers, processing equipment audio and lighting consoles go under the hammer. The auction will be held at 3026 Airport Avenue in Santa Monica, CA on Wednesday 15 March beginning at 11.00am. A preview of the equipment to be auctioned will take place on Tuesday 14 March at the same location, from 11.00am to 4.00pm. Auction catalogues (available 7 March onwards) can be downloaded from the PRG website whilst LA-411 will also be accepting pre-auction bids on equipment via their web site at www.la411.com. The proceedings will be transmitted live via the LA411 web site the day of the event.
Ideal Entertainment, Imax Corporation and CERTS are working on the production of a concert film for IMAX Theatres featuring live performances by Carlos Santana, BB King, Sting, Sheryl Crow and others. All Access is set to premiere in February 2001 and in addition to a front row seat and spectacular larger-than-life performances, will provide exactly what its title suggests - a rare All Access pass to the rehearsals, sound checks, casual conversations and general backstage madness that lies behind the scenes of every concert. Initial sequences for the film were shot at the Grand Olympic Auditorium in downtown Los Angeles in February and additional sequences will be filmed with other live performances in the coming months.
Celestion has announced a key addition to its international sales network: Greater Union Entertainment Technology (GUET) has been awarded exclusive distribution rights for Celestion loudspeakers in Australia. With expertise ranging across sound, projection and lighting, the company now maintains offices throughout Australia, New Zealand, Asia and Europe, distributing brands such as Hafler, Studiomaster, Mogami, Klipsch, and Monster Cable. GUET has a specialist division dedicated to sound, video and lighting (SVL) contracting work, which will be particularly applicable to Celestion's expanding range of installation systems. Celestion and GUET make their first joint appearance at the Entech 2000 trade show.
Stage One has just completed one of its most complex logistical challenges with the staging of a series of sales presentations throughout Japan for Amway. Working on behalf of London-based Maritz Communications, Stage One designed and built the sets including a wedge-shaped catwalk, auditorium and 12 modular exhibition units which were transported to Japan for the presentations as part of a major Amway recruitment drive.
The new Soho Theatre and Writers Centre is the West End's first ever purpose-built theatre for new works. Following a £10.6 million National Lottery-funded development, Soho Theatre Company will be launching its first season of plays in its permanent new home on March 14. The main 200-seat auditorium features Strand lantern, control and dimming systems provided by London-based trading partners White Light. The Theatre is also the first English home for Strand's newly-launched 300 Series control desk, the company's fully-featured control surface, supporting Genius Pro operating software. The lighting specification was prepared by Jason Taylor, the consultant who designed the system.
TMB Associates has been appointed as exclusive North American distributors of DHA Lighting's Digital Light Curtain luminaires. TMB's Tommy Stephenson told PLASA Publishing: "We're very excited to be involved in the marketing of these unique fixtures. We plan to sell them through our dealers around the country and believe they have a great future in the American market. In addition to developing new sales, we intend to fully support the existing US inventory with a comprehensive stock of spare parts." The Digital Light Curtain's credits to date include Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, Cats, Oliver, Tommy, EFX and others.