End of an era for Artisan and Series 200
Monday, 9 November 2009
End of an era for Artisan and Series 200The upgrade to the Lion King's lighting system, achieved in just 2 days, saw the removal of the last VL Artisan and Series 200 system in the West End. Above, lighting programmer Aland Henderson.
UK - A decade after its original installation in the Lyceum Theatre, the lighting and control equipment for Disney's The Lion King has been upgraded, marking the end of an era for the last Vari-Lite Artisan and Series 200 system in London's West End.

The multi-award winning Disney musical, with lighting designed by Donald Holder, has used equipment from PRG Lighting since arriving in London to critical acclaim in 1999. In partnership with associate LD Jeanne Koenig and UK associate LD Alistair Grant, the show has been entertaining audiences with its unique set, performances and automated lighting design from a rig of Vari-Lite Series 200 equipment including VL4s and VL2Cs, all controlled by the Artisan Console, programmed by Aland Henderson. Offering unparalleled degrees of control and precise movement for the time, the Artisan was the natural choice to control a Vari-Lite rig on a complex and intricate London show.

Production Electrician Pete Lambert and his team of technicians, Chris Dunford, Mike Dixon, Steve Reeve, Simon Targett, Lee Threlfall and Stuart Cross, most of whom were part of the original load-in team a decade ago, spent several weeks preparing for a busy two-day turnaround. Following the Sunday matinée performance, Lambert and his team set about the task of removing all of the Series 200 fixtures and installing the brand new rig in time for programming sessions on the Monday and Tuesday prior to the evening show later that night - without the need to cancel a single performance.

Replaced with a rig of 72 new VL2500 Spot and Wash fixtures and controlled by the Artisan's eventual successor, PRG's Virtuoso DX2 console, the show is ready to continue impressing theatre-goers for years to come.

Peter Marshall, PRG Lighting's Project Manager for the new installation and refurbishment commented: "It has been a huge privilege and pleasure to work with Kevin Burgess from the show's production management, together with Pete Lambert and the creative team involved. It's a credit to their planning and preparation of the upgrade that they were able to de-rig the old equipment, install the new and programme the show in just two days. It's great to be involved with such an iconic, successful show and team - long may it continue!"

(Lee Baldock)

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