The 54th Annual Tony Awards took place at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City yesterday. The success of Contact, which features a prerecorded track with no original music and which picked up a Tony Award for Best New Musical, will no doubt further fuel the debate about what constitutes a musical. Michael Frayn's Copenhagen collected the prize for Best New Play, whilst a revival of Cole Porter's Kiss Me, Kate collected five Tonys, including Best Musical Revival. Austalian director Michael Blakemore, who now lives in Britain, became the first person to win both Best Director of a Play (Copenhagen) and Best Director of a Musical (Kiss me Kate) in the same year. Elton John and Tim Rice won the Tony for best Score for Aida which also earned Bob Crowley a Tony for best Scenic Design and Natasha Katz the award for Best Lighting Design. The prize for Best Revival went to Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing, whilst the award for Best Book of a Musical went to Richard Nelson for James Joyce's The Dead. The Tonys are still remarkably poor at recognising technical excellence – apart from the awards for scenic design and lighting (both of which went to Aida) there is scant recognition of the part played by our industry and particularly notable by its absence is any recognition for the sound designer.
The BBC's FutureWorld exhibition is touring nine major UK cities throughout this year. Designed in-house by BBC Resources, it aims to promote new digital technology, at the same time as revealing the making of its recent successful 'Gormenghast' and 'Walking with Dinosaurs' programmes. The exhibition is divided into 11 zones, many of them hands on with computer equipment provided by LG Electronics, each defined with OPTI Trilite trussing. International exhibition contractor Networks of Sheffield are responsible for both installation and moving of the exhibition from venue to venue and are using seven 45ft trucks for this at present. The Newcastle venue, The Lightfoot Centre, sees the first use of an auditorium built by Networks with feature work using OPTI Trilite. There are in fact two sets of exhibition material being leapfrogged around the country. The exhibition is free and details of the remaining venues and dates can be found at www.bbc.co.uk/futureworld.
The 2000 PLASA Show (10-13 September, Earls Court, London) will include a number of new features this year. As a direct result of the Exhibitor's Forum working group which was set up following PLASA 99, the show hours are this year being extended to run from 10am - 6pm on the Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, and 10am - 5pm on the Wednesday. Another new feature for 2000 is the Technology Gallery, in which visitors will be able to view the latest new product developments prior to the PLASA Awards on the Wednesday morning. The TILE Zone seminar will offer specifiers in the amusements and attractions market a platform for up to the minute discussion and debate.PLASA's MD Matthew Griffiths commented: "With 13,254 ABC-audited visitors at the show last year - 3,224 of which came from overseas - our prime objective for 2000 is to continue the show's development and growth. One of our key aims for 2000 is to build the show's appeal to new markets - the architectural and building services, corporate presentations and the amusements and attractions markets - while continuing to develop the show's strength in core markets."
The 41st annual Festival Internacional de la Canción de Viña del Mar was held in Quinta Vergara, Chile from February 16 - 21. Held in an open-air arena, this world-famous Latin music festival attracts crowds of up to 18,000 people every night and is transmitted via satellite to no less than 16 nations, with a total audience of 500 million viewers. Since 1994, this festival's lighting rig has been supplied entirely by Pat Henry Iluminación of Mexico City, SGM's official distributor in Mexico, who also handle design and installation. Pat Henry, a well-known LD throughout Latin America, achieved a spectacular visual impact for both the live audience and television viewers. The complete list of SGM hardware included the following fixtures: 36 Giotto Spot 1200s, 24 Giotto Wash 1200s, 40 Galileo IV Live 1200s and 40 Colour Dynamic 100s.
The Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT) reports that the ABTT Show, which took place in London last week, attracted 2,300 visitors - an increase of 15% on the previous year. The added buzz was noticeable at the two-day show, with many exhibitors saying it was far busier than they remember it being before. Statistics released by the ABTT today show that 29% of visitors come under the technical/production manager category, 38% were from theatrical suppliers or service providers, and 12% were students or teachers.
The Konigswinter Conference held its 50th annual meeting of German and British leaders in politics, business, banking, finance, and media at the Randolph Hotel and Keble College in Oxford on the 23rd-25th March this year. Ascott Conference Communications provided the complex and comprehensive sound facilities required for the event, in conjunction with conference organiser, Maxine Vlieland of Specialist Conferences . This is the seventeenth successive year that the two experienced British companies have worked together on the project. Ascott provided the full staging, lighting, sound and simultaneous interpretation services for presenters and the media from both countries.
Martin Professional will provide over 300 automated luminaires for the Eurovision Song Contest 2000 to be aired on May 13th from Stockholm, Sweden. Martin distributor, Oscar lighting, will provide over 200 moving heads, including MAC 600s, 500s, 300s and 250s, as well as other Martin luminaires. Belgian company Groupe Son Privé (through Martin distributor EVDV) will also be providing 60 MAC 600s for the Eurovision Song Contest. This is the second year running that Martin lights will be used for the popular talent show. Eurovision 1999 from Israel also boasted a huge Martin lighting rig. This year's event will take place at Stockholm's Globe Arena and will be aired by Swedish station SVT. An estimated audience of over 100 million viewers will tune in to the show. Lighting Designer for this year's event is Kristoffer Röhr and the massive lighting rig will be the largest intelligent light show ever produced in Sweden.
The return of the SIB exhibition in Rimini (26-29 March), following its switch to a biennial basis in 1998, was a well-attended and successful event, with the majority of exhibitors reporting excellent international coverage among their visitors. Particularly strongly represented among the visitor profile were Eastern European and South American visitors, as well as those from the Middle and Far East - highlighting the show's continued status as a major international attraction. A group of 12 companies took part in the PLASA UK Group, exhibiting under the British Trade International SESA funding programme. Many members of the group received a personal visit on the Monday morning from the British Consul General, Charles de Chassiron, who had travelled from the British Consulate in Milan to visit the UK companies at the show.A full round-up of the news and highlights from the show will appear in the May issue of Lighting & Sound International magazine.
The 12th International Live Music Conference (ILMC) attracted a record total of over 600 delegates on March 9-12. The event was staged at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, West London, with sponsors Carlsberg. More than 40 countries and occupations spanning the entire spectrum of the business side of the live music industry were represented by the invitation-only attendance. Delegates took in four days of scheduled events, conferences and breakout sessions covering issues including event safety, emerging European markets, e-commerce and the rapid growth of downloadable music through MP3 and similar Internet formats. Saturday night's highlight was the annual Arthurs Awards, ILMC's light-hearted take on industry awards. Full report April L&SI.
Business and Industrial Trade Fairs Ltd has announced that the third International Amusement Facilities and Equipment Exhibition (China Amusement Expo 2000), scheduled to take place in May, will now take place from June 28 - July 1 at the China World Trade Centre. The postponement by the organiser is a strategic response to the recent policy of the State Council of the People's republic of China in extending the Labour Holiday on May 1 until May 3.
The ABTT is launching a series of lectures by people who are known for their contribution to the technical aspects of the Entertainment Industry. Organised by the North Region Committee of the ABTT, the lectures will be held in major venues across the North. The first of the lectures, accompanied by lunch, will be held at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester on Thursday April 27th. The first speaker in the series will be lighting designer Howard Eaton. Eaton has worked on several large shows with David Hersey including Cats, Song and Dance, Starlight Express and Nicholas Nickleby. As a lighting designer, he lit the first tour of Jesus Christ Superstar, and went on to work on productions in the West End and at the National Theatre. He started making lighting equipment for shows like Phantom in New York and all the motor control gear for the fledgling Unusual Rigging. From this work he started Howard Eaton Lighting (HELL) which manufactures a range of standard equipment and specials for the entertainment industry worldwide.
ARRI and Strand are among the first companies to take space at Showlight 2001. To date, 15 of the lighting industry's most famous names are taking advantage of the opportunity to be a part of the event which allows lighting designers, manufacturers and suppliers to meet and discuss ideas. The current list of sponsors includes ADB, ARRI, Avolites, Cirro Lite, DedoLight, DHA Lighting, ETC Europe, High End Systems/Flying Pig, Howard Eaton Lighting, Lee Filters, Northern Light, Optikinetics, Philips, Strand and White Light. Taking place every four years, Showlight is organised by lighting professionals for lighting professionals and allows attendees the opportunity to mix with some of the top names in theatre, film, television and architectural and themed lighting design.
Four days of professional design and technology workshops in lighting, production techniques and audio highlight the second annual ExpoLatina running from 22-25 May at the Miami Beach Convention Center, USA. A series of lighting and sound seminars will run alongside the show with Making the Music highlighting the audio seminar programme presented by a panel of top Latin record producers and engineers. Other audio sessions range from Dubbing Music for the Latin Market and Getting the Best Live Mix to explorations of applications for loudspeakers, microphones, mixing, sound system design and studio design. The 'Beyond the Light' programme represents three days of presentations for stage, screen and special events, showcasing lighting designers, technicians and consultants from around the world. Sessions include roundtables on industry standards from ESTA, film and television lighting techniques and moving lights for television. Lighting designer Sarah Sidman presents a look at new gobos, colours and lighting techniques, while Steve Hoffman and Chris Garcia from GAM lead a hands-on look at creating special lighting effects. The workshops will be taught in or simultaneously translated into Spanish.
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.
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.
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 . . .
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.
For the prestigious Grammy Awards, which took place last night at The Staples Center, Los Angeles, lighting designer Bob Dickinson and console programmer Andy O'Reilly used a Vari-Lite Virtuoso lighting control console to 'mix on the fly' - literally creating the lighting looks for each performer just minutes before they took to the stage. As it was impossible for the pair to know the colour and style of each artist's wardrobe, O'Reilly received cues from backstage as each artist appeared, and then used the Virtuoso's facility for instant creation and editing of cues to create the right colour scheme.
For the fourth successive year, Britannia Row Productions has been engaged to carry out the audio production for the BRIT Awards, which moves to Earls Court 2 next week. Brit Row is continuing its association with sound designer Derek Zieba for the event. Chris Coxhead and Bob Lopez will be looking after the front-of-house sound, with Vince Sharpe and Andy Ray on monitors. Sound reinforcement will be drawn exclusively from Brit Row's Turbosound Flashlight inventory - the main system will consist of TFS-780 and 760 L-C-R clusters, with L-C-R delays and various audience and pit fills.
TFE Concerts, aligned to The Full Effect, has appointed a new events and marketing manager responsible for concerts, roadshows and other outdoor music events. Clare Sugars, formerly of the Royal Festival Hall, has been brought in to manage all Year 2000 Music Events staged by TFE.
Readers of L&SI will recall that in 1998 nva organisation presented the landmark 'Secret Sign' event in a deep river gorge near Loch Lomond. The sell-out show was nominated as Production of the Year by The Herald newspaper and led to the single largest award by the Millennium Festival Company to create a new project to mark the year 2000. Setting their sights high, nva spent a year searching the highlands of Scotland for the perfect location and eventually settled on Glen Lyon. From May 19th - June 4th, 300 people per night (and that includes an intrepid pair from PLASA Publishing) will travel from every part of Britain to experience a journey into the heart of the glen. Over a two hour night-time walk they will encounter a beautifully animated environment, lighting and sound installations and performance revealing key natural features varying from waterfalls to standing stones. With an international creative team led by Angus Farquhar, this is the first time an event of this scale and ambition has been developed in Britain. Full story in February L&SI.