High End Systems fixtures have been chosen to illuminate the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2000 Olympic Games on September 15 and October 1, respectively. Designed by LD John Rayment, the ceremonies at Olympic Stadium in Sydney's Olympic Park will be seen live by about 120,000 spectators and on television by an estimated three billion people worldwide. Rayment and lighting director Rohan Thornton are using 300 Cyberlight Turbo and 40 Cyberlight fixtures, as well as 136 Studio Beam luminaires, and 132 Studio Color 575 luminaires. To control the multi-layered system, the designers are using 14 Flying Pig Systems Wholehog II consoles. Bytecraft, the exclusive Australian distributor for High End Systems, is the event's general lighting contractor, and is working with two German companies, Procon and Sound and Light, to pull the massive lighting system together.
The Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT) committee has appointed Point Promotions, organiser of the Sound Broadcasting Equipment Show, to manage its show operations. This comes at a time when the physical size and importance of the Show has surpassed the ABTT committee with the organiser, Roger Fox conceding that it is now "very much a full time job" and it can only meet the demands of the industry with professional exhibition management. This announcement follows the news of the show's change of name and widening focus for 2001. The ABTT Theatre Show 2001 will be held at the Royal Horticultural Halls, London, on 4-5 April 2001.
The Association of Theatre Technicians has announced major developments to its well established annual trade show. With a name change to emphasise its identity, ABTT Theatre Show 2001 is expanding the range of products on show to include front of house goods and services including seating, soft furnishings, box office systems, print and publicity, insurance and legal services. The show will be held on 4 and 5 April in the Royal Horticultural Halls, Westminster, London SW1. The newly refurbished Lindley Hall will accommodate front of house exhibits, while the Lawrence Hall will continue to concentrate on backstage services. The organisers hope that as a result of its expansion, the show will attract new visitors from theatre and entertainment building managements, as well as architects, consultants and specifiers.
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.
Earls Court & Olympia has announced that Jonathan Goold will be leaving Clarion Events, organisers of the PLASA Show, at the end of this year. Goold has spent 17 years with the events organising company at Earls Court & Olympia, more than nine of them as managing director. During his time at Earls Court & Olympia, Goold has been show director for a number of events, including The London Motor Show through the 1980s, before taking on the role of managing director in 1991, and overseeing the company's growth throughout the 1990s to its position as one of the UK's leading exhibition and event organisers.
An investigation has been launched following the news over the weekend that eight fans had been crushed to death at the Roskilde Festival in Copenhagen. Several others were also injured in the incident which occurred around midnight on Saturday when American rockers Pearl Jam were performing on stage. The front section of the 50,000-strong crowd slipped and the injured were trampled underfoot. Worryingly, the news reports covering the event have, in part, pointed the finger of blame at the sound system, claiming that the rear loudspeakers were not working thus forcing the audience forward. Oasis and the Pet Shop Boys both pulled out of the festival as a mark of respect for the dead, although other bands have chosen to play on. Technical investigations are being carried out and emergency support services have been set up on-site.
PLASA Presents Light and Sound Shanghai has opened for the third year. Emerging from the Intex exhibition centre to the sound of a brass band, a group of distinguished guests from China and the UK spoke briefly to a large crowd and opened the show. Guests from the UK included Warren Townend, British Consul General in Shanghai, Sammy DeHavilland, PLASA Treasurer; Andrew Morris of Earls Court and Jonathan Gould of Clarion Events. This year's show includes a record number of exhibitors in the international section and expands the show onto the second level of the Intex centre for the first time. The show runs until Friday 9 June.
Showlight 2001 - the conference for lighting professionals - takes place in Edinburgh in May next year and offers delegates opportunities not to be missed. An afternoon at the Strand factory in Kirkcaldy will give visitors an inside look at one of the lighting industry's leading companies with other visits ranging from the technical to theatre to distilleries - taking in some of the most notable landmarks in and around Edinburgh. These include Edinburgh Castle, famous for the Edinburgh Tattoo, St Andrew's Castle and Cathedral and Glenturret Distillery. Another definite date for the diary is the Showlight Dinner, this year sponsored by Strand Lighting, which takes place at the magnificent Hopetoun House. Inclusive in the registration fee, this is a chance for you to wine and dine alongside some of the biggest names in the lighting industry. We are currently looking for innovative speakers to fill the last couple of available spaces. So, if you would like the opportunity to speak at Showlight 2001, telephone +44 (0) 1323 642 639.
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.