USA - Theatre Projects has announced the addition of two new full-time staff members to their team. Chris Smith joins the firm as the marketing and content manager and Ashley Keen joins their strategic planning team as a senior consultant. Both bring significant expertise in their respective fields, have backgrounds in the performing arts.
Chris joins the company’s New York office to lead marketing and PR efforts. Over the past decade and a half, Chris has worked with a wide array of non-profit organizations in Chicago, Texas, and Oregon. His experience includes content creation, digital communication, writing, brand and marketing strategy, and data analysis. Prior to Theatre Projects, Chris worked with Oregon State University, The Black Sheep Agency, 4th Wall Theatre in Houston, Echelon Design, Chicago Art Department, and the Chicago High School for the Arts.
Ashley

UK - RentalPoint Software has released a fully web browser-based version of their Small Business Edition rental management software package designed for event technology rental and production companies.
This new release, says RentalPoint, is a re-imagining and updating of their Windows based product first released in 1998. It incorporates many of the features expected in software these days including online signatures for equipment deliveries and proposal/contract acceptance, dashboard, electronic pick list for prepping gear as well as scaling down to fit on smart phone screen sizes or scaling up to fit on desktops.
Additionally, the software offers many of the powerful features that the company has developed over the last 30 years such as equipment, crew planning & scheduling tools and optional multi location.
You can find the software at https://rentalpoint

UK - The Association of British Theatre Technicians’ Annual Awards took place on the evening of Wednesday 22 June, after the first day of the 2022 ABTT Theatre Show at Alexandra Palace, London.
Engineering Product of the Year: XM Automation’s XMove
Sound Product of the Year: Clearcom’s Arcadia Central Station
Lighting Product of the Year: Robe’s T11
Widget of the Year: CallQ’s Showcaller Training Software
Stand of the Year: Prompt Side
Technician of the Year: Daniel Ewing
Award for Emerging Excellence: Kat Ellis
Virtual Ideas Platform, Idea of the Year 2021: Matthew Dean
Additionally, commendations were made for d&b’s 5d amplifier, ETC’s Eos Apex, Whirly Reeler and trackingThis’ plug-in.
The next ABTT Awards will take place on the evening of 7 June 2023 at the 43rd ABTT Theatre Show at Alexandra Palac

UK - The atmosphere was electric at Daytona Sandown Park as the industry gathered for the first Kartfest in three years. With Chauvet once again headline sponsor, Backup was anticipating the biggest and best Kartfest yet. With more teams and more spectators joining than ever before, and a grand total of £35K raised, it certainly did not disappoint.
In opening proceedings, Backup trustee Lee Dennison paid tribute to Backup chair, John Simpson, who was instrumental in starting the charity and worked tirelessly to ensure it fulfilled its remit and sadly passed in June, whilst welcoming the 33 teams who were about to take their places on the starting grid, with the hope of becoming Kartfest 2022 champions.
Adding to the fun, was the first Roadie Games, which started with the Flight Case Team Relay on the main track, which was almost as fast and furious as the racing itsel

Germany - Bizzy Studios in Cologne is a specialist recording and mixing studio geared towards rap and pop music, with five fully kitted-out studio rooms. European artists such SSIO, Jamule and Kollegah are regulars, attracted to the ambience that studio owner Bizzy Mo has created, and the skills of the talented production and sound engineering teams.
In the main studio, Van Damme XKE Starquad Series microphone cables and Van Damme Pro Grade XKE Pro-Patch Series balanced patch cables are used to connect outboard equipment.
Bizzy Mo has also recently used Van Damme Toslink cables to connect digital audio between Dangerous Music and Universal Audio AD/DA converters, replacing Toslink cables from another German manufacturer.
He commented: "I've relied on high-priced cables from well-known brands in the past and didn't think I could do much better at a fair price un

Festival Funding - A free music festival which has been running for 15 years may not go ahead this summer due to a shortage in funds, organisers say. The charity-run Local and Live event, based in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, said the cost of living crisis was hampering sponsorships. A petition has been started calling for Tunbridge Wells Borough Council (TWBC) to help fund the festival.
The council said it was working to find a solution. The volunteer-run event began in 2006 and hosts local musicians playing and works to promote grassroots music and musical education in the area through the Local and Live Charity. Festival organiser and charity chairman Paul Dunton said: "Everyone is feeling the pinch. We've just found things considerably more expensive this year. So it's just added to the burden I suppose. Getting the funding is proving a little bit more difficult this year and

UK - Music Support, the charity that helps those who work in music and live events affected by mental ill-health and/or addiction has announced its latest fundraising auction: Music Support’s Music Icons featuring exclusive prizes from four music artists.
With music festivals well and truly back in Summer 2022, artists and crew alike are under pressure to perform at levels that have not been seen for years. The funds raised through this auction will contribute towards Music Support’s core services, including its peer-led confidential Helpline that saw a 60% increase in volume of calls during the global pandemic.
Music Support’s Music Icons auction prizes are as follows:
Coldplay, has donated a Fender Squier guitar, signed by all four members of the band. Of their donation, the band said:
“The music industry can present a very specific set of

Top Ticket prices - Prices for top tickets to see West End shows have risen by 21% since before the pandemic, according to research by The Stage. The average top ticket price is currently £140.85, up from £116.09 in June 2019, the publication says. The most expensive show in the survey is Cabaret at the Playhouse, for which some tickets will set you back £303.80. But the research found that the lowest-priced tickets have risen by an average of just 3.3% since 2019, up to £22.56.
The most expensive seats for West End musicals now cost an average of £154.36, although that was a relatively modest increase of 3.5% since 2019, The Stage said. Plays had an average top ticket price of £114.69 - a jump of 38% compared with three years ago.
One factor in the high ticket prices for Cabaret was the redesign of the theatre to accommodate the produ

Eurovision - Ukraine should be given the chance to host the Eurovision Song Contest in 2023, the UK prime minister has said. Speaking to journalists after returning from its capital, Kyiv, Boris Johnson said the streets there were lively and Ukrainians were "confident". As winners of the contest in May, Ukraine should normally host the show, but organisers said on they thought it would be too unsafe. Its planners are discussing holding it in the UK instead, which came second.
Cities across the UK, including Cardiff and Birmingham, have expressed interest in staging the 2023 contest if it ends up in the UK.
“We would relish the opportunity to host the Eurovision Song Contest 2023 here at Principality Stadium, Cardiff,” said a spokesman. “We have a 20-year history of successfully hosting the biggest music artists and sporting events in the world, and to add Eurovis

USA - The Long Reach Long Riders (LRLR) have raised more than $1m for charity thanks to thousands of individual and corporate sponsors. The Riders are about the embark on their 19th annual ride this summer.
This milestone could not have been reached without the tireless dedication of volunteers and donors who have given of their time, talent and money to help those less fortunate, says LRLR. Over the years, three charities have benefitted from the fundraising: AFC (Canada), Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, and (primarily) Behind the Scenes Foundation.
Lori Rubinstein, executive director of Behind the Scenes, comments: “It’s truly amazing what can be accomplished when like-minded people come together for a common purpose. Even though a major milestone has been achieved, the need is greater than ever, especially with Behind the Scenes’ new mental health initiat

Italy - Eurovision returned to its full splendour in Turin for 2022 after the challenges of the pandemic in 2021. Even the continuing horror of war in Europe failed to affect the event, in fact, only serving to intensify the joy, the magic and the music that Eurovision brings to the world every year.
To bring a kaleidoscope of SFX to the stage in Turin, Luca Toscano, CEO of Artech teamed up with Lucas Gerritzen of Pyrofoor de Amsterdam who supplied the FX for the 2021 show in the Netherlands. Artech is a group of companies, that specialise in delivering SFX and show solutions across the globe.
Appointed by this years’ host broadcaster RAI Television as the Eurovision 2022 SFX, pyro and laser supplier, Toscano sees the event as a glorious celebration of the entertainment industry, a showcase for the best of the best. Across the two companies, more than

USA - Matt Ross-Spang, an American record producer, Grammy award-winning engineer and mixer has just opened the doors of Southern Grooves, a custom-designed studio in Memphis, Tennessee.
Located in what was once the Sears cafeteria on the second floor of Crosstown Concourse, a “vertical urban village”, the build started pre-pandemic, in August 2020. With the expertise of acousticians Steven Durr and Matt Schlachter, a 3,000sq.ft recording studio was designed where sound and feel are prioritised in every room.
The space consists of a live room, control room, a long hallway (for reverb) echo chamber, plus a lounge, office, tech Shop and EMT plate room. The fact that the live room has an undulating ceiling and emphasises no 90° angles or parallel surfaces, means that the sounds created gives the impression that the space is a lot bigger than it actually is.
VDC

Rural Theatre - Theatre companies working in rural Northern Ireland will benefit from the creation of a £1.5m fund set up to cater for local communities that might not otherwise have access to the arts.
The Rural Engagement Arts Programme, announced by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, is designed to tackle isolation and loneliness, and promote social inclusion among rural communities as the country emerges from the pandemic. It has been given National Lottery funding over three years and will provide grants of up to £10,000 each to community groups, arts organisations and rural local authorities delivering arts projects.
Roisin McDonough, chief executive of the Arts Council, said the "vital" new funding programme would help realise "meaningful arts activities" that could enrich the lives of the people that engaged with them. "We know that taking part in arts ac

UK - Specialist set designer Diagon has created a new 40,000sq.ft workshop in Erith, southeast London. The facility doubles the company's indoor footprint and will house specialist departments for carpentry, engineering, paint and CAD.
A provider of bespoke scenic build and installation services for the retail, exhibition and event sectors, Diagon works with clients including Christie's auction house, George P Johnson, the BRIT Awards and artist and stage designer, Es Devlin.
Tom Sabin, managing director, comments: “This fabulous new facility marks a huge milestone for Diagon. Coming just after our 21st anniversary, we have doubled our fabrication capacity, created a new studio department with incredible draughting and design capability and added some fantastic staff to the team. With a busy summer ahead, we now have the ability to further step up the scale and qu

Platinum Party - An average of nearly 12 million people in the UK watched the Platinum Party in the Palace on BBC One on Saturday. The concert saw stars Diana Ross, George Ezra, Queen, Elbow and many others perform in front of a Buckingham Palace crowd that included members of the royal family. It attracted the BBC's biggest audience of the year, peaking at 13.4 million. The BBC states: "The Platinum Party at the Palace on BBC One was the most watched programme of the year so far."
Going Green - Directors and designers working at London’s National Theatre will receive additional pay if they contribute to the organisation’s sustainability goals, artistic director Rufus Norris has announced. The National Theatre boss said the financial incentive reflected the extra work that is required to deliver on the environmental objectives set out in the Theatre Gree

Peace Move - Ukrainian punk-folk quartet Dakha Brakha will bring an anti-war message to Glastonbury's Pyramid Stage next month. The band will play the festival's main stage on Sunday morning, shortly before Diana Ross makes her festival debut. For years, the band have called themselves ‘ambassadors of free Ukraine’ and punctuated concerts with cries of ‘Stop Putin!’ and ‘No war!’. They are currently donating proceeds from their shows to the Ukrainian army.
The quartet were one of several acts added to the Glastonbury line-up, as the festival revealed its full programme for 2022. Yungblud, AJ Tracey, The Libertines, Kae Tempest, Ziggy Marley and Little Dragon will join previously-announced headliners Billie Eilish, Paul McCartney and Kendrick Lamar. On the festival's second-biggest stage, The Other Stage, Pet Shop Boys, Megan Thee Stallion and Foals will top the b

USA/Europe - HireHop, the cloud equipment rental software, has been adding new features and has just released its new route planner to help companies plan their deliveries, collections and service runs.
Deliveries, collections and other transports can be set to be automatically added when a user adds a delivery charge or collection charge to a job. There can be multiple deliveries, collections or service runs on each job, and all on different or the same dates. For some companies who need to schedule service runs over the duration of a rental, they can even schedule multiple runs at set or various intervals, for example a toilet hire company can schedule services every week to appear on the daily allocations in the route planner.
The planner also keeps track of weight, drivers and assistants and it can plot and display optimal delivery routes on a map. The delivery rou

Alienating Audiences - Expensive ticket prices risk alienating audiences and exposing theatre workers to “further vulnerability”, BECTU head Philippa Childs has warned. The union boss was addressing recent uproar caused by the West End production of Cock increasing its top-priced seats to £400, before reducing them to £175 following a social media backlash. Childs described the “steep rise” in ticket prices as “deeply concerning for a sector that is trying to get back to pre-pandemic audience levels”.
“When faced with soaring ticket rates amid the ever-increasing cost-of-living crisis, audiences will have little choice but to cut back on the expense of going to the theatre, leaving productions out of pocket and exposing workers to further vulnerability,” she said.
The BECTU head also argued that increased ticket prices were not being reflected

UK - IPS has added over 30km of power cabling and 300 distribution units to its hire stock. This significant stock increase has already been hard at work supporting both IPS productions onsite, as well as meeting the needs of IPS’ range of trade hire customers.
Over the last few months, IPS have been working hard to increase hire stocks all the hardware needed for the distribution of temporary power at events. Close working relationships with suppliers have been essential whilst battling supply restrictions and varying lead times along with all the other pressures associated with coronavirus, along with tireless work from Joe Martin who leads the IPS service department.
“It really has been a non-stop few months for me and the team, but despite all the obstacles, we are pleased to now have an expanded and upgraded range of fully tested cabling and power distributio

UK - Collaborative Creations has announced three new appointments in key positions.
Nic Farman has joined the CC team as its new lighting designer & business development specialist. Farman was previously a freelance lighting designer and will now be continuing his lighting design work in theatres internationally, but under the CC banner.
Farman has more than 10 years of experience lighting musicals, theatre and opera. He has worked extensively in the UK’s West End, as well as on shows in Lebanon, Dubai, and Kuwait.
The appointment comes following two further additions to the team at Collaborative Creations in recent months. Chris West joined as training and education director in February, offering a wide range of in-person and e-learning training courses.
West’s previous role was Global Training Manager for disguise. He has also worked in training

Review Programme - Arts Council England’s future is to be considered as part of a government review into all arm’s length bodies, which could see some bodies scrapped and significant savings demanded from those that remain. The newly launched Reviews of Public Bodies programme, run by the Cabinet Office, will examine the operations of all arm’s length bodies in England and assess whether "they should be abolished or retained", as well as whether money allocated to them is spent effectively. Savings of at least 5% per organisation should be identified as part of the review process.
The department will lead reviews in charge of each public body, meaning the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will be asked to review the public bodies it sponsors, including the Arts Council, the BFI, the National Lottery Community Fund and Historic England.
At pr

UK - Le Mark’s head of export Karolina Wlodarczyk has been invited to be an ‘export champion’ for the UK’s Department of International Trade.
Karolina is a Polish citizen originally from the town of Raciborz, who studied (2004-2009) and graduated from Opole University with a master’s degree in English Language and Cultural Studies.
She is currently undertaking additional formal business training and education with an ambition to see a future graduation with ARU Peterborough.
Since joining Cambridgeshire based Le Mark Group, her career has grown from strength to strength. Karolina has built a reputation internationally, leading from the front at trade shows around the world. Since joining Le Mark she has represented the company at LDI Las Vegas, Prolight+Sound Frankfurt and Light + Audio Tec (formerly Prolight+Sound NAMM Russia). Karolina is now responsi

Ireland - Dublin-based Magic Kite has grown over the years to become one of the largest audio suppliers on the island. Along with sister company Just Lite, it is a one-stop shop for all technical aspects of a production including lighting, screens and professional audio equipment, delivering productions for international touring artists, festivals and stadium concerts of all sizes.
Magic Kite constantly upgrades its equipment to suit the many levels and specifications, and VDC has been instrumental in equipping the company with the kit required.
Recent provision includes a fully custom designed 48-channel line system, including a 48ch split, upstage looms, satellite boxes, a variety of 24 and 12 pair Veam to Veams, upstage socapex looms, 16a and 32a cables for mains distribution, and panel work.
VDC has also helped Magic Kite carry out a complete overhaul of it


Free Movement - UK hauliers working on music concerts, sporting and cultural events will be able to make unlimited international trips under new rules. Since Brexit, British specialist hauliers have been limited to three EU stops per tour, the government said. But from late summer they will be able to move freely between the UK, the EU and other countries, it said.
The change has been cautiously welcomed by industry experts but they said it did not solve the problem for everyone. Wob Roberts, production manager for Duran Duran and Sam Smith, told the BBC the move was good news for UK and European tours but did not help smaller UK-based operations which do not have another base overseas.
New dual registration laws will apply to haulage companies with a base in the UK and another abroad, the Department for Transport said. It means they will be able to transfer the

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