USA - Amber Solutions has announced that its AC Direct DC Enabler is now available as a demo kit for technical evaluation by consumer, commercial and industrial electrical products manufacturers and semiconductor companies, such as Infineon Technologies, who have already announced an alliance around Amber.
This breakthrough Amber AC direct power system enables DC extraction directly from AC Mains without the use of transformers, rectifiers, or filtering. It eliminates many of the old-tech electromechanical components that are still standard today, enabling a dramatically smaller size footprint, while simultaneously delivering a much more dynamic, configurable power delivery capability. The result is an unprecedented opportunity for manufacturers and semiconductor companies to reinvent how electricity is leveraged, designed and feature-scoped in all electrical products, accor

UK - For the past 40 years, 5 Star Cases has been manufacturing flight cases that are already trusted by a vast range of industries, ensuring the safe transport of vital equipment around the world, even in the most challenging of environments, safely and securely.
Taking its four decades of experience and expertise, 5 Star is now producing a new range of custom-designed packing crates, which can be used as a cost-effective alternative when flight cases are not required, or as an added level of protection when they are.
Using the same advanced production techniques and extensive infrastructure at its dedicated manufacturing facility in the heart of the Cambridgeshire Fens, 5 Star packing crates are constructed with strength and durability in mind. They can be used for storing and transporting products across different industries and applications, from AV, entertainment,

Overwhelming Loss - Bring It On the Musical has cancelled its planned UK tour dates after suffering an "overwhelming loss of income" due to omicron disruption. The show was forced to cancel 13 performances during its six-week run at the Southbank Centre in London due to self-isolation requirements, losing hundreds of thousands of pounds, producers said. It continues at the Queen Elizabeth Hall until 22 January, however producer Selladoor Worldwide has now announced that the touring dates that followed will not go ahead. It had been due to visit locations across the UK until 30 July.
A statement from Selladoor said: "Cancelling 13 performances has resulted in an overwhelming loss of income for the production during a peak period that would otherwise have provided a vital financial backbone of the tour. This lost income, amounting to hundreds of thousands of pounds, ha

Austria - The experience of Chameleon Event Production’s personnel, combined with the advanced pathogen eradication tools from sister company Entec UVC SafeClean, twice saved the day, and enabled a fashion-based sales meeting from one of their most loyal and long serving clients to go ahead - in spite of COVID lockdown.
Having worked with global sports and fashion headwear specialists, New Era, since 2014, they were booked to stage an interactive sales meeting for their sales force at the Hilton on the Danube in Vienna, and had done 90% of the prep when Austria announced its lockdown on 19 November 2021.
Chameleon production manager, Sam Parkins, explained how the flexibility of his team, coupled with the trust invested by the client, resulted in the production house reconfiguring its studio in Milton Keynes and staging the event virtually, in a simulated COVID-se

USA - The Long Reach Long Riders and Behind the Scenes will host their annual fundraising raffle at the USITT Conference 3-5 March in Baltimore.
This year’s raffle will celebrate the 19th anniversary of the Long Reach Long Riders annual charity motorcycle ride. The Riders, who have raised over $800,000 for charity in their years of touring, will be riding 18-24 June on the Blue Ridge Ramble tour through the Appalachian Mountains.
The Behind the Scenes Boutique will also be open for business during the show featuring an assortment of great Behind the Scenes swag and the famous Long Reach Long Rider T-shirts and kazoos.
Tickets for the raffle are an affordable $5 each or 5 for $20 and can be purchased at the Behind the Scenes booth throughout the show. Winning tickets for nine regular prizes and one grand prize will be drawn at 1pm on Saturday, the final day of St

Further Action - Labour is calling on the government to urgently take further action to support the arts sector - including widening eligibility for the Culture Recovery Fund - warning many “treasured theatres” face collapse without support. The call on the government follows an announcement from chancellor Rishi Sunak that £30m has been added to the CRF.
However, Labour said more needs to be done to ensure the “support is effective” and reaches “those most in need”. The party’s demands include: widening the scope of the Culture Recovery Fund Emergency Resource Grant so that previous recipients, commercial productions, and individuals can apply; speeding up payment through the Culture Recovery Fund so that the self-employed, and freelancers in the culture sector can have their contracts honoured, and an urgent review of the Live Events Reinsurance Scheme, whic

World - As the LSi and PLASA teams finish up for the festive break, we’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued readership throughout 2021.
Whilst the pandemic continues to cast its long shadow, it has been encouraging to see the gradual return of the full spectrum of live events, and to bring you technical reports from some of the brightest concert touring, theatre and festival productions across both LSi Online and the magazine.
Our daily online news service will resume on Tuesday, 4 January 2022. Until then, if you fancy a read, you can access LSi’s full 36-year back catalogue free online here.
Merry Christmas and happy holidays - we wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous new year!
The LSi team

More Cancellations - Almost half of London's major theatres were forced to cancel performances last weekend because of Covid infections, as Omicron plays havoc with live events. Of the 46 full members of the Society of London Theatre that had shows running, 22 scrapped performances.They included Hamilton, Matilda, Wicked, The Lion King, Cinderella, Cabaret and Come From Away.
Producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh said it was "hugely disruptive" and the industry was in a "dreadful state". He told BBC News: "It's literally day-to-day. We spend all morning trying to work out if we can do the show or not. The important thing is, when we do it, it is safe, and the public have been remarkable in that they are, in our experience, turning up mostly to the shows."
Bookings for the first part of 2022 are well below expectations, which i

Record Spend - A record £4bn was spent making TV shows in the UK in the past year - almost double the figure before the pandemic. TV production slumped during lockdown but rebounded to a new high between October 2020 and September 2021, the British Film Institute (BFI) has said.
Some £4.14bn was spent filming British and foreign shows like Bridgerton and Peaky Blinders in the UK in that time. That compares with the £2.3bn spent in the same period in 2018-19 and is 10 times more than was spent in 2013. The latest figure includes money spent by British TV channels on home-made series like Doctor Who, The Bay, Shetland and Ghosts.
It also includes forthcoming streaming shows like The Essex Serpent from Apple TV+, Andor from Disney+ and Netflix productions like The Sandman and the new series of Bridgerton.
Ne

Freelancers in the Dark - The coronavirus lockdowns have had a major impact on theatre freelancers, leaving them pessimistic for the future, says the leader of a study. Dr Holly Maples, of the University of Essex. said the "stops and starts" of the lockdown prevented freelancers from being able to plan ahead. She said many did not know whether they would be able to carry on in their profession.
The first part of the report, called Freelancers in the Dark, found 72.4% of respondents felt more pessimistic about their future as a theatre freelancers. Dr Maples, a senior lecturer at the East 15 Acting School at the Colchester university, said: "The closures of theatres greatly affected people's ability to plan and to carry on with the work they had been doing. A lot of people were kind of left high and dry, both by the organizations they were working with [that] couldn't

Canada - After another uncommon year, Solotech has maintained its ninth position in Systems Contractor News’ Top 50 systems integrators.
At the same time, Solotech confirms its place as Canada’s prime integrator, being the only Canadian company to make it on to the list. The acquisition of CBCI, a Solotech company, in May 2021, has further strengthened Solotech’s expertise in systems integration from coast to coast.
‘’This recognition is the result of the hard work of our team of experts,” said Philip Giffard, global president, sales & systems integration division. ‘’We have kept our place of choice in the market thanks to our strategic approach based on diversification and a wider geographic footprint. Our employees’ innovation and passion remain at the heart of our success, despite the many challenges they had to overcome. I am very proud of t

Sondheim Remembered - The lights in London's West End were dimmed on Monday night as theatres payed tribute to US composer and songwriter Stephen Sondheim who has died aged 91. The composer and lyricist, famous for creating the musical Sweeney Todd, was described as one of theatre's "greatest geniuses" after his death on Friday.
Sir Cameron Mackintosh said the world had "lost one of its greatest and most original writers". The theatrical producer renamed his Queen's Theatre venue after the composer in 2019. During his illustrious career, he wrote the scores of some of Broadway's best-known shows including Company, Follies and A Little Night Music. He also wrote the lyrics for West Side Story.
In The Courts - Two ticket touts who made millions of pounds reselling tickets to theatre shows and gigs including Harry Potter and the Curs

UK - The Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT) has announced Mig Burgess Walsh and David Evans as co-chairs. The duo will succeed Richard Bunn, senior consultant at Arup, who navigated the ABTT during the pandemic period.
Walsh is lighting tutor at the Guildford School of Acting, chair of AAPTLE Wellbeing Group, and an active freelancer. Evans is the head of production at National Theatre Wales, former chair of the Production Managers’ Forum and a founding production manager and board member of the Lagos Theatre Festival.
The ABTT says: “The combination of Mig and David’s extensive background in the performing arts, encompassing teaching, touring, programming, production and venue management, alongside their ongoing commitment to improve our industry make them ideally-qualified to lead the ABTT’s council of management over the next two years.

Hard Times - One third of musicians were still earning nothing after restrictions on live events were lifted this summer, according to UK charity Help Musicians. The music industry is one of the last sectors to recover from the pandemic, it said, with 83% of professional musicians unable to find regular work. The findings are based on a survey of 929 musicians in August. Almost nine in 10 were earning less than £1,000 per month, and 22% were considering giving up music altogether.
Restrictions on live music were removed in England and Wales in July, and Scotland in August, after Covid had kept the live music industry shut for most of the pandemic. Help Musicians said it had seen a 60% increase in people getting in contact for mental health support, with one in eight saying they were experiencing a mental health problem that was preventing them from returning to work.

Spain - Artists touring to Spain will no longer need visas for short-term engagements in a dramatic change to the current onerous rules. The change follows months of work from LIVE and the Association for British Orchestras (ABO), working alongside Spanish counterparts Asociación Promotores Musicales.
The development represents a significant boost for the sector which has, as a result of Brexit and the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, seen European touring become more expensive, more complicated, and more difficult to execute.
Visas have been a significant issue for Spain which, despite representing the fifth largest live music market in the world, posed the most costly and complicated visa application process across the bloc for artists looking to travel for short-term work.
Until now, artists and their promoters have had to make applications for short-term vi

Safety Concerns - COVID-19 safety concerns are preventing a significant proportion of previously frequent arts attenders from returning to cultural venues, newly released research has suggested.
Among audiences that have not yet returned to in-person performance, less than a third have booked tickets to a cultural event in future, underlining the crucial importance of COVID safety reassurance from venues, according to the joint research by the Insights Alliance, made up of consultancies Indigo, Baker Richards and One Further. The organisations have urged theatres to continue to employing safety measures such as mask wearing and COVID status certification, arguing that failing to do so is “counterproductive”.
Over a six-week period in September and October they surveyed nearly 11,000 people, who were frequent arts attenders before the pandemic. Of those surveyed, 45

Safe and Inclusive - A set of principles aimed at creating safe and inclusive working spaces in the industry have been updated to include all forms of discrimination. Launched in 2017 in response to the #MeToo movement by the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre, the original set of principles focused specifically on bullying and harassment.
The list has now been updated to cover all forms of discrimination, including racism, and the organisations behind the principles hope they will become standard across the industry. Equity and BECTU are among 21 industry bodies that are supporting the 10 principles and encouraging theatre employers, freelancers and board trustees to adhere to them.
Among the 10 principles are instructions recognising that “harassment or discriminatory language or behaviour may be unlawful under the Equality Act 2010” and that those adhering

Deep Concern - A House of Lords committee has warned it is “deeply concerned” about the “existential threat” facing the performing arts because of touring restrictions caused by Brexit and has urged the government to work to address the issues.
It outlines evidence heard by the European Affairs Committee on 14 September from BECTU national secretary Noel McClean, Incorporated Society of Musicians chief executive Deborah Annetts and chair of LIVE Touring Group Craig Stanley.
Kinnoull said that the committee found the witnesses "compelling and persuasive" and that it was "deeply concerned" by the evidence presented. In the letter, Kinnoull states: "The sector has been particularly badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and is now in the first stages of its recovery.
"It was clear from the evidence provided to the committee that this recovery is critically

Devastating Impact - One in three jobs in the British music industry were lost during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report from trade body UK Music. The research said there were 69,000 fewer jobs in music in 2020 than in 2019 - a drop of 35% - due to the "devastating impact" of coronavirus. UK Music said the industry had been hit "especially hard" by the virus.
Musicians themselves as well as people working in venues and recording studios were particularly affected, it said. Live music revenues collapsed by around 90% in 2020, according to the UK Music report, titled This Is Music 2021, which is published today. "The music creators and live music sectors experienced the greatest decline - the majority of those working in the industry are self-employed, and they have been hit especially hard by COVID-19," it said.
In The Docks - Plans have been rev

USA - ESTA’s Technical Standards Programme currently has five draft standards in active public review. The reviews are open to anyone having a material interest in the subject matter. The review opportunities are as follows.
The Event Safety Working Group has one draft standard in public review.
BSR ES1.18 - 202x, Event Safety – Rigging provides minimum requirements and general guidelines for the suspension of equipment and materials that are utilized in the technical production of organised special events. It addresses the general requirements for design, planning, installation, set-up, removal and operation of rigging activities. These activities may be conducted using permanent or temporary structures, either in or out of doors. It does not cover permanently installed rigging systems, and it is not a tutorial or a list of specifications. Submit comments b

UK - Event and brand logistics specialist Global Infusion Group has announced a change in its leadership. Bonnie May, previously GIG’s global operations director, takes on the role of CEO and Richard Duff joins the company as managing director as the business emerges from the pandemic.
Whilst continuing to lead the day-to-day operations of GIG and maintaining her hands on approach with clients, in her new role as CEO, Bonnie will shape the group’s strategy and vision. Rich, as managing director will be responsible for its implementation and lead all business functions including sales, finance and human resources.
Richard’s career spans sales, marketing and operational leadership roles within the FMCG, consumer electronics and homeware sectors. Over the last few years his focus has turned to the hospitality sector, and in his most recent role he was CEO of hotel

USA - There are just six opportunities left in 2021 to take the Behind the Scenes virtual Mental Health First Aid training for entertainment industry workers. Mental Health First Aid takes the fear and hesitation out of starting conversations about mental health and substance use problems by teaching you how to recognize the signs and symptoms that suggest a potential mental health challenge, how to listen non-judgmentally and give reassurance to someone, and how to refer a person to appropriate professional support and services.
The course is delivered in two parts. The first is a two-four-hour self-paced online course that must be completed prior to the second part which is a six-hour virtual live instructor led session. Go to btshelp.org/mhfa to learn more and to select the date and time you wish to attend the virtual live session. Upon completing the course you will beco

USA - ADJ’s Halloween Spooktacular Contest is back for 2021, offering the chance to win ADJ lighting gear simply by sharing your spooky lighting projects on social media and including ADJ’s hashtag.
“We want to see the creative ways you put your ADJ lighting, video, or effects equipment to use to create shiver inducing displays or spinechilling events,” says ADJ. “Whether it’s a professional project or home haunt, as long as you use ADJ fixtures, we want to see your Halloween 2021 display and it could win you one of three fantastic prizes.”
Like last year, the 2021 ADJ Halloween Spooktacular Contest is easy to enter. Just take photos or video of your Halloween project, display, or party and post it to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with the hashtag #ADJSpooktacular.
“The contest is open to anyone around the world and you can enter as many times

UK - Industry charity Backup's Pumpkin Challenge is back for 2021. The competition aims to help raise awareness of the charity in a fun and creative way, encouraging interested parties to carve the most creative pumpkin.
“To enter, all that’s need is a pumpkin, your design and any props or tech you want to incorporate to bring your design to life. If you want to use the opportunity to fundraise too (though not a requirement) that would be welcome,” says Backup.
Competition categories are: Best overall design (judged by panel); Best use of tech (judged by panel); Most money raised (via Backup Pumpkin Challenge Fundraising Page); and Most overall likes (on Instagram, using the hashtag: #BackupPumpkinChallenge).
For 2021 long-time Backup supporter Lightpower Collection has generously donated a prize of one of their photographic books to the winner of the best

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