USA - ESTA has announced that A. Scott Hoyt will receive the 2018 Swan Award. This award is only given when an individual has served the association above and beyond the call of duty.
Scott’s service on the ESTA board of directors began in 2007. In 2012 Scott was elected to the office of treasurer and served as the treasurer of the PLASA Governing Body as well. As treasurer, he was a member of the executive committee as well as an ex-officio member of the Technical Standards and ETCP councils. His second and final term as ESTA’s treasurer comes to an end 31 December, 2018.
Though he has completed his service as Treasurer, Scott continues to chair the oversight committee of the business peer group and serves on the member advisory group.
Stream On - Dua Lipa is the most-streamed female artist in the UK so far this year, according to figures from both Spotify and Apple Music. Her song One Kiss, with Calvin Harris, was the second most-streamed track on both services, behind Drake's One Plan. Lipa's self-titled album was the third most-streamed record in the UK, and the fourth globally, on Spotify. The star, who won best female at this year's Brits, has just been announced as Vogue's January cover star.
Creative Call - Schools should only be awarded an “outstanding” rating by Ofsted if they can demonstrate excellence in teaching creative subjects alongside academic ones, a leading education charity has claimed. The report is produced by the Edge Foundation, which aims to shape the future of education in the UK, and its calls echo those of bodies such as Arts Council England, which has previously said schools should only be awarded an “excellent” rating if they have a strong arts offering.
It raises concerns about the decline in schoolchildren taking GCSEs in creative subjects, claiming entries have fallen by 77,000 - 20% - since 2010. It also highlights research from Ofsted itself, which shows that creative subjects are effective at teaching skills such as collaboration, communication and decision making. The report goes on to recommend that the government should “restore creative subjects back into the heart of the curriculum” and “ensure that higher and further education institutions are properly resourced to deliver creative courses”.
USA - Flex Rental Solutions has announced that Flex5 Phone - its newly designed phone app - has been released to all customers.
Flex5 is the company’s new HTML5 user interface and features a complete rewrite of Flex’s user interface and backend architecture. Flex5 will eventually replace Flex’s current Flash UI by adding a new desktop environment.
Flex5 Phone is already available for download in the Apple App Store for iPhones and in the Google Play store for Android devices. Flex5 Phone replaces Flex Mobile, which is no longer available in the App store.
In August of this year, Flex Rental Solutions announced that it had released Flex5 Tablet.
“We’re really excited about the progress we’ve made bringing new ways for our users to track and manage their inventory in the warehouse and on the go,” says Chris Stein, CEO of Flex Rental Solutions, “our goal with Flex5 is to take the focus away from scanning and put it on what matters: increasing our user’s overall efficiency.”
Flex5 Phone features will mirror Flex5 Tablet. Users can search, call, text, or get direction to a contact right from their phone or tablet. Flex5 has finally freed the warehouse staff from being tethered to large laptops and desktop stations. Users can search and view all inventory and contacts, as well as prep pull sheets, return manifests, create and edit inventory, log maintenance, and more.
Flex Rental Solutions plans future updates for Flex5 Tablet & Phone, however the primary focus now is Flex5 Desktop, with financial document deve
Forever Young - Bob Dylan and Neil Young have been announced as joint headliners at London's Hyde Park as part of British Summer Time on 12 July though it's not yet clear in which order they will play.
Lip-Syncing - Rita Ora has been accused of lip-syncing during her performance at America's most famous Thanksgiving Day event. Organisers apologised to millions of viewers watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade for "technical difficulties" during the holiday feature. Rita Ora appeared to be out of sync with the vocals viewers heard during her televised performance.
Macy's, the American department store chain that throws the parade, released a public apology. The company said "several recording artists experienced technical difficulties that negatively impacted their performance." It added: "We apologise and want fans to know these issues were out of the artist’s control."
Rock On - Queen musical We Will Rock You is to be re-imagined for a new UK and Ireland tour next year, it has been announced. The show, which is written by Ben Elton and features some of Queen’s biggest hits, will tour the UK for a fourth time, beginning in September next year. It will open at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley in September and will visit locations across the UK and Ireland part of the tour, which runs until May 2020.
False Hope - Further education colleges offering arts courses are knowingly giving young people “false hope” about their future because of poor job prospects in the sector, the head of Ofsted has claimed.
UK - Technical entertainment charity Backup received donations in excess of £25,500 during September alone, thanks to the generosity of Ambersphere, Claypaky, DiGiCo, Lightpower Collection, PLASA and LSi.
UK - SXS Events recently used Current RMS’ Open API to create a number of integrations to streamline workflow. The Open API is available for any of their software users to access and build with, for them to develop exciting and useful integrations that utilise their data within Current RMS.
Established in 1998, UK-based SXS Events specialises in event production and dry hire, and has grown to be a multi-million pound event production company. Using the Current RMS Open API, they created X Hire, a platform for their clients to view products directly on their website and hire them. Built to work alongside their normal website, this space allows them to pull across products and key information from Current RMS and onto a platform their new and existing clients can easily access and view.
“The website is a great tool for both the office team and clients. Instead of trying to explain equipment to clients we can send them a link to the product,” says Joe Sandford-Hughes, head of dry hire at SXS Events. “The same thing goes for clients needing copies of their invoices; we can give them an account on the site and they can get to everything they need.”
It’s not just front-of-house that the Open API has been useful for. The team at SXS has also made use of it to create a number of integrations that have been handy for internal processes, ensuring their jobs are always on time and up to the standard they need to be. This includes a dynamic ‘kiosk’ screen that staff can see, which updates throughout the course of the day to show outgoing jobs
Sustainable Art - An environmental programme designed to help arts organisations become more sustainable has helped its participants reduce their energy consumption by almost a quarter in the past six years, saving £16.5m as a result. The group of 136 of Arts Council England’s national portfolio organisations have also decreased their carbon emissions by 35% in this time period, according to a report on the scheme by ACE and green arts charity Julie’s Bicycle.
These figures are the culmination of a partnership between Julie’s Bicycle and the Arts Council that began in 2012 with the aim of encouraging arts organisations to become more environmentally sustainable. As part of the six-year programme, the 136 participating organisations consistently reported data at regular intervals across the period. 47 of these were theatre organisations, including the Royal Court and the Lyric Hammersmith in London. However, Julie’s Bicycle said it was unable to provide broken-down figures for the theatres on the list.
Interval Advertising - Nearly two thirds of respondents to a poll by The Stage said they would object to theatres screening adverts during the interval. The online survey was held in response to news that English National Opera is seeking permission to project adverts on to its safety curtain. Of 443 respondents to the poll, which asked: “Would you object to theatres screening adverts during the interval?”, 62% said they would object and 38% said they would not. ENO is initially planning to use the curtain to show adverts for forth
The Long Goodbye - Elton John has announced UK dates for his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, saying they will be emotional and "incredibly special". The singer, who began his mammoth three-year goodbye tour in the US in September, will continue to play across the world until 2021, with more than 300 shows planned. Two UK dates had already been confirmed for next year, and there will now be more again in November 2020, kicking off at London's O2 Arena. Sir Elton will also play arena shows in Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Aberdeen, Glasgow and Leeds in 2020.
"The Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour will take us to many places that have meant a lot to me over the last 50 years, but these UK shows will be incredibly special," he said. "The UK is home, and where my heart will always be. To celebrate some of the incredible moments we've shared with my British fans over the years will be wonderful. These homecoming shows will be very emotional, and a lot of fun."
High Wire Act - Cirque du Soleil has announced the UK premiere of a show inspired by the film Avatar, which has been developed with director James Cameron. Toruk – the First Flight, which is written and directed by Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon, will run at Manchester Arena from 20-23 June 20 to 23 and at London’s O2 Arena from 26-30 June. The show, which uses multimedia projections and puppetry, is an official prequel to the 2009 film Avatar.
Cameron said: “Avatar is really meant to be a celebration of human motion and human emotion and C
USA - Lighting designer Herrick Goldman, principal of HG Lighting Design and Evoke Collaborative recently presented the Behind the Scenes charity with a $1,000 donation representing a portion of the firm’s design fees over the last year. HG Lighting Design was the first company to pledge a service rather than a product to Behind the Scenes and this donation marked HGLD’s second annual cheque presentation.
HG Lighting Design provides lighting services for a wide variety of markets including theatre, dance, and corporate events, as well as permanent installations for museums and other venues. Goldman, who designs all around the globe, has long been a supporter of the Behind the Scenes charity. Goldman says: “Our industry is filled with so many wonderful people, it’s a pleasure to be able to support our family members in times of need. In late 2018 HGLD is launching Evoke Collaborative. The Evoke team represents a broad array of talented artists with experience in diverse disciplines, adding value through long-established relationships in the lighting, video, and design industry. We look forward to continuing and expanding our philanthropy as our business grows.”
On receiving the cheque, BTS Foundation board member, Tobin Neis, commented: “Herrick and HG Lighting Design have set an incredible example for the design community. Everyone in the industry can make a difference to their colleagues in need, and doing so by committing your creative ideas to those who bring them to life can be especially gratifying. We hope others in the design community
USA - Four board members have been elected to the EST board of directors following an election that ended on 30 October (Tuesday).
Steve Surratt of Texas Scenic Company will fill the office of treasurer.
Steve Roudebush of BMI Supply will return as the dealer and distributor director.
Steve Terry of ETC was elected as manufacturer director.
Mike Garl of Mike Garl Consulting will serve a second term as professional services director.
All will begin their three-year term of office on 1 January 2019.
UK - Following a collaboration at the recently completed White Rose leisure extension in Leeds, Studiotech was approached by tensile fabric specialists, Base Structures, to assist with the multi-million pound transformation of the NEC in Birmingham.
Included in this transformation was the facelift of the façade. The new design included patterned coloured panels and 37 tensile fabric pyramids, designed by Base Structures. Each translucent pyramid was to be backlit to create a more attractive and engaging environment for all stakeholders.
Studiotech assisted Base Structures by providing the detailed design, supply, installation and programming of the feature lighting. They chose to use Traxon Washer Allegro RGB LED luminaires to wash gracefully behind the pyramids.
The complex façade design meant that a number of trades were involved in completing this facelift, co-ordination with one another was key to a successful installation.
The completed installation provides a striking addition to the NEC arena, creating a dynamic and impressive display at one of the UK’s most popular venues.
Europe - There are three days left for the entertainment lighting industry to respond to the EU Commission’s revised version of the Ecodesign regulation.
The consultation period ends on 9 November (Friday) and the draft is open for one last review before the final parliamentary vote. Those who wish to respond should follow this link or visit plasa.org for instructions.
Whilst the outcome overall has been positive, European entertainment industry bodies have proposed four ‘small but essential’ amendments ahead of key talks in December.
The European Entertainment Ecodesign Coalition (EEEC) - comprising PLASA, PEARLE, the ALD, DTHG, the IALD, OETHG, SLF, STEPP and VPLT - and other national and international organisations released a joint statement highlighting their concerns. Their proposed amendments are:
• Exemption for lighting fixtures from standby power mode and networked stand-by power mode
• Exemption for white light sources for specific needs
• Widen the range of wavelength for 'green' used in colour-tuneable light sources
• Further lamp bases to be exempted for use in professional entertainment lighting products
The proposals' signatories say in a statement: "The current EU Regulation includes an exemption for ‘studio lighting, s
Record Breakers - Harry Styles, Ed Sheeran and Dua Lipa, are among the artists who helped propel British music to a record year in 2017, according to a new report. Export revenues grew by 7% to a new high of £2.6bn, UK Music's Measuring Music report said.
For the second year running the number of successful records by British artists bucked the trend for annually declining music sales - which had slumped to £610m in 2015.
Festivals and live events, including world tours by Coldplay, The Rolling Stones and Sir Paul McCartney, also accounted for £1bn of revenue - with the report confirming the O2 in London was the world's most popular arena.
Overall, the UK music industry contributed a record £4.5bn to the UK economy last year - up £100m on 2016. The report said more people were employed in the music industry than ever before, with almost 146,000 jobs. But UK Music's chief executive Michael Dugher issued a warning about the need to nurture the music industry's talent pipeline and to give people from a variety of backgrounds access to a career in the industry. "These figures show what can be achieved when we choose to back the British music industry," Dugher said.
Rising Costs - The cost of building a new arts venue in Manchester has risen by almost £20m, the city council has said. It means the budget for The Factory, to be built in the city's St John's neighbourhood, will now reach just over £130m. The increase, which is expected to be met by Manchester City Council, will be voted on later this month.
UK - A performance by final year BA (Hons) Acting and BA (Hons) Actor Musicianship students from Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance has raised over £550 for the Mayor of Bexley’s charity appeal.
The College annually donates proceeds from box office sales and audience donations from one of their public performances to the Mayor of Bexley’s chosen charities. This year a record amount of £586 was raised to support those in the borough who suffer daily with mental health issues and children with Autism.
The performance of Blue Stockings by Jessica Swale on Thursday 1 November, also gave an opportunity for students from the Colleges’ School of Design, Management and Technical Arts to showcase their talents. Designer Kelli-Mae Crossman, lighting designer Adam Richardson and sound designer Rachel Goldberg transformed the Rose Theatre into 19th Century Cambridge University supported by scenic arts, lighting, sound, costume production and stage and event management students.
After the performance, the Mayor of Bexley, Councillor Brian Bishop, and the Lady Mayoress met the cast and production team to congratulate them.
Rose Bruford College Principal, Clarie Middleton, says: “Once again we are delighted to be able to support the Mayor of Bexley’s charity appeal. On behalf of the cast and production team and everyone at Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance, I would like to thank the audience for their generous contributions to two fantastic causes."
UK - The UK entertainment technology industry is valued at £1.28bn in 2017/18 and its value is predicted to grow over the next five years, according to a new research report by PLASA.
The study - said by PLASA to be 'the most comprehensive study of the entire entertainment technology industry in many years' - is available to download from plasa.org. It delves into each market sector’s performance and also looks at the effects of macro-environment trends and employment.
According to the findings, all sectors have experienced growth, particularly AV and audio, which represent 38% and 27% of the market share respectively. AV is currently valued at £490m and has an increasing presence in many sectors including architectural and retail. Audio is valued at £340m due to its usage in installations and sports among others.
The suppliers surveyed showed a positive sentiment about the future of architectural & commercial, concert & touring and themed attractions; performing arts, DJ and studio sectors were also listed. The future of the industry is also positive, with half of those surveyed expecting the value of the industry to increase in the next five years.
PLASA managing director, Peter Heath, comments: “It’s great to learn that the entertainment technology industry is in such good shape. And with the industry diversifying and adapting, it is clear that leading professionals from all sectors are more than capable of steering live enter
UK - NEC Group Arenas has taken two electrical apprentices on a three-year placement with the Group’s Arenas ElectriX team.
Liam Dyde, 21, and Mohammed Waseem, 28, will receive mentoring as they bid to complete their NVQ Level 3 in electrics.
Throughout their apprenticeship, Dyde and Waseem will gain theoretical and practical knowledge and be involved in testing, inspection and delivery of the electrical supplies. One day per week in term time will also be spent at Solihull College & University Centre for additional practical and theory lessons.
NEC Group Arenas chief electrician and mentor Peter Hammond comments: “There is a noticeable skills gap in the arenas electrical industry, something that we too have noticed with our in-house team. As skilled individuals retire, there’s be a decline in numbers of those able to step into their positions. With demand for our services higher than ever before, featuring bigger more technically ambitious live events, we thought it was time to take action.”
NEC Group apprenticeship coordinator, Angela Walsh, adds: “At the NEC Group we are committed to providing a variety of career opportunities for youngster across the country that provide career stability in fun and dynamic environments. This new scheme we’ve developed in association with Solihull College & University Centre will not only help bridge this skills gap but also give young talent the opportunity to be involved in on-the-job training, and bring us as the employer, fresh blood and fresh thinking.”
Argentina/USA - Over $10m worth of equipment has been seized from a black market organisation in Buenos Aires following a two-year undercover operation.
The equipment was retrieved on 13 September in a joint operation between Argentinian police forces, the NYPD major crimes squad, the FBI and the US embassy. The authorities said 10 raids had been carried out, with the kit believed to have been stolen from the USA and rented out to film and TV production companies on the black market in Argentina.
ESTA’s Production Equipment Rental Group (PERG) worked closely with the police to coordinate the identification of the recovered items via its searchable online database for missing equipment, Rental Guard.
Martin Pastor, NYPD major case squad detective, comments: “We have recovered over $10m in stolen equipment thanks to Rental Guard. I urge anyone who suffers a theft to post it on the database immediately, and anyone considering buying used equipment to search the database first to make sure the item is not stolen.”
He adds: “I would especially like to thank the members and staff of PERG for their vital assistance in the recovery. Everyone I contacted made themselves immediately available to help. This was a joint effort that could not have been accomplished without their participation.”
ESTA has released a list of equipment for identification. Those who believe any of the items belonged to them should submit a police report or an orig
Olympia Plans - Plans have been submitted for a 1,500-seat theatre and 1,000-capacity performing arts venue in the Olympia London exhibition centre. The new venues are part of a £700m redevelopment of the West Kensington events space, which was first announced in July. Now the owners of Olympia London, Yoo Capital, have requested planning permission from Hammersmith and Fulham council.
The planning documents reveal further details of the proposed performing arts offering, with developers aiming to create a cultural hub in the area. As well as the previously announced 1,500-seat theatre, there will also be a flexible performing arts venue with a capacity of 1,000 seated or 3,000 standing, which will be used for music and potentially also for theatre and dance. There will also be 10,000sq.ft of performance rehearsal space, which will be primarily for use of local charities and community groups, free of charge.
Planning documents reveal the theatre will be constructed from textured concrete and spread over nine levels, with a fly tower and rooftop restaurant located on the top floor.
The completion date of the development, which will also include hotels, restaurants and cinemas, is dependent on when the council responds to the planning application.
Unmasked - A stage show based on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s life and career is being developed and will be workshopped at a London theatre owned by the composer next month. It will be based on Lloyd Webber’s recently published autobiography, Unmasked, and is described as “highly experim
USA - Three more ESTA standards have been posted for public review.
ANSI E1.34 - 2009, Entertainment Technology - Measuring and Specifying the Slipperiness of Floors Used in Live Performance Venues is being considered for reaffirmation again (i.e., no changes in requirements, only updating organization name, address, copyright date, etc.) The document describes a simple means of measuring and specifying the slipperiness of floor surfaces used by performers in live entertainment venues. The standard is not for normal walking and working surfaces, but only for those floor surfaces used by actors, dancers, and other similar artists when performing before an audience. Comments are due before the end of the day on 17 December; the review is over when 18 December starts.
BSR E1.37-5, General Purpose Messages for ANSI E1.20, RDM is a new standard that creates new Get/Set parameter messages (PIDs) for use with the ANSI E1.20 Remote Device Management protocol. Comments are due no later than 24 December. The review is over by 25 December.
BSR E1.62, Minimum specifications for mass-produced portable platforms, ramps, stairs, and choral risers for live performance events is a new standard for mass-produced portable platforms, stair units and ramps used with those platforms, and choral risers, designed to be used for the presentation of music concerts, dramatic plays, fashion shows, and other entertainment and special events. Comments are due no later than 17 Decem
Then Play On - Fleetwood Mac have announced they will perform at Wembley Stadium next summer as part of a European tour. The veteran rock band, who are currently touring the US, will play Wembley on 16 June after gigs in Berlin and Dublin. Fleetwood Mac have a new line-up after guitarist Lindsey Buckingham was fired back in April due to "scheduling conflicts". Guitarist Mike Campbell and Crowded House frontman Neil Finn have joined existing members Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie and John McVie.
The group have said they are "thrilled" to welcome the new two musicians, adding: "With Mike and Neil, we'll be performing all the hits that the fans love, plus we'll be surprising our audiences with some tracks from our historic catalogue of songs. Fleetwood Mac has always been a creative evolution. We look forward to honouring that spirit on this upcoming tour."
Musical Menu - A restaurant featuring a cast of singing waiters that is dubbing itself the ‘UK’s answer to Ellen’s Stardust Diner’ in New York is to open this week in Liverpool. The American-themed bar and diner, called Mulholland, opens on 25 October in Liverpool city centre and will feature a 16-strong team of waiting staff made solely of performers.
It is being modelled on Ellen’s Stardust Diner in New York’s Times Square, which has been staffed by performers for more than 30 years. Each dish will be served alongside its own show tune, with singers performing musical theatre numbers, film theme tunes and power ballads. Managing director Kris Mochrie said: “We a
USA - ESTA's Technical Standards Programme has published one revised standard, put another up for public review and a third one is available for public review for reaffirmation (no changes planned).
ANSI E1.1 - 2018, Entertainment Technology--Construction and Use of Wire Rope Ladders, was approved by ANSI's Board of Standards Review on 27 September. It is a revision of the 2012 standard, which was a revision of the 2006 standard with changed load ratings to accommodate heavier workers. Wire rope ladders are commonly used in concert touring for access to lighting trusses, but are rarely used in other industries.
ANSI E1.48 - 2014, A Recommended Luminous Efficiency Function for Stage and Studio Luminaire Photometry is being considered for reaffirmation. It is available for public review for free at http://estalink.us/pr.
The standard specifies a V (lambda) function that more accurately reflects the response of the human eye at the extreme blue and red ends of the spectrum than the 80+ year-old function used with many light meters. The differences between the functions are significant when measuring the output of RGB LED luminaires. Public review is an opportunity for anyone materially affected by the standard to comment on it. Is it reasonable? Are there errors that need correction? Should something be added to it? Comments are due before the end of day on 17 December.
BSR E1.20, Entertainment Technology - Remote Device Management over USITT DMX512 N
Europe - On Tuesday 9th October, the EU released a revised version of their proposed new Ecodesign and Ecolabelling Lighting regulations. These are the intended final versions of these regulations.
The full texts are available to read via the links below.
From an entertainment lighting perspective, this version is almost entirely unchanged from the draft published in July. There is a minor addition of a new exemption for some specialist fluorescent lamps used in the film industry. And the exemptions established in the July draft, which cover many areas of entertainment lighting, remain in place.
However, this draft does not address any of the issues that the entertainment lighting industry’s Ecodesign Task Group have been trying to raise with the EU since the publication of the July draft.
This means that some key issues remain:
- requirement for lighting fixtures to use less than 0.5W of power in standby mode (when not emitting light), which is not achievable for DMX-controlled lighting fixtures that have to respond immediately to cues.
- inability of high-powered white LED sources to meet the efficiency requirements because of the combined impacts of the Auger effect, thermal effects and in-built optics. Many such sources are far from achieving the regulation limits.
- the definition of green used in colour-tuneable (additive colour mixing) fixtures, which is not set at the right point for the most efficient design of colour mixing systems.
- a number of specific lamp bases and white light sources for which exemptio
Hold The Music - The family Prince has hit out at Donald Trump, calling for the US president to stop playing the star's songs at his rallies. The late musician joins a growing list of other artists who have also objected to the billionaire tycoon-turned-world leader playing their music at public events. Omarr Baker, Prince's half-brother, tweeted: "The Prince Estate has never given permission to President Trump or The White House to use Prince's songs and have requested that they cease all use immediately."
Purple Rain was reportedly part of the president's playlist in Mississippi last week. It comes after Trump's team reportedly included the star's hit song in a campaign rally playlist in the lead up to the November midterm elections. Others who have spoken against their music being played at Republican rallies include the Rolling Stones, Adele, Queen, George Harrison, Aerosmith, R.E.M. and Neil Young.
Luciano Pavarotti's family also criticised the use of the singer's rendition of the Puccini aria Nessun Dorma at the now US leader's 2016 election rallies. Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger previously said there was nothing he could do under US law to stop Mr Trump playing his music.
Wake-up Call - Andrew Lloyd Webber is urging the industry to work together on a strategy to protect music in education, labelling recent research highlighting its demise as a “wake-up call” for the sector. According to research from the University of Sussex, the decline of music in secondary schools has “reached crisis point”. The study, wh
UK - Stage Electrics has announced the appointment of Adam Blaxill as operations director. His responsibilities include managing Stage Electrics’ engineering workshop, service department, purchasing function and sales warehouse. He continues with his marketing responsibilities.
Maria Townsend, Stage Electrics’ group CEO, commented, “Adam was the obvious candidate for this role. He has a great deal of knowledge of the Stage Electrics operation, as well as the technical entertainment industry. His appointment strengthens the team and allows us to continue our plan of further sustainable growth.”