UK - Cloud rental management solution Current RMS has released two new features to speed up the checking in process and streamline communication.
Launched at the PLASA Show 2017 in London, Global Check-in allows users to check-in multiple assets across different jobs from one screen. Users can also specify when assets are lost or damaged, placing them in quarantine.
Discussion Templates offers the ability to assign templates to certain areas of the system and customise all messages sent from Current, making it easy for company branding, standard replies and other email communication tools to be applied.
To find out more about both new feature releases, check out Current RMS’ What’s New page or book a free online demo.
UK - David Boxall, co-founder of Baldwin Boxall, is the first recipient of the Warren-Barnett Technical Innovation Award.
The Warren Barnett Technical Innovation Award, named after former ISCE Presidents Hayden Warren and Peter Barnett, was established to recognise the innovative talent of ISCE members and to acknowledge their contribution to the industry.
David Boxall was nominated by Peter Mapp to receive the new ISCE award.
Boxall said: "I am thrilled to receive this award – it was totally unexpected. It is a real honour to receive recognition for my work, especially as it is linked with Hayden Warren and Peter Barnett, both of who I knew well and held in such high esteem."
Boxall's career in the PA industry spans more than 45 years during which he designed many innovative products ranging from 100V line amplifiers, hearing loop amplifiers, PA & VA, system surveillance monitoring units, automatic ambient noise sensing and level adjustment circuits to the latest digital signal processing and routeing units. He was also principal electronic design engineer at Millbank Electronics, having started out on his audio career path with Sound Diffusion and germanium transistors.
Europe - Harlequin has announced a considerable expansion in sales and technical support in Berlin and Brussels.
In Germany, Claudia Frohlich, Britta Fink and Sanela Iseken have joined the company. Claudia joins the established customer service team in Berlin from a strong customer relations background. Britta and Sanela will be heading up the new Harlequin Deutschland-am-Rhein office based in Bochum and will be focused on bringing world-class technical support to clients in Niedersachsen, Nordrhein Westfalen, Hessen and Rheinland Pfalz. Sanela’s extensive experience includes 15 years in stage engineering at ASM, and respected long service within the DTHG.
In Belgium, Nicolas Coolen joins as regional sales manager for Benelux and Scandinavia. Nicolas brings wide experience in sales management having worked for a number of international manufacturers in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
Astrid Klubert, Harlequin senior sales manager for Benelux and Scandinavia, comments: "We are delighted that Nicolas has joined the Harlequin Europe team, he will support and enhance our customer service throughout Benelux and the Scandinavian countries.”
USA - Mojo Barriers US office has appointed Dan Gormley as vice president, joining fellow US vice president Jordi van Berkum.
Gormley states: “I am delighted to be joining Mojo Barriers as the company prepares to introduce new product ranges into the US market. I have the utmost respect for Mojo and relish the challenge to continue to evolve and improve our effectiveness and reach, expand the offering to clients, while developing and further strengthen our brand.”
Gormley's eight years’ experience working in live entertainment has given him a deep understanding of promoter cost containment requirements, along with the development of both new processes and new products to reduce overhead production costs. Previous roles have spanned festival site development to design and construction of new live event facilities. He will work from Mojo’s Los Angeles base.
Keeping Music Live - Campaigners fighting to preserve Cardiff’s live music scene have heralded a breakthrough after plans to develop flats in the heart of the city’s entertainment district were withdrawn.
A campaign to protect the city's grassroots music scene has been underway since the start of this year, with campaigners fighting in particular to preserve the entertainment venues on Womanby Street, which is home to several live music venues but has seen a string of closures in recent times.
The campaign attracted thousands of signatures, and calls on Cardiff Council to protect the area as a cultural hub. Venue owners and music fans also condemned a planning application to create a hotel to be built above a Wetherspoon’s pub on Womanby Street.
Plans for a residential housing development comprising six flats had been submitted for the street, however these have now been withdrawn. Public comments submitted to the council argued that the flats were unsuitably located, in the heart of the area that drives the city's night-time economy. Campaign group Save Womanby Street said the application's withdrawal was a "testimony to the passion and effort from the venues, activists and everyone who has supported us".
Virtual Reality - A new immersive lab has opened in Brighton which will enable theatre companies to experiment with virtual reality technology. This is the second immersive lab to be opened by Digital Catapult, which supports innovation in technology, following the launch of a London facility earlier this year.
UK - Theatre consultancy firm Theatreplan has welcomed on board Chris Needle who joins the company as an intern after graduating with a BA in Technical Theatre Arts from London’s Guildhall School of Music & Drama.
Needle opted for the theatre technology pathway within the course which covered lighting, sound, automation and production management.
During his three years at Guildhall, Needle was given training in many areas of technical theatre, but he specialised in electrics in his third year working as lighting designer for The Crucible, Herons and The (Imaginary) Misogynist, as well as being the production electrician for Balm in Gilead and Opera Makers.
Needle took part in work placement with BDP Lighting working on the restoration of the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, before joining Theatreplan in October 2017.
UK - Natural History Museum has bolstered its specialist in-house events team with the appointment of Nikki Fhalora filling a maternity cover.
Nikki will be managing event enquiries, client liaison and overseeing the delivery of both internal and external events over a busy festive 2017 following the refurbishment of the Hintze Hall space.
She comments: “The Natural History Museum is one of the most iconic venues in London and it has always been my dream to work here, having studied history at university I am so lucky to be able to combine my love for the subject with my passion for events in such a varied and interesting role. My favourite space in the Museum is Fossil Way which can be dressed so delightfully by our suppliers for any event from champagne receptions to intimate sit-down dinners.”
Robert Wetherell, head of venue hire at the Museum adds: “I’m thrilled to welcome Nikki to the team here. Having completed a huge renovation this is an incredibly exciting time for the events team and we look forward to deliver a wealth of memorable events across our extensive choice of stunning event spaces.”
South Africa - With the aim to inform, inspire, mobilize and educate community members involved in the arts, the fourth Hello Community Arts Development Programme and Festival was hosted at the Breytenbach Theatre from 16 - 26 August, with DWR Distribution and the SOS Charity fund supporting the event.
Hello is the vision of Hardus Koekemoer and Wandile Mgcodo from the Department of Entertainment Technology at the Tshwane University of Technology, has seen its state funding slashed, but the university, alongside DWR Distribution and radio broadcaster 93.6 Tshwane FM, have continued to invest in the project.
“We were presented with vast talent around Gauteng, and with the introduction of a poetry evening added to the theatre and music productions, we gained a new audience,” explained Wandile Mgcodo. “My highlight is always seeing the groups performing on a professional stage, for which to some, it’s the first time. Of course, we can’t forget the students, who are so passionate that you sometimes forget about all other problems.”
“For the students, the festival offers an experimental learning experience outside the box,” said Wandile. “The community groups, on the other hand, appreciate the opportunity given to them. To grow the festival, our plan is to involve more stakeholders in the art fraternity and put more efforts in marketing the project in order to attract more artists and to enlarge the audience.”
Duncan Riley of DWR and the SOS believes it’s very important to give back. “So many individuals in our
UAE - Baldwin Boxall looks forward to welcoming visitors at its stand (number 4-H20) at Intersec Dubai in January 2018.
Visitors to the stand will see the EN54 (LPCB) certified VIGIL voice evacuation system and the company’s Omnicare EVC system and disabled toilet alarms. These products, as you would expect from Baldwin Boxall, have an undeniable reputation of being robust and exceptionally reliable. (The company has recently gained Civil Defence Approval in the Middle East.)
Baldwin Boxall is a British designer and manufacturer and prides itself, not only on the quality of design and build of its products, but also on its customer service and support - which directors and staff believe is paramount to their success. Customer testimonials and long-term customer relationships prove this to be the case.
Nick Baldwin (marketing manager) and Nigel Bateman (export sales) will be on stand 4-H20 and look forward to meeting you.
UK - A 120-mile charity bike ride from Bath to the PLASA Show in London has so far raised over £3,500 towards a charity aimed at improving mental health in the industry.
The team of three cyclists, comprising Andy Lenthall of the Production Services Association (PSA); John McEvoy of PRG and Dan Page of DiGiGrid (who had just returned from a 1,000 mile ride from John O’Groats to Land’s End) completed the journey in 7 hours, to join industry colleagues at the annual trade show.
The ride was organised as part of an ongoing collaboration between the PSA and PLASA, which aims to tackle the issue of mental health in the entertainment industry and encourages companies to take an active lead by offering Mental Health First Aid training - equipping staff with the skills required to identify and support colleagues suffering with mental health problems. The money raised from the bike ride will fund subsidised training for self-employed production personnel.
With little time to rest after the bike ride, Andy Lenthall and PLASA’s managing director Peter Heath brought the issue to the main stage of the PLASA Show’s leading seminar programme.
Joined by Kelly Murray, editor of TPi magazine and Steve Banks, chairman of the PSA, they hosted a well-attended panel session titled Improving our approach to mental health. During the session, the panel discussed ways companies can support employees, including investing in Mental Health First Aid training and working with time-to-change.org.uk to create mental health action plans. The panel al
Live & Gigging - Live music now accounts for almost a quarter of UK music industry revenues, new figures reveal.
Concerts brought in £1 billion in 2016, over £300m more than recorded music - which includes sales of CDs, vinyl, downloads and streaming.
In total, 30.9 million tickets were sold for concerts and festivals in 2016, up from 27.7 million in 2015, but UK Music warned that the closure of small venues posed a threat to up-and-coming artists.
"Live music did have another great year," said CEO Michael Dugher. "But future talent will never get the chance to shine if we continue to see cuts in music in schools and closures in venues where artists need to learn their craft in the first place."
He also repeated calls for artists to be fairly compensated for their music - singling out media giants YouTube and Facebook for criticism. "Unlike the subscription services, those platforms often offer little adequate reward to the investors and creators of the 'content' - i.e. the music - that drives so much of their traffic," he said.
The report noted that YouTube was the most popular way to consume music in the UK, with 31% of the population using it at least once a week.The company recently defended its royalty rates, claiming it pays around $3 (£2.20) for every 1,000 ad-supported streams in the US.
Royal Appointment - Birmingham Conservatoire has been granted a royal title by the Queen. Joining a select list of performing arts institutions, the music and drama academy will be renamed the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Th
Europe - CUK Audio’s retail sales channel manager, Steve Barton, has just completed – and won - a gruelling 2,500-mile rally across Europe to raise money for the motor industry charity, BEN. A total of 28 teams took part in the event organised by Bilstein Group UK which took them through 10 countries in seven days via some of Europe’s most beautiful – and challenging – driving routes.
Barton and his team-mate, Nik Edwards drove a CUK Audio-branded 2005 MG ZT-T diesel estate (don’t be fooled, they were pretty fast, aggressive drives in their time!) to take part in the Banger Rally that left Marden in Kent on 15 September to cross the finish line seven days later at Bilstein’s new state-of-the-art warehouse facility in Markham Vale.
Sponsored by CUK Audio, the vehicle sported logos from several manufacturers in CUK’s MI/retail portfolio, namely dB Technologies, HEDD, ADK microphone, Caymon & Procab. The route took Team CUK through some of Europe’s most difficult and spectacular driving terrain including the Stelvio pass in Italy, the Grossglockner and Hahntennjoch passes in Austria and the Butter Tubs pass in Yorkshire. So far, the event has raised over £25,000 for BEN, a charity dedicated to the support of persons and their families who have worked or are working in the automotive industry.
UAE - With the delivery of a large batch of over 500 pieces of LiteDeck staging platforms, Prolyte Group and Fruition Events LLC embark on a fruitful cooperation in the Middle East region.
Prolyte Group will deliver the LiteDeck staging elements in two batches, the first to be completed in September, just in time for the start of the season in the Middle East region. The second to complete later in October.
Fruition Events aims to become a recognised event delivery partner in the Middle East region.
They choose to achieve this through continuous investment into a world-class team of industry professionals and sustainable product lines that can meet creative challenges. They focus on offering a professional and full-service infrastructure for the events sector. Fruition Events have extensive regional experience and can boast varied strategic partnerships, guaranteeing expertise and knowledge.
“Investigating the opportunity of local production with the Prolyte Group fulfilled our commitment to not only invest into a sustainable product line, but also to enhance availability in the UAE market,” comments Warren Barlow, managing director of Fruition Events. “Prolyte Group manufactures leading products, which are widely recognised and used across the globe. LiteDeck offers a clean aesthetic look in comparison to existing steel products, whilst retaining simple functionality and creative design principles.
“Coupled with the extensive backup of the Prolyte network, we will have the added capability of developing special components locall
UK - East Anglia-based CEG has recently launched its new website (www.ceghirepro.uk) which includes a hire catalogue allowing customer to get a real-time view of inventory information and availability.
Working closely with rental management software experts, Current-RMS, CEG has created its website using the API (Application Programming Interface) provided by Current to help build these industry-first features, which give CEG’s customers access and control as never seen before.
CEG’s director Ben Bowles explained: “When we started this project back in 2016, we worked closely with Chris Branson and his team at Current RMS to see how we could build our new website using the functionality built within Current. From the start of the project we were keen to incorporate some ground-breaking features into the hire catalogue and rental account sections of the website - all designed around saving our customers time and money.
“The top priority was to be able to have our hire catalogue running live from our rental inventory - pushing new products, photography, statistics and other sales information without any extra data entry. This was the starting point of the project, we then utilised Current’s extremely sophisticated API to be able to incorporate product availability and custom pricing into the customer facing parts of the site.
“As well as this we were also very keen to be able to give our customers the opportunity to see their current rentals, PAT testing and diagnostic records as well as digital delivery notes. We also wanted our cust
UK - Martin Audio has announced a series of webinars that will kick-start a new monthly education programme for its bestselling product ranges and software platforms.
A major development in Martin Audio’s training initiative, these live sessions will initially be conducted by members of its product support group and in time start to introduce guest speakers featuring end users who will share their experiences, insights and expertise.
These sessions will be offered to audio professionals wishing to leverage Martin Audio’s technologies and optimise their advanced tools for problem solving in field applications. These webinars can be accessed from anywhere in the world, and all sessions are available free-of-charge.
Martin Audio’s director of marketing, James King, commented, “Our brand has started to become pervasive around the world and it follows that we need to accelerate our education offering to reach these new end users and to maximise learning for system integrators and rental companies of our products and software platforms.
“The sessions start with our new Wavefront Precision optimised line arrays – sales of which have outstripped all our expectations – and are followed up with sessions on Display software, CDD and O-Line as well as topics like noise pollution management.”
USA - The deadline for ordering 2017 Behind the Scenes Holiday Cards is just one week away. These cards were created especially for Behind the Scenes and are a great way to spread holiday cheer while bringing help and hope to your colleagues in need. The order deadline is 29 September - so place your order now at www.behindthescenescharity.org/holidaycards!
Three card ordering options are offered: personalised cards with a company logo and custom message, card packs of 10 with a standard greeting, and electronic versions for delivery by email. All proceeds benefit the Behind the Scenes charity which provides financial assistance to entertainment technology professionals who are seriously ill or injured.
This year’s designs are particularly evocative of the season and include the work of four students - Taylor Brooks, William Gerton, Delayne Henderson, and Cassidy Woodburn - from the Fine Arts Academy at Mt. Vernon Senior High School in Mount Vernon, Indiana. Robert Mendoza returns with another of his popular whimsical creations and Brian Fockler contributes a striking card featuring the BTS ghostlight.
For more information about Behind the Scenes, to donate, or to apply for a grant, visit www.behindthescenedscharity.org.
UK - SLX has announced the launch of its new student bursary scheme. The scheme is aimed at second and third year lighting design, technical and event management students across England and Wales, providing five successful candidates with equipment, support and opportunities throughout the academic year.
SLX has supported and sponsored students in many ways through its history, employing student casuals, offering sponsorships and apprenticeships across the business.
Jo Sunners, business development manager at SLX describes the inspiration behind the scheme: “We’ve decided after a few months of consulting with drama schools and industry professionals to launch a new way of supporting the next generation of talent in our industry, something myself and SLX are extremely passionate about. I’m really excited to work with and support the successful applicants in the coming months.”
The bursary will be awarded annually going forward and will help the students who can best display a passion, dedication and enthusiasm for the industry, to grow their network and increase the tools at their fingertips.
Applications are already open for the bursary and the deadline is 11 October, after interviews of the shortlisted students have taken place, the recipients will be announced. The application form is now available at www.SLX.co.uk.
UK - On its first ever public outing at PLASA 2017, Le Mark’s new PAL Label Challenge was attempted by some of the shows strongest visitors and exhibitors, but remained completely undefeated.
“The PAL Label Challenge is so much fun. It gets really competitive between friends and colleagues but so far, no one has made it budge.” Said Le Mark’s marketing & strategy manager, Mark Gibbons.
What’s the PAL Label Challenge? Le Mark wanted an entertaining way to demonstrate the raw strength of the adhesive they use in selected PAL Road Case Labels. With the help of with 5 Star Cases, they designed a set of flight case plates, fitted with heavy duty handles and stuck them together using the very same super-strength foam adhesive used in their foam-backed PAL Labels. The challenge is to see if anyone has the strength to pull them apart.
With no one successfully completing the Challenge at PLASA, the search continues…
UK - Storm Ltd. of the UK has optimised its large inventory of ProPlex Data Distribution units, installing them in rugged, touring racks, a solution for their work on productions throughout the UK and Europe.
“ProPlex provides a truly versatile and reliable solution for our networking demands,” says Storm’s hire coordinator, James Price. “Much of our work involves ‘rolling’ entire systems in and out of venues quickly, and by installing ProPlex in dedicated racks we have our entire networking ‘brain’ in a single package. Some of our racks include the GBS 10-port, Opto-Splitter 2x8, and IQ DMX-Ethernet nodes. We also have IQ Minis for truss-mounting. Everything is wired with ProPlex cable, making our network arsenal ready for anything.”
Storm’s director, Dave Knapp adds, “The ProPlex software and devices are intuitive and very easy to use, as well as powerful, reliable, and bullet-proof. The flexibility offered by the IQ Two and ProPlex Opto-Splitters makes data routing via both hard-switchable and soft-patched universe outputs extremely easy when dealing with corporate events and other rental applications. We have racks going to Prague and currently at a corporate event in Vienna, as well as on the UK theatre tour of Dirty Dancing. Loving the kit and of course, the support from TMB.”
Since 1996, Storm has provided full technical production services including, lighting, rigging, sound, video, and staging throughout the UK and Europe. Serving a wide range of events from small conferences to large arena shows and tours, Storm al
Virtual Reality - Benny Andersson has confirmed to a Swedish newspaper that plans for a virtual reality tour featuring all four members is in the works. He told Expressen: "We see each other every now and then, we've done a few different things, and now we've got a project ahead of us" The tour, featuring digital avatars of Benny, Bjorn lveaus, Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Agnetha Fältskog is planned to kick off in 2019. “It will take a bit of time, it takes time to digitalize a face,” he said, adding: "It's fun that it's so technologically advanced. It will be interesting."
Refurbishment - London’s Aldwych Theatre is undergoing a multimillion-pound refurbishment. The refit is taking place over 15 weeks between the closure of Beautiful – The Carole King Musical and the opening of La Soiree on 24 November. The refurbishment has been funded by a restoration levy of £1.25, which is added onto ticket prices. However, theatre operator Nederlander Theatres declined to confirm the total cost of the project.
It will include the redecoration of the auditorium and the foyer of the West End theatre, as well as the retouching of ornate plasterwork throughout the building. Seating in the auditorium and carpets throughout the building will be entirely replaced, and the toilets will also be redone. The stalls, dress circle and grand circle bars will also be refurbished, and a glass dome above the dress circle is to be entirely replaced. Additionally, a new surround system is being installed.
Steve Hughes, operations director
Pop-Up Shakespeare - City of York Council has given its approval to plans for a pop-up Shakespearean theatre in the city centre. The council’s executive gave its backing to the plans put forward by Lunchbox Theatrical Productions. The plans are for a 12-sided pop-up theatre, which will be Europe’s first full-scale, pop-up replica of a traditional Shakespearean theatre.
If the plans go ahead, the pop-up, which will be modelled on the 16th-century Rose Theatre, will run between May and September next year. The council has negotiated a package with Lunchbox Theatrical Productions that will include educational opportunities, an area to showcase local food and drink, and tickets from £12.50. Under the educational offer, schools in York will be offered material for lessons, discounted tickets and pre-show talks with cast and crew.
No Hope - The company behind a "chaotic" music festival that was pulled on the second day has gone into liquidation while owing almost £890,000 to creditors. Hope & Glory Festival in Liverpool was called off on 6 August amid reports of overcrowding, long delays for artists and acts axed at the last minute. Insolvency firm Butcher Woods said 32 creditors were owed £888,984, including Liverpool City Council. The council said it was "seeking recovery of costs associated with the clean-up operation" for the festival at Liverpool's St Georges Quarter.
Ticket selling websites Eventbrite and Skiddle said they had given full refunds to people with tickets for the cancelled day and a 50% refund for weekend ticket
In Flight Entertainment - German live music promoter Deutsche Entertainment AG has bought out British entertainment producer the Flying Music Group, as it looks to expand into the UK theatre market. Established in 1976, producer and promoter the Flying Music Group is behind theatre productions including Thriller Live and The Kite Runner, both of which are currently running in the West End, and forthcoming musical The Toxic Avenger. DEAG has now acquired a majority shareholding of the company through its British subsidiary Kilimanjaro Holdings.
Through the £5m deal with Flying Music Group, DEAG will expand its activities in the UK, moving into the touring plays and musicals market. A statement from DEAG said its sales in the UK are expected to increase to more than €100m in 2018 following the acquisition of the Flying Music Group. Stuart Galbraith, chief executive of Kilimanjaro Live, said the deal was "another important step in [DEAG's] expansion into West End touring musicals and theatre".
Twins Return - Eighties boy band Bros returned to the stage for the first time in nearly 30 years and thanked fans for supporting their comeback. Twin brothers Matt and Luke Goss performed at a sold-out O2 Arena in London last Saturday. They told fans they hoped their comeback show would be the "first of many concerts".
Bros announced their comeback show in October. It sold out in seven seconds and prompted the band to expand to a full UK tour. However, they cancelled all of their concerts outside of London and Manchester due to "un
UK - ER Productions is an innovative laser specialist providing cutting edge laser products and choreography to some of the most iconic shows internationally.
“We use Le Mark because of their good quality products; not just flight case labels but other items we have ordered. Le Mark's Hannah Tuoy in business development is always speedy with our requests and keeps us updated as to our orders,” said Hannah Williams, production assistant at ER Productions.
The PAL case labels that ER Production bought were used on flight cases, which contain the kit required to make the show a success, and go all over the world to the variety of shows they work on.
“Each case is clearly labelled which aids us not only when packing the kit in the warehouse, but also at the gig for set up & de-rig,” explained Hannah.
Le Mark’s PAL case labels are not restricted by layout, size, colour or shape.
South Africa - Not tip-toeing around what’s wrong and very wrong in the Rainbow Nation, South Africa, Mamba Republic is a rapidly-paced satirical sketch theatre comedy which reunites the talents of Ben Voss (Beauty Ramapelepele) and John van de Ruit (Spud). This brutally amusing production, from its opening at Durban's Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre through to its performances on the Main programme at the National Arts Festival in July, and its current run at The Theatre on the Square in Sandton ending 19th August, has continually had its audiences in stitches.
The Mamba Republic team generously donated R13 000 towards the SOS Charity Fund from ticket sales.
With their blend of sharp wit, hopeless optimism and clever characterization, the duo sank their fangs into the fiascos and foibles of South African life.
“As a theatre show, Mamba Republic is very pleased and proud to be pledging support to SOS,” commented Julia Clarence, from the Mamba Republic team. “We became aware of the charity through conversations with long term colleague and friend Michael Taylor-Broderick. He offered us his superb eye in an advisory capacity and in turn, we decided to pledge some money to the charity as a thank you. Michael's vision has been key to the look and aesthetic of our show, and we are grateful to have had his wisdom on our team. It is not often that theatre show can find such a direct avenue to give back to charity, so we are delighted that this venture was made possible by Michael and DWR Distribution.”
The SOS Charity