Abba Back - Abba have returned to the studio to record their first new music since the 1980s. The Swedish quartet said the new material was an "unexpected consequence" of their recent decision to put together a "virtual reality" tour. "We all four felt that, after some 35 years, it could be fun to join forces again and go into the studio," the band said on Instagram. "And it was like time stood still."
No release date has been set for the new songs - but one of them, titled I Still Have Faith In You, will be performed in December on a TV special broadcast by the BBC and NBC.
Abba's spokesperson Gorel Hanser told the BBC the atmosphere in the studio was "magic". "It was like no time had passed at all," she said. "It was like the olden days. They were happy, it was easy and warm-hearted, and it was actually quite moving. I wasn't the only one with tears in my eyes." But she said said the group would not perform live, other than as holograms in the forthcoming Abba Avatar tour.
Wedding Songs - A Christian gospel choir and a teenage cellist will provide some of the music at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle later this month. "Both Prince Harry and Ms Markle have taken a great interest and care in choosing the music for their service, which will include a number of well-known hymns and choral works," Kensington Palace said in a statement.
Karen Gibson and The Kingdom Choir, a gospel group based in southeast England, will be among those performing. Ms Gibson said they were "truly honoured" to have been picked. "It will be a
USA - Paul Vincent, president of Vincent Lighting Systems, has accepted an invitation to join the Behind the Scenes Foundation board of directors. Paul, who founded VLS in 1978, brings a wealth of industry experience to the Board. He is a past president of ESTA and the recipient of its highest honour, the Eva Swan Award.
Paul has been an ardent supporter of Behind the Scenes since its inception: VLS employees have participated in a company sponsored Behind the Scenes Workplace Giving Campaign for the last 12 years, Paul has generously leant staff member, Kim Craigie, to work the BTS booth at trade shows for many years, and he has frequently donated prizes for BTS raffles and auctions.
Paul comments, "I appreciate the vision of the Behind the Scenes Foundation, and the important support provided to people in our industry who are in need of a helping hand. I accepted this appointment without hesitation because this great work makes a difference in people’s lives.”
Rick Rudolph, chair of the Behind the Scenes Foundation, adds, “When we proposed appointing Paul, the response from board members was incredibly enthusiastic. Paul is articulate, passionate, thoughtful, and extremely well respected in our industry. We are looking forward to working with him and we know he will be tireless in helping us achieve our mission.”
The Behind the Scenes charity provides entertainment technology professionals who are seriously ill or injured with grants that may be used for basic living and medical expenses. For more information about Behind the Scenes
UK - PLASA has been invited as one of six European Associations to attend the upcoming EU Commission meeting to address the proposed updates to the Eco-Design Working Plan 2016-2019 that would require all stage lighting to meet efficiency targets in line with domestic and office lighting. The proposed changes to the Eco-Design lighting regulations would have a commercially devastating effect on the industry should it become legislation in 2020.
“The impact this law would have on the whole entertainment industry is huge: venues, manufacturers, rental companies, and indeed lighting designers would be greatly affected,” says PLASA's MD, Peter Heath. “Video projection has been granted an exemption - this is what we and other trade bodies are now pushing for - the same exemption for stage lighting.”
Adam Bennette of ETC will represent the interest of PLASA members at a meeting in Brussels on 17th May. The meeting will address the EU’s proposed Eco-Design changes and give representatives of affected parties an opportunity to request exemption.
Adam Blaxhill, PLASA’s Chairman and the director of Stage Electrics, comments: “In drafting these new regulations, they have clearly not considered the impact they will have on the entertainment industry. Venues, rental companies, and sales operations all have significant sums invested in lighting inventory, which will be devalued by these proposed regulations - the financial impact on the entertainment industry is potentially huge.’’
All sectors of the entertainment industry are urg
Rolling On - Liam Gallagher, Richard Ashcroft and Florence & The Machine are among the major support acts to be announced for The Rolling Stones’ UK tour this summer. The rock icons will head out on an eight-date stadium tour across May and June, playing venues such as the London Stadium, Manchester’s Old Trafford stadium, and Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium.
It’s now been confirmed that they’re bringing along some heavyweight company for the ride, with former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher warming up for the Stones before their first date of the tour on 22 May at the London Stadium.
The Stones’ latest tour comes after a lack of available venues meant that the UK was left off their European tour in 2017 - leading to considerable demand for the latest shows. Despite having a collective age of 254 years, it seems that the elder statesmen of rock aren’t planning on retiring anytime soon, either. “I haven’t really thought about this set of gigs being our last tour, to be honest,” Jagger stated recently.
Lifetime Achievement - Andrew Lloyd Webber is to receive a lifetime achievement award for his work in theatre at this year’s Tony Awards in New York. Lloyd Webber said he was “completely overwhelmed as a Brit to be honoured by the Broadway community”, adding that musicals are “flying higher in their spiritual home New York than they have for two generations”.
Lloyd Webber has previously spoken about the success of US musicals compared with those in the UK, telling the BBC’s programme that the UK is falling
UK - Cloud based rental management software providers Current RMS and Cambridge-based lighting and production rental house CEG are reflecting on a four-year history this week. In this time, the CEG team has certainly put Current’s software through its paces, all in pursuit of their mission to make the process of renting gear as painless as possible for the customer.
CEG has been renting their professional lighting and production kit to customers and clients across the UK and Europe since 2008. Like most rental providers with an impressive repertoire of the latest industry tech, when you’ve got a lot of kit to manage and jobs on the go, you need robust software that’s up to the challenge. With a drive to improve the efficiency of their workflow, the team started looking for new ways to manage their rental processes in 2014, joining the Current RMS Early Adopter Programme.
“We were becoming frustrated with the PC based solutions available to us. But once we'd started using Current within our business for an hour or so, it was a no-brainer to stick with it," said Ben Bowles, director at CEG.
The CEG team began using Current to its fullest capabilities from the get-go, appealing to their flexible way of working in the fast-paced AV and lighting industry. Often key details of products and orders need to be viewed there and then on a job, even when the team is away from the office. Here, Current’s cloud-based functionality has really helped them out.
“The cloud gives us complete control of our hire stock, regardless of location or wo
UK - Details for the funeral of late sound engineer Barry Bartlett have been released.
The funeral service for Bartlett, who died peacefully on 30 March, will be held at 11.20am on Monday, 23 April at Mortlake Crematorium, Kew Meadow Path, Richmond TW9 4EN. The family also invites Bartlett’s friends, colleagues and associates to join them for a reception after the service at 12:00pm at Putney Town Rowing Club.
Parking will be available at either location while nearest stations are Mortlake and Underground or Overground Kew Gardens (both a 15-minute walk). The family has asked for family flowers only while donations can be made to Woking & Sam Beare Hospice - www.wsbhospices.co.uk/support-us/remembrance/in-memory-donations/
Those wishing to attend the service are asked to RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. To celebrate Barry’s life, the family encourages people to send their pictures of him to email@example.com or bring them along on the day.
European Theatre - Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) will acquire five new venues in Germany as it confirms a takeover of theatre operator Mehr! Entertainment. The deal, agreed for an undisclosed amount, brings the company’s global portfolio of venues to 51 and ATG’s first major international purchase since the 2016 management change and the stepping down of co-founders and joint chief executives Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire.
ATG’s purchase of Mehr! Entertainment means it will operate the Starlight Express Theatre in Bochum, the purpose-built venue which has been home to the long-running musical since 1988. It will also take over the Mehr! Theatre in Hamburg, the Admiralspalast in Berlin, the Capitol Theatre in Dusseldorf and the Musical Dome in Cologne. ATG chief executive Mark Cornell said: “These major venues across Germany are each unique and captivating in their individual style and offer exciting opportunities to expand our services and reach new audiences.”
The News Bulletin - Singer Huey Lewis has cancelled his band's future shows after losing most of his hearing. The 67-year-old US star said he felt "horrible" and apologised to fans as he revealed that doctors believe he has an inner ear condition called Meniere's disease. His group, Huey Lewis And The News, have axed all of their performances planned for 2018, but the frontman insisted he hopes to perform again "one day soon".
Lewis tweeted: "Two and a half months ago, just before a show in Dallas, I lost most of my hearing. Although I can still hear a little, one on on
UK - Eat to the Beat has recently returned from a tour with comedian John Bishop. Following the success of his Winging It show, he was back on the road throughout the first quarter of 2018 with an additional 26 shows.
Venues along the way included Birmingham's Genting Arena, the BIC in Bournemouth, Bristol Hippodrome, the London Palladium, Southend's Cliff Pavilion. The tour drew to a close with a homecoming show at the Liverpool Arena on 30 March.
The team at Eat to the Beat provided crew and artist catering for the tour.
In a bid to improve the impact on the environment, the tour provided all the crew with a refillable water bottle rather than offering individual plastic water bottles in catering. This was an initiative and fitted in with Eat to the Beat's own ethos of trying to reduce their plastic usage wherever they can.
A spokesperson for the tour said: "As always the team at Eat to the Beat provided us with fantastic catering for the recent Winging It tour and we had fantastic feedback from everyone on the team. The refillable water bottles proved to be a great success with everyone on the tour getting involved and using them."
Oliviers Oversight - Organisers of Sunday's Olivier Awards have apologised for omitting director Sir Peter Hall from a tribute segment shown during the ceremony. "We are hugely sorry for the oversight of leaving Sir Peter Hall out of our In Memoriam," said the Society of London Theatre (SOLT) in a statement. The founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company and former National Theatre director died in September, aged 86.
The failure to mark his death prompted dismay and disbelief on social media. Olivier-winning choreographer Sir Matthew Bourne said the omission was "unforgivable", while actor Christopher Biggins called it "disgraceful". The In Memoriam segment came midway through the ceremony, held at the Royal Albert Hall in London and subsequently broadcast on ITV.
In a statement on Monday, SOLT described Sir Peter as "a wonderful and inspiring figure within the UK theatre industry" who was "sorely missed". The society added that it had arranged for theatre lights in London's West End to be dimmed when he passed away last year.
Hip Hop Heroes - Hip hop musical Hamilton took home seven trophies at the Olivier Awards in London, falling just short of a new record. The main awards claimed by Lin-Manuel Miranda and his cast were best new musical, best actor, best supporting actor and outstanding achievement in music.
The seven wins did not beat Harry Potter And The Cursed Child's record haul of nine trophies last year, but was on par with the most awarded musical to date - Matilda. The show, which turns an early cha
USA - As part of a worldwide rollout that began with the English release in September 2017, global design and BIM software developer Vectorworks, Inc. has announced the release of the Chinese version of its Vectorworks 2018 software line, which includes Vectorworks Architect, Landmark, Spotlight, Designer and Fundamentals, as well as BraceworksTM, a structural load analysis add-on module. The Chinese language version is the final installment to join other languages, including Dutch, French, German, Japanese, Polish, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese and Spanish.
“Year after year, Vectorworks makes strides to continue as a superior, global design tool, and this year is no different,” said Cecil Fung, managing director of Mad Macs Technology Distributions, Ltd., the Vectorworks distributor in China. “Chinese designers choose Vectorworks because it offers dual platform capability, 2D tool flexibility and a variety of tools for the landscape and entertainment industries, such as plant tags, truss tools, reporting functions, stage analysis and more. They can look forward to the even more robust and efficient workflows with Vectorworks 2018.”
To showcase the new features of Vectorworks 2018, Mad Macs Technology Distributions will host a series of free events this spring across China.
Creative Funding - A package worth more than £150m to help the creative industries thrive has been unveiled by the government.
The creative industries sector deal includes a new fund, worth £20m, that towns and cities will be able to bid for a share of. The money will be used to invest in creative and cultural activities and has been set aside following the success of Hull’s turn as City of Culture in 2017, which saw almost £220m invested in tourism and culture, and nearly 800 jobs created.
The government has also pledged £33m towards “immersive technologies”, such as interactive art shows and “augmented reality experiences in tourism”.
In addition, £2mwill be provided to support a “sustainable talent pipeline”, with a package to ensure “there is a larger and more diverse intake of talent and a broader range of routes into the creative industries”. As part of this, a careers programme will be launched that aims to reach at least 2,000 schools and 600,000 pupils over two years.
Culture secretary Matt Hancock described Britain’s creative industries as “an economic and cultural powerhouse”. He added: “Our creative industries will help develop the talent of the future, ensure people are rightly rewarded for their creative content and give our firms the support they need to compete on the global stage. Millions of people around the world enjoy our world-class artistic and cultural output and we want the UK to stay a frontrunner in these vibrant sectors.”
Cost-Cutting - Staff at Rose Bruford Co
USA - InCord made their second donation to Behind the Scenes on 16 March during the recent USITT Stage Expo reflecting a percentage of profits from sales of their Theatrical Safety Netting Systems.
The Behind the Scenes is a charity that provides entertainment technology professionals who are seriously ill or injured with grants that may be used for basic living and medical expenses.
Joe Menhart, InCord’s theatrical sales manager, presented the cheque. He comments: “All of us at InCord take pleasure in supporting such a worthy charity as Behind the Scenes. Both InCord and Behind the Scenes are dedicated to the well-being and safety of personnel. I can’t imagine a better pairing and this contribution gives much greater meaning to our Theatrical Safety nets.”
Rick Rudolph, the chair of Behind the Scenes, accepted the cheque along with other BTS Board members. He adds: “We are delighted InCord has chosen to continue supporting the charity through our Pledge-a-Product program. The fact that it is a product designed to increase safety in our industry is a particularly wonderful fit with our mission.”
UK - Peterborough-based touring and event power company Pearce Hire recently hosted a workshop on generator safety measures.
Organised by James Eade, with Patrick McGinley from the HSE, the event was set up for a group of Health and Safety Executive (HSE) electrical inspectors with the aim to shed light on the application of generator safety measures, especially in relation to earthing requirements, and to discuss safety concepts proposed by Eade for new IET guidance on the subject.
Eade comments: “The current guidance on generator earthing in particular has not seen many changes for years. The advent of modern technologies such as inverter generators coupled with the widespread availability of residual current devices for protection is driving a need to revise current practices.”
Current British standards and associated guidance categorises generators broadly as either under or over 15 kVA rating, with differing requirements accordingly. In practice that is seldom the case with modern sets all differing in earthing needs. The events and entertainment industry is probably the largest industry sector using generator-supplied temporary power systems and so changes to standards and guidance can have a significant impact.
Shaun Pearce, managing director Pearce Hire, adds: “It was a very thought-provoking day. It was an ideal opportunity for us to influence the decisions that will not only have a big impact on our company, but more importantly, our industry.”
“We were exceptionally fortunate to have the opportunity to discuss what
UK - Monacor UK, the UK subsidiary of German company Monacor International, has announced an exclusive distribution partnership with RocknRoller to supply the UK and Irish markets.
The new deal will see Monacor UK stock and distribute a wide selection of RocknRoller Carts and accessories, as well as providing after service support through their own UK service centre.
Vice president of sales for RocknRoller, Dave Andrus said, “We are delighted to welcome Monacor UK as a partner for these key territories. Monacor UK is a long-established company and offers us their exceptional local sales and marketing expertise as well as a stable logistical solution for RocknRoller products.”
Neil Clayton, managing director for Monacor UK added, “We have long been aware of the RocknRoller brand and their excellent product portfolio, and see them as a perfect fit alongside our own brands, IMG Stageline and Monacor, as well as German DJ & pro Audio which we also distribute here in the UK and Ireland.”
In support of the new distribution arrangement, Monacor UK has launched a dedicated RocknRoller UK website. The site (rocknrollercarts.co.uk) is already live and Monacor UK is taking requests from dealers wishing to become an official rer-seller.
Mayoral Warning - London mayor Sadiq Khan has warned the capital risks becoming a “dormitory” city unless more is done to protect cultural buildings from housing developers. Khan said once arts venues close, they are “gone forever”, and the rate at which London is losing live music spaces should be a “concern for all of us”.
Speaking at the launch of his cultural strategy at Battersea Arts Centre, Khan said: “Once these things are gone – arts centres, live music venues, they’re gone forever, they’re not going to come back. But we’re also making sure the new generation of developments think about having theatres, community spaces, pubs, because what we don’t want is a dormitory city. So it’s keeping what we have, but also making sure that new developments have this recognition that a good community has good places to live, work and play.”
He added: “From 2008 to 2016, roughly speaking, half of the live music venues in London closed down, that should be a source for concern for all of us.”
Creative Statistics - Jobs in the creative industries are set to grow twice as fast as the UK average by 2024, new research has claimed. Creative industries employment is predicted to increase by 5.3% over the next six years, double that of the average rate of employment, which will rise by 2.5%.
This is according to new statistics published by the Creative Industries Federation and development agency Nesta, which predict the levels of employment for young people starting secondary school this year and graduating in 2024
UK - The first Comfest, a comedy night in support of technical entertainment charity Backup, helped raise £14,000 for the organisation.
Held at the Royal National Theatre, London, the event was described as “a fantastic night where all the comedians went above and beyond to say thank you to the industry that supports them”. A particular highlight of the night was headliner Al Murray, the Pub Landlord, performing Under Pressure with a member of the audience.
Organisers said Comfest 2019 is already on the cards and thanked all the staff at the National Theatre, sponsors SFL, White Light and TSL, all of the audience members, The Cloggz and the comedians.
Upcoming backup events include Golf-fest 2018 which is scheduled for 18 April. The annual live events Charity Golf Day is back and even more fun to be had on the day. As 18 teams go Tee - Tee, we have surprises galore to keep you on your toes throughout the day.
DiGiCo have now come on board and are sponsoring the 'hole in one' competition on the 3rd. The winner receives a brand new DiGiCo console. A new challenge will be 'Fastest Hole of golf by a team of four'.
Kart-Fest 2018 is set for 5 July at Sandown Park. Tickets are on sale, with just 30 team spaces available.
Creative Technology and White Light have entered teams for this year’s Velo south. Taking place on Sunday 23 September 2018, Velo South will take 15,000 riders of all ability levels on a truly unforgettable journey through the stunning West Sussex countryside, starting and finishing on the iconic Goodwood
Europe - Evago Group has become the world's exclusive rental partner for all Terraplas turf protection products since taking over the American rentals branch for Terraplas USA in March.
German event supply and industrial services company Evago Group (Evago) and the Anglo-American Checkers Safety Group, who purchased Terraplas in 2015, have agreed a long-term partnership for Terraplas rentals internationally. Having acquired Mojo Barriers in 2017, Evago then bought the UK Terraplas rental business, and immediately fulfilled demand for the specialist stadium pitch protection for concerts. This new deal will see the Terraplas range be available throughout the Evago Group and Mojo’s global network.
Goran Marincic, CEO, Evago AG states: “Terraplas products are unique in the market and complement our existing product portfolio perfectly. They have become highly trusted to protect valuable stadium turf and sport pitches from heavy vehicles to pedestrians. With this acquisition we significantly strengthen our position in global events, adding significant synergy with our existing brands and companies. Our goal now is to very quickly increase the rental stock of pitch protection with additional new material in order to be able to respond immediately to customer requirements."
Robert Else, chairman of Terraplas comments: “In our partnership with the Evago Group, we are pleased to further consolidate and expand the market leadership of the Terraplas brand worldwide.”
Summer Sounds - Fairport's Cropredy Convention music festival has confirmed that Brian Wilson will perform the Beach Boys album Pet Sounds at Cropredy on Thursday 9 August 2018. Acclaimed for its ambition and sophistication, Pet Sounds is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential albums of all time. Released in 1966, Wilson's masterpiece is number 2 in the Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list, only beaten to the top spot by The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper. The festival will be held over three days (Thursday 9, Friday 10 and Saturday 11 August 2018) at Cropredy near Banbury, Oxfordshire.
Money Matters - Regional theatre workers have voted to accept pay increases ranging from 3% to 4.7%. The agreement will see a 4.7% increase for workers covered in grades four and five of UK Theatre’s agreement with union BECTU – bringing pay in line with the national minimum wage, which increases in April from £7.50 to £7.83 an hour.
Workers in grades one, two and three will see a 3% increase, meaning their hourly wage will increase by up to 25p, while there will also be a 3% increase for meal expenses, allowances for touring and call out rates. BECTU members voted 90% in favour of the pay offer, which will come into effect from 2 April.
Talks are continuing to update the union’s agreement with UK Theatre, which involves plans for a new pay and grading structure, drawing on information from a pay survey that was launched in December 2017.
Refurbishment - London’s Lyric Hammersmith has announce
UK - We all know how tough it can be as a freelance in the entertainment technology industry. The hours are long, you’re away from your family and you only earn money when you’re working. What happens if you can’t work because you’re ill, you have an accident, or someone in your family needs your help and support? You probably do not have a stash of cash put away to see you through. What then?
That’s where Backup – The Technical Entertainment Charity can help and that’s why it is putting on Comfest – an evening of outstanding comedy with the legend that is Al Murray The Pub Landlord and a great supporting line-up at The Dorfman Theatre on 25 March 2018.
In case you don’t know, Backup provides financial support to industry technical professionals working in live events, theatre, TV and film. It offers support and help to get you back on your feet.
Grants are tailored to an individual’s needs and can include essential living costs, medical related expenses, advice, re-training and travel.
Backup works with potential recipients to fully understand the support needed and ensure that help is targeted effectively and will stay in contact with recipients and provide ongoing support.
Backup grants have brought help and hope to industry members and their families during some of their darkest hours.
Help backup to continue to help your friends and colleagues by coming to Comfest. Tickets are available from https://www.backuptech.uk/event/comfest-2018/
Creative Funding - Arts Council England has launched a £14.4m fund for research and development projects. The money will be made available to individual artists and practitioners, “without the immediate pressure of showing their work publicly”. Recipients of the Developing Your Creative Practice fund will be able to use the grants – of between £2,000 and £10,000 each – to support periods of research, develop new ideas, international work and training, networking or mentoring.
Arts Council chair Nicholas Serota comments: “Every creative person needs time to breathe, to broaden their experience and to develop their ideas. We want all our arts organisations to continue to commission and present new work from a diverse range of artists but we also need to invest in the future. This fund will give creative talent of different ages from different backgrounds the time and the backing that they need to hone their work and explore new paths.” The fund has been allocated £3.6 million to be given annually for four years. Applications for the first year of funding will open on 12 April.
Fever Pitch - A new tour of the musical Saturday Night Fever billed as a “big new music and dance spectacular” will open this year. Produced by Bill Kenwright, the musical promises to pay homage to the movie, but with “more drama, more music and hot new choreography”. Cast and creatives for the production have not yet been announced. The tour begins at the New Wimbledon Theatre on 30 August, and will visit venues in places including Liverpo
UK - Midas’ generators beat the Beast from the East to power London Marathon Events’ Vitality Big Festival in Greenwich Park on 4 March (Sunday), across the finish line from the inaugural Big Half, which Mo Farah won in 61’ 40’’.
11,000 amateur runners, many from host boroughs Tower Hamlets, Southwark, Lewisham and Greenwich, followed the elite athletes’ race along the 13.1-mile route from Tower Bridge, the majority joining friends, family and supporters at the festival afterwards.
Event management specialist Relevent commissioned six Midas sets for the contract, providing for stage production, the sponsors’ area, including a New Balance shop and a fitness centre, a run of street stalls and the production village.
James Hodgson, director at Relevent, comments: “We have worked with Midas for a good many years. It’s an independent company that I’m absolutely confident about. The machines are very good, and reliable, and the Midas team is friendly and ready to dig in and help as required.”
The Big Festival build had to deal with about three inches of snow, sweeping the site to find the Royal Parks’ pre-requisite trackway for plant and vehicles.
Hugh Brasher, the event director, who completed the run himself, said: “When we launched the Vitality Big Half, we set ourselves a target of making it the first mass participation event that truly reflects London’s unique diversity while also bringing together the best athletes in the world. We said we wanted an event that was truly global and uniquely local and we ach
UK - Broadcast and event lighting specialists Version 2 has continued its investment into its power distribution equipment offerings. The company offers state-of-the-art monitoring utilising its propriety SMARTdistro technology.
The company once again turned to its manufacturing partners SES Entertainment Services who have built the companies entire distribution inventory since its inception. The design process was led by Sam Crook, Version 2’s technical director who collaborated with SES managing director Mark Cooper on the specification of the latest units.
SES’s Mark Cooper comments: “SES love working with companies like Version 2; they come to us with a clear outline of what they want both technically and physically, but still allow us to build their units to meet our exacting standards.”
Sam Crook of Version 2 concludes: ‘’This significant investment was driven by high customer demand and positive feedback. The new distribution units sit well alongside our exciting stock and now offer a complete end to end solution, helping customers provide safe electrical systems in line with BS7909.”
The company has simultaneously added rentable Earthing Kits to their inventory. The kits enable the rapid deployment of protective bonding for studio and location systems.
Elf on Tour - An arena version of the West End musical Elf will tour the UK this Christmas, it has been announced. The musical, which is based on the Will Ferrell film of the same name, will feature Martine McCutcheon and David Essex, and Tam Ryan in the lead role of Buddy. The company also includes Louise English and a cast of more than 70 performers.
The show previously ran in the West End in 2015 as well as on tour in 2017. It was also filmed and shown on Channel 5 over Christmas. The tour will visit Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena from 14-16 December, before visiting the Genting Arena in Birmingham from 20-24 December and Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena from 28-30 December.
The original staging will be upscaled to include giant screens showing computer graphic backdrops and live action close-ups. It will be presented on a 70ft stage with scenes taking place around and above the audience.
Olivier Awards - Catherine Tate has been announced as the host of this year’s Olivier Awards. The actor and comedian will present the awards ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 8 April.
Tate said she was delighted to be hosting the Oliviers, which are in their 42nd year, adding: “Theatre has always been a big love of mine both as a performer and as an audience member. For me it’s the shared experience that can’t be beaten. There is so much to celebrate within the UK theatre scene and it’s my pleasure to be involved in this exciting and inspiring event.”
This year will also see the premiere of a new four-part series a
UK - Theatre design associations and trade unions have formed a working group to address workplace issues affecting professional lighting designers.
The Society of British Theatre Designers (SBTD) and the Association of Lighting Designers (ALD) have for the first time joined forces with Equity and BECTU to “evaluate and unpack the complex nature of current working terms and conditions for designers” and address fair pay, career paths, workplace abuse, harassment and bullying.
The aim is to “work towards fair, clear and robust models of engagement”, increase diversity and ensure transparent career paths and address concerns about fees and contracts “within the wider context of fear, bullying and harassment that we are now beginning to evidence has been endemic across the whole of our industry”.
In a joint statement, the organisations say: “If a profession is perceived as one in which its members are afraid to speak out for fear of not being engaged to work again, then acting together now to do something about that is vital, both for those struggling to sustain a career as a designer now at every level of the profession, and for the diverse and resilient workforce of the future that we aspire to enable.”
Ian Saunders, executive director of the ALD, comments: “For a number of years, the ALD and its members have been concerned that the Equity minimum fees for lighting designers do not reflect the modern-day role of the lighting designer in the UK theatre production process.
“The current agreements are still predicated on