The recently-established Crystal Leisure is all set to launch its first major project. The company will unveil plans for a new multi-million pound superclub within the next few months. Summit, as the club will be known, will hold approximately 1500 clubbers and will be situated on Nene Parade in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire. The company is currently working with leading sound, lighting and design companies to create the look and feel of the club.
Cause & Effect, the organisers of the 2001 Birmingham Fringe theatre festival, are looking for companies within our industry to collaborate on a range of projects during the 2001 festival.
The idea is to demonstrate the contribution made by our industry to technical theatre. Project director Derrick G Knight told L&SI: "My motivation is to enhance Birmingham as a host city for performing arts. This will be achieved through the development of a network of performance venues in partnership with the performers, venue owners and production companies associated with performing arts."
The initial idea is to include a sound and lighting exhibition alongside the festival, which takes place in July and August, and Derrick Knight is exploring the availability of no-cost exhibition space at a number of venues near the performance spaces. If you are interested in participating call +44 (0)121 622 1771.
Gobo specialist DHA Lighting organised a gobo design competition for members of the ALD at its Waterloo base recently.
The winner, Robin Carter (pictured with DHA MD Diane Grant), is a freelance lighting designer based in Brighton, East Sussex, and his winning design, called ‘Smoke Screen’ (inset) was one he created for a production of The Glass Menagerie at The Northcott Theatre, Exeter. Carter, who began his lighting career in New Zealand where he grew up, came to the UK four years ago, and has been designing for regional theatre productions ever since.
The winning design will now be published in the DHA gobo catalogue, and instead of receiving royalties for his design, Carter has opted to donate these to the Light Relief fund, set up last year to provide help and assistance to freelance lighting designers in times of personal crisis.
The Saint Lambert Cathedral was destroyed during the French Revolution 200 years ago, but in its day was one of the biggest Gothic buildings of its kind in the world, even bigger than Notre Dame in Paris. The city of Liège decided to honor its lost treasure by creating a replica of the church’s ‘heart’. This small piece of what was once an enormous construction is situated in exactly the same location as it was centuries ago. The temporary construction is 30 metres wide, 20 metres deep and 42 metres high. Belgian company Sonoflash was given the task of lighting the cathedral and worked with EVDV (Martin’s Belgian distributor) to spec 10 Martin Exterior 600s with control coming from the Martin ProScenium.
A cutting-edge club sound and lighting system have been detailed and installed by Marquee Audio into the new 2,300-capacity concert and dance venue, The Academy, in Birmingham. Opened in Dale End by the McKenzie Group - owners of the Brixton Academy and Shepherds Bush Empire - some £600,000 has been spent on converting the former Rank-owned Hummingbird, which had been closed for six years before being sold to the London-based entertainment company, into a premier mid-sized concert venues. The brief was to deliver a quality club system into both the major auditorium and 400-capacity auxiliary room. As a result, Marquee spec’d a computer-controlled Turbosound sound system, driven by a combination of 15 MC2 MC-1259 and three MC-750 amplifiers, and digitally distributed through a pair of BSS 9088LL audio matrix devices, with a Soundweb 9010 ‘Jellyfish’ remote providing local access.
As for lighting, Marquee supplied eight Optikinetics Solar 250 projectors, four Deathstar strobes, four Martin MAC 500, eight Martin Destroyer X250 multi-rotating beam effects, 12 Martin PRO 918s and two MAC 250s on the rig - working with a four-head Martin Techno Haze smoke machine - all run from an Avolites Azure 2000 desk. In the secondary room a further four Opti Solar 250s, eight Martin Destroyer X250s and four Martin MX4 intelligent light projectors form the rig, controlled from from a Light Processor QCommander.
Following the re-structuring of the AETTI (Arts & Entertainment Technical Training Initiative) on January 31st 2001, Matthew Griffiths, managing director of PLASA, has been elected as AETTI chairman for 2001. He joins Joe Aveline (secretary) and Henrietta Branwell (treasurer) on the AETTI’s panel of officers. The AETTI was first formed in 1987 at a fringe meeting of ABTT North, and has existed since as an informal body led by a steering committee. The AETTI last year helped to develop the first BTEC qualifications for stage technicians, in association with Loughborough College and with the assistance of funding from the European Social Fund. On 31st January this year, the existing steering committee of the AETTI wound itself up, and a new constitution was adopted. As part of the restructuring, Matthew Griffiths, Joe Aveline and Henrietta Branwell were chosen as the organisation’s new officers.
Furthermore, the newly-restructured body has signed a formal agreement with Loughborough College for a three-year continuation of the development and delivery of BTEC qualifications, subject to annual reviews. In addition, the possibility of running a theatre technician foundation course during the PLASA Show in September 2001 is currently being investigated by the organisation. In order to publicise the new developments within the organisation, and to provide the opportunity for discussion on training issues with the theatre industry and the BTEC Award scheme, the AETTI will be exhibiting at the forthcoming ABTT Theatre Show in London (4-5 April 2001).
TiLE will be the official European Show of The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). TiLE is aimed at those who have an interest in the future of location-based leisure attractions, whilst TEA is an international alliance of the world's most talented and experienced professionals in the themed attractions industry. The decision coincides perfectly with the 10th anniversaries of both TiLE and TEA and recognises the close relationship that has built up between the two; the European Chapter of TEA (now TEA Europe) was launched at TiLE 1998 in Strasbourg, France, and has become one of the fastest growing chapters of TEA.
Following the announcement of the new administration and management set-up of the PSA, a substantial package of new benefits for members has been unveiled. A new membership pack has been produced which includes a personal membership identity card, pre-paid subscriptions to appropriate magazines, training information and course dates, training booking forms, a diary section, book list and contacts, plus a new, truly interactive web site which is updated daily. Birmingham-based Business Media Services Ltd (BMS) recently took over the role of administrative and membership operations of the PSA office. Bob Fox, the head of BSM, told PLASA Media: "It is our aim to ensure that members of the PSA get the maximum possible from their association with us. We have put together this new package to increase the benefits that membership brings."
Every now and again one stumbles across a fact that truly surprises. New York-based company City Theatrical, which has seeped into the British theatrical conscience over the last five years or so with its award-winning range of accessories, dry ice machines and, latterly, the AutoYoke moving light, is actually 15 years old.
Company founder Gary Fails manages to hide his surprise at my surprise, then fills in more historical details. "I started the company while I was working as a Broadway electrician - for the Circle in the Square Theatre. I felt that it would be good to have a back-up plan, to have a company as a base. LDs and rental shops often needed special, one-off items made for shows - so I became the person who made them!"
It is typical of Fails’ self-effacing modesty that he underplays the work involved in getting started. Without any background in engineering or metalworking machinery, Fails taught himself about the equipment he’d need, then went out and bought it - the presses, the folding machines: these very machines still form the heart of City Theatrical’s operations today. He also found premises for the company in a building in the South Bronx, far enough from the glitz of Manhattan to be affordable, close enough for him to keep in touch and deliver goods quickly. And, in fact, to continue working in both places. "For the first 10 years or so I had a double life, working here during the day and working on the shows at night."
Eventually, he realised that he couldn’t continue to do that. "The real aim of
Soon to be released from The Effects Company is an advanced system of air-launched effects - the CO2 Cannon, which will be available in single or multibarrel versions. Previous methods for time-consuming hand loading are now eliminated as this system uses factory pre-loaded cartridges, available in two sizes/loadings with a choice of effects such as E-Fetti, Glitter, Streamers, Star, Hearts, Flash Discs, Metallic Streamers, Ultra Violet E-Fetti and even condoms! Available at the end of March, the CO2 Cannon system will have its world launch at the Frankfurt MusikMesse in early March.
Following ever increasing attendances over its four year history, the dates for John Hornby Skewes’ Event 2001 have been confirmed as June 17-19. One major new feature of Event 2001, which takes place at JHS’s premises in Garforth, Leeds, will be the provision of a dedicated pro audio demo theatre on-site. This will feature the HK Audio range of pro audio, including the HX active systems, LUCAS, ELIAS and ACTOR, and the most recent addition to the range, the powerful 3.6kW PROJECTOR. Other pro audio products on show include The Scanner radio system, the Get Yourself Connected series of cabling, JHS pro audio components and Kustom PA systems and cabinets.
Mondiale Publishing has bought Total Production magazine from Pulse Publications. The title will now be added to Mondiale’s portfolio of magazines serving the entertainment industry which include Night, Mondo, Theme and Sleeper. TP’s editor Mark Cunningham and sales and marketing director Andy Lenthall will remain with the magazine. Pulse Publications, meanwhile, has announced its intention to continue publication of TP’s sister title Corporate Event Design.
Macclesfield-based Federal Signal has won a major contract to provide state-of-the-art VA equipment for the new multi-million pound Belfast City Airport development. The company will be supplying its broadcast VA system Verifire to Oxford-based systems integrators and project contractors Installation Technologies who will integrate it with hard disc-based background music equipment to provide an advanced multi-featured VA and audio communications system. The contract also involves Federal Signal specifying speakers for the column, corridor and ceiling mounting.
Andrew Williams has been appointed NXT's new group marketing director, reporting to CEO David Pearson. His prime responsibility will be co-ordinating the global marketing strategy of NXT's SurfaceSound, SoundVu, TouchSound and 20/20 Speech technologies. He replaces Jon Vizor, who will now concentrate full time on his business development role as head of venture sales and also leading the commercial audio sales teams. Williams joins NXT from iXL, the internet and business consultancy based in San Francisco. Prior to iXL, he was director of marketing at Chiltern Group plc, the London-based financial and business consultancy.
Weston Super Mare’s Grand Pier will be reopening in 2001 with a brand new Bose sound system to improve the quality of public address announcements along the pier. Bose field engineers undertook a series of audio tests and measurements to establish the best solution for the pier’s acoustic problems. They came up with a series of Bose 402 full range speakers positioned throughout the amusement arcade on the pier and angled directly towards the listeners so that sound reaches them without distortion or reverberation. On the exterior walkway, Bose 151 environmental speakers have been specified which are designed to be weather resistant for outdoor use.
According to new research just published, half of all the companies in the sound equipment industry increased their level of debt last year, suggesting that companies are more confident than before. The findings come from the latest Plimsoll Portfolio Analysis.
The research on 230 companies, who range from loudspeaker manufacturers through audio consultants to distributors and contractors, also revealed that most companies are using their debt in their day-to-day business. 86% of those surveyed had some form of debt last year. Only 17 showed no debt at all. Adding debt takes confidence, not only in the future ability of the company to pay the debt back, but also to generate extra profits to justify the risk.Why would almost 50% of the industry add debt last year? Two key reasons seem to be increasing their formal lending. 1) Companies are financing losses in a bold attempt to keep afloat and stay in the marketplace. For 25 companies borrowing money is a means of staying in business. In fact, these are located and named in the analysis as having taken on more debt last year whilst funding losses.
2) Companies are investing to become more competitive, believing that extra investment in assets will ultimately deliver more profit. Only 25 out of 62 companies or 40% of those adding extra debts increased profits last year.
Obviously too much debt is a bad thing, yet it needn’t be. The research suggests that a typical sound equipment company finances on average 30% of their assets. This statistic, however, hides the reality that almost 28% of companies have a debt leve
On 1st February 2001, PLASA went online with its brand new website at www.plasa.org. The new site is the latest development in the six-year history of PLASA’s online presence, and continues the organisation’s aim to provide the premier online resource for the entertainment, presentation and event technology industry worldwide.
The new site further develops the extensive and freely-available information resources offered to the industry by PLASA. Now available are fully-searchable databases allowing fast, easy and flexible access to the full listing of 450+ PLASA members; 1,500 industry news items in the online news archive; a comprehensive calendar of industry events, and over 100 titles in PLASA’s Technical Book Service.
PLASA’s Managing Director Matthew Griffiths comments: "Aside from the great new look of the site, I’m especially pleased with the new keyword-search facilities. We provide the opportunity - for free, and within a matter of seconds - to find every news item that a particular company has appeared in on the PLASA News website over the past 18 months. The same applies for searching the membership database for companies, products and services, or for finding details of worldwide industry events. This is what the industry has been demanding from a website like ours, and we’re pleased to be offering such a truly beneficial service."
In addition to providing a valuable resource to the global industry, the new site has been designed to represent all the diverse aspects of PLASA as an organisation - including the A
Britain’s first free database of business grants has gone on-line - with the aim of putting the country’s businesses in touch with more than £100 million going begging because of lack of awareness and red tape.
The cash is part of a potential annual multi-million pound grants’ pot, designed to help Britain’s 3.7 million companies flourish. But many businesses which could benefit from the money simply don’t know they can claim it, or are put off by the confusion, complexity and time involved in finding out what is available.
The new website offers a free grant search service that gives results in seconds. Sophisticated technology means a search takes just seconds to complete and searchers can link immediately through to grants providers with applications.
The site contains information on around 5,000 capital (‘hard cash’) grants. These range from Regional Selective Assistance grants, which can run to several million pounds, to small, localised grants. Once searchers have found a grant for which they would like to apply, the website directs them to their most convenient grant administrator. Registered users of the site will also be entitled to receive a free grants alert service giving tailored updates on new developments.
The venue for the Professional Lighting and Sound Association’s 2001 AGM and Industry Dinner has been confirmed as Coombe Abbey, near Birmingham. This beautiful 12th century Cistercian Abbey, set in 500 acres of parkland, is now a stunning hotel and conference venue which promises to provide ‘no ordinary experience’.
The AGM and Industry Dinner will both take place on Thursday 14th June - allowing members to attend both events without taking two days out of the office - and offer the ideal opportunity to discover more about the Association and to meet with other members. Details of the guest speaker for the dinner will be revealed nearer the time.
This will be the fifth annual Industry Dinner, and the evening has always proved highly popular in the past, with guest speakers including Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Richard Noble and Frances Edmonds. We would like to urge all PLASA members to take an active role in the affairs of the Association by attending the AGM and the Industry Dinner.
February’s complete website re-design ushers in a new phase of PLASA’s online development.
At the start of February 2001, PLASA’s brand new website went online at www.plasa.org. The new site, developed over the past three months, represents the latest phase of PLASA’s online presence and continues the organisation’s aim to provide the premier online resource for the entertainment, presentation, event and installation technology industry worldwide.
The new site has been re-designed and re-built from the ground up, taking into account the changing face of PLASA as a diverse organisation, encompassing the trade association, the leading trade show, a successful publishing division, a busy technical standards office, and a wealth of industry-related information resources.
The greater part of the site remains committed to providing useful information, free of charge, to the industry as a whole - including full and comprehensive details of PLASA members, all the latest industry news, information on a wide range of industry events, forthcoming events and industry-related training courses. What’s more, the new site has taken the provision of these resources a step further with the addition of custom-programmed, fully-searchable databases allowing fast, easy and flexible access to the full listing of 450+ PLASA members, more than 1,500 industry news items in the online news archive, a comprehensive calendar of industry events and over 100 titles in PLASA’s Technical Book Service.
This ability to search by key words makes the new webs
A 15-year old girl has died in Sydney’s Concorde Hospital, following a crush at the Big Day Out festival in Sydney, Australia, last Friday. The girl is reported to have suffered a cardiac arrest at the time of the crush, and died peacefully in hospital on Wednesday. Friday’s crush occurred when the crowd surged forward during a performance by Limp Bizkit. The band’s lead singer Fred Durst pleaded for calm, and wanted to stop the show altogether, but was later persuaded to continue with the set in the light of police fears of a riot if the show were stopped. Limp Bizkit later pulled out of the touring festival, saying they had no confidence in its organisers. Other acts on the bill included Coldplay, PJ Harvey, At The Drive In and Queens of The Stone Age.
A disused soap factory formerly owned by Kone Ab lies in the heart of the old city of Helsinki. Not unattractive, the factory building, though squat and angular, is made from softly textured sandstone. It is barely a hundred years old, yet has just recently undergone extensive renovation.
The reason? It’s been taken over as the new home for the State Theatre School. A major project, the fifth floor of the North Wing is home to 11 large dance studios, while downstairs, surrounding two sides of a roofed courtyard, are five separate, though admittedly small, theatres. Other facilities include lecture halls, a gym, make-up room - just about every possible theatrical discipline is catered for - as well as admin functions being contained within the factory’s ample interior. The funding is all from the government, as is the full digital TV studio just installed at the Helsinki University of Technology.
Although these facilities are decidedly state-of-the-art, they don’t appear profligate; the equipment is there, but not in excessive quantities. On the day of my visit, 300 new students were enrolling at the State Theatre School. These will swell the ranks of an existing 600 second and third year students who were previously trained at various locations around the city and further afield. The department of Lighting and Sound Design, for example, was housed at Tampere, 200km away.
For that reason alone, this new central unitary facility will save the school immense amounts of money. And what do the students have to contribute towards all this? "Just 400 F
The planned auction of the Dome’s contents may possibly die before it even gets going if Legacy plc’s bid for the site is not concluded on 14 February as intended. It appears that the Government and Legacy cannot agree terms, and, as a result, the New Millennium Experience Company has reviewed plans to postpone indefinitely the £10m auction, which is scheduled to start at the end of February. We understand that they may, however, proceed with the sale of some of the site’s assets. If the Legacy bid does fall through, it will mean that other potential bidders, including the Dome's chief executive, Pierre-Yves Gerbeau, who has struck an alliance with James Palumbo, property firm Pilton Group and the pop impresario Harvey Goldsmith, may have their wish to keep the venue entertainment-based rather than the business park proposal that was at the heart of the Legacy plan.
Several new projects have been given the green light this month. Dunfermline Athletic has won planning permission for a business enterprise centre, 60-bedroom hotel, swimming pool and leisure facility at its football stadium in Fife. Meanwhile, maintaining a sporting theme, Grimsby Town is expected to start work on a new football stadium at Great Coates in September, having won the go-ahead from North East Lincolnshire Council. Travel giant Stagecoach has submitted plans for the development of a multiplex cinema and entertainment centre at the bus station site in Exeter, and the BBC has begun recruiting 80 staff for a new £4m TV and radio news broadcasting facility in Sevenoaks.
Details courtesy of UK Business Park.