General News

PRG Gains $125m New Credit
Monday, 19 March 2001

Production Resource Group (PRG) has announced that it has established new credit totaling $125 million with GMAC Business Credit, to support its strategic plans. This refinancing was coupled with the sale of PRG's Systems Group consisting of Signal Perfection Ltd and the Ancha and SPL-Integrated Solutions divisions, to a newly-formed entity controlled by shareholders of PRG and Systems Group management. "With such rapid expansion, there have been obstacles and growing pains. None the less, the hard work of the talented people that make up PRG and the new management we've implemented has significantly reduced our debt from $190 million to $110 million," says Jere Harris, chairman and CEO. "I attribute these achievements to the continual efforts of our employees. It's their diligence, dedication and teamwork that has directly resulted in improved performance."

PRG anticipates continued growth as the management changes and investments made in the past year take full effect.

Sound Department Returns to Market
Saturday, 17 March 2001

Directors of the newly-constituted Sound Department chose the Frankfurt Musikmesse this month to unveil their plans for the future.

Following the demise of the former Sound Dept, the new company will commence trading from an operating base in Banbury, Oxfordshire, at the beginning of April, under the executive management of Steve Smith (MD), Andy Simmons (sales and marketing director) and Peter Nicholls (FD).

The new company has consolidated its position with all the premier brands previously represented, and will act as exclusive UK distributor for Crest Audio, Community Professional Loudspeakers, Sound Advance, Level Control Systems (LCS) and Australian Monitor Industrial (formerly Audio Telex).

Other key members of The Sound Department team are technical support manager, Steve Badham, along with Bruce Francis, who will now run the service department from a self-contained unit in north London, in an endeavour to provide the utmost in customer service and support for the world class brands that the company represents. Steve Smith commented to L&SI: "The past few months have enabled us to fully analyse our business, and in some areas change our operating practice to become a more cohesive and efficient unit. On this basis we have approached all our suppliers with our new blueprint, and without exception it has been met with absolute approval."

Andy Simmons added: "With the full support of our suppliers we are looking forward to an exciting future, sharing in the many new product launches that are in prospect, and once again becoming a leader in audio

 
 
Battle for Dome Hots Up
Tuesday, 6 March 2001

Since the Government made the decision to remove preferred bidder status from Legacy plc, the battle for who gets to do what with the Dome has intensified. The Experience consortium, which includes promoter Harvey Goldsmith, has joined forces with the four-company consortium of Quintain, Lend Lease, Stanhope and Grosvenor. The latter has already been in talks with the BBC and the Tussauds Group, which may spur the revival of a 10-year-old plan for a giant theme park at Greenwich, first put forward by Tussauds long before the notion of a Millennium Dome was conceived. Any BBC involvement in the bid could involve turning the Dome into a theme park inspired by classic programmes such as EastEnders and Walking with Dinosaurs. This now places the consortium in a strong position to challenge the rival bid from the Dome’s former chief exec Pierre-Yves Gerbeau, whose bid is centred around retaining the Dome as a visitor attraction.

 
Showlight Pulls in Top Names
Sunday, 4 March 2001

Paula J. Dinkel, Peggy Eisenhauer and John Rayment will be the keynote speakers heading a formidable array of 21 top-class speakers at Showlight 2001.

Paula J. Dinkel, principal lighting designer for Walt Disney Imagineering, is currently leading the lighting design teams at Walt Disney Studios in Paris. Her paper ‘Theatre to Theme Parks’ owes much to her 20 years’ experience with Disney theme parks and retail projects, amongst them DisneyQuest in both Orlando and Chicago, the Port Discovery Children’s Museum in Baltimore and Club Disney.

John Rayment, the man responsible for the exciting lighting design of the opening and closing ceremonies of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, will discuss this experience in his paper ‘Olympics’. Beginning his career in seventies London, Rayment went on to become associated with the Sydney Dance Company, and was also one of Australia’s first lighting designers to go freelance and get an agent, allowing him the freedom to work on projects which have included drama, opera, musicals and events such as World Expo 88.

Peggy Eisenhauer, the only lighting designer to receive two double-nominations for lighting design, is talking about ‘Design Philosophy’. With partner Jules Fisher, she runs the successful Third Eye studio, a provider of innovative lighting design for some of America’s top shows, the most recent being the musical production of Jane Eyre which opened on Broadway in December. Her partnership with Fisher began some 15 years ago and they have gone on to collect many desig

 
 
Interactive Club Experience for Students
Friday, 2 March 2001

Mobile phone company Orange has kicked off its largest ever Student Union club tour: ‘Enjoy Music on Campus’ is a high tech clubbing production that transforms student unions into impressive clubbing venues. Orange is employing expertise gained through its extensive music sponsorship portfolio to take leading DJs and the latest technology to universities across the UK. The first event took place in February at the De Montfort Student Union in Leicester and throughout the coming months will visit universities from Belfast to Plymouth, to allow as many students as possible to Enjoy Music on Campus. The line up for the events include the Freestylers, Jon Carter and talent from Grand Central Records. The club nights are designed to support the launch of ‘Orange on campus’, a mobile phone package specially designed for students.

 
International Seminars at Pro Light & Sound
Friday, 2 March 2001

PLASA, the VPLT (PLASA’s sister association in Germany) and Trade Partners UK (British Government) have been working together to present three seminars at the Pro Light & Sound Show at the Frankfurt Musikmesse next week with simultaneous German/English translation. The first, on Wednesday 7th March at 12.30pm, covers ‘Cruise Ships and Events Technology‘ with Peter Ed of ETC Europe, Martin Lilly (Airtours/Sun Cruises), and Davey Smalley of BSS Audio. The seminar looks at event technology on cruise ships, revealing what requirements there are and which products and solutions are needed for these less than straightforward environments. The second seminar, on Thursday 8th March at 12.30pm, is entitled ‘German - English Trade’. Paul Robinson from the British Embassy in Berlin and Michael Schneider of Lightronic discuss the difference between the British and the German way of thinking and its marketing. It considers the differences in supply and demand and reviews the development of trade relations between both countries with regards to event technology? ‘Working on DMX, fog, rigging and others - the international standards situation.’Is the final seminar on Friday 9th March, again at 12.30pm.The standards officers of PLASA and the VPLT, Tim Cox and Eckart Steffens, discuss the importance of technical standards and review the various projects underway worldwide.For further details visit the VPLT/PLASA stand - A01 - at the show.

 
 
Bidding War at Dome Auction
Friday, 2 March 2001

News reaches us that the recent Dome auction turned into something of a bidding war and in so doing laid to rest fears that there would be a flood of cheap second-hand product hitting the market. Word has it that whilst there were some bargains to be had - top end lighting desks normally worth £15,000 upwards going for £7,000 - there were also numerous instances of bidders paying way over the list price for items. A 24-channel lighting control desk, for instance, which you can get for £525, was actually sold for £700, and this before the 10% premium buyers have to pay on all items. We also understand from our mole at the auction that numerous other items were attracting slightly higher or close to list price and one can only wonder at who out there has pockets so deep that price is not an issue. But not everything promised in the auction actually made it to the sale as the NMEC withdrew several items yesterday on the basis that it didn’t wish to prejudice the future use of the Dome - these included the Broadcast and Dome TV Suites and all associated equipment, together with plasma screens.By the time the auction ends at close of play today, more than 15,000 items from the Dome will have been sold and an anticipated £5 million will have been raised for an attraction that cost £800 million.

 
Gearhouse Group in Receivership
Thursday, 1 March 2001

The Gearhouse Group plc and a large number of its subsidiary operations have been placed in administrative receivership. A legal notice posted on the company’s website states that AR Bloom & AJR Wollaston (Ernst & Young) were appointed joint administrative receivers on 23rd February 2001. Over recent years, the Group, a supplier of professional presentation and event production equipment, for both rental and sale, to the corporate presentation, TV, film and live entertainment industries worldwide, had followed an ambitious programme of growth, acquiring a number of complementary companies and rebranding them under the Group banner. It appears from the notice that most of the companies within the Group are now in receivership - these include all the Gearhouse subsidiaries across the UK, Gearhouse LED Screens, Gearhouse Lighting, Gearhouse Special Projects, Gearhouse Structures, Gearhouse XTC, Impact Rentals, PPL Event Services, Presentation Services, Proquip Gearhouse, Sceneset and Set 'N' Stage.

 
 
Association News - New Faces Join PLASA Show Team
Thursday, 1 March 2001

Following recent internal re-organisation at Clarion Events, the PLASA Show organising team has undergone several changes of role, as well as several new additions.

James Brooks-Ward is now Group Exhibition Director at Clarion, responsible for eight trade shows and 30 staff. Part of his new responsibility will be the development of new business areas for Clarion.Sue Silsby now takes on the role of PLASA Show Director. She has worked at Clarion Events for the past eight years. most recently as Show Director for The Royal Smithfield Show. Stephen Ingram comes in as the new senior sales manager for the Show. He too has a great deal of experience, having worked on events including The Royal Smithfield Show and The Sunday Times Environment Show.

Julie Haddow joins the team as marketing manager, and will take responsibility for marketing all of Clarion’s trade shows, including PLASA. Over the past year, she has been working as venue marketing manager for Earls Court & Olympia. Another new face to the team is Rebecca Perry, who has been at Clarion Events since 1996, and has worked on The Royal Smithfield Show and The London Motor Show. She now joins the PLASA team as marketing executive.

Sophie Matthews joined Clarion in June 1998, as a show administrator for both PLASA UK and PLASA Presents Light & Sound Shanghai. She is currently the operations manager for both shows. Goli Vossough joined the PLASA team in December 1998 as a sales executive. After a year she made sales executive for the PLASA Shanghai show, and is now actively involved in selling for both.

Lisa El

 
Crossroads Brought Back into the Light
Thursday, 1 March 2001

An institution is coming home, when Crossroads returns to our TV screens in the spring. The soap is planned to fill the gap following the departure of Home and Away. Filmed in Carlton TV’s studio in Nottingham, Crossroads will be the new centrepiece in ITV’s daytime schedule. Second time around, Crossroads has moved up-market, from the original motel to a modern hotel with a beauty salon, bar and restaurant and this time will be lit by a range of . To ensure the perfect lighting, Carlton bought 144 channels of ETC Sensor dimming, supplied by AC Lighting. The returning stars from the Crossroads hall of fame are Jane Rossington (no relation to L&SI’s editor sadly) as Jill Harvey, Kathy Staff, who hangs up the wrinkled stockings of Last of the Summer Wine's Nora Batty and dons the uniform of much-loved laundress Doris Luke and waiting in the wings for a return later in the series is Tony Adams as Adam Chance, Jill Harvey's ex-husband.

 
 
Association News - PLASA AGM 2001 Speaker Announced
Thursday, 1 March 2001

PLASA has now revealed details of the first of its two speakers booked for the 2001 AGM and industry dinner, which takes place on June 14th at Coombe Abbey.

Paul Zenon (pictured right), is a magician and comedian who is well known for more than 100 television appearances and is a regular at the Comedy Store . . .Details of the second of the evening’s speakers will be announced shortly.

All PLASA members are encouraged to attend this enjoyable event. Contact Helen Kneale at the PLASA Office for details, or visit: www.plasa.org/events/agm.asp

 
Siel 2001
Thursday, 1 March 2001

Siel kicked off the trade show season in style when it returned to its established home at the Porte de Versailles in Paris in early February. Some measure of its growing stature on the trade show circuit can be gauged by the fact that it now attracts nearly 300 exhibitors from all sectors of the industry.

Its widening appeal as an industry showcase is underlined by the fact that just about every major manufacturer from the audio, AV, lighting and staging worlds, had a presence at the Show, despite its proximity to both Namm and Live. Since most have appointed local distributors, the profile of the show remains distinctly French, and the visitor figures underline the fact that it still plays predominantly to its home market (of the 23,497 who attended, less than 6% were from overseas).

That said, even 6% constitutes a fairly considerable amount of international visitors, and Paris is a city which will always manage to attract. So what news did we find on the show floor?Behind the scenes, ADB has been making some key changes. The Siemens-owned company has spent the last few months restructuring, revising the reporting structure so that the French and German operations now report directly to the central ADB operation in Belgium. Alfons Fahrtmann, a Siemens man for the past four years, has been brought in as the new general manager and will work alongside the established team of Mike Musso and Raph Janssens on a range of new initiatives, including a number of new products which will be rolled out in the coming months.

It’s now a year since Blackout and Triple E an

 
 
Association News - AETTI Restructures
Thursday, 1 March 2001

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.

Last year, the AETTI 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 up and a new constitution was adopted. As part of the restructuring, Griffiths, Aveline and Branwell were chosen as the organisation’s new officers. 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. In addition, the possibility of running a theatre technician foundation course during the PLASA Show this year is currently being investigated.

AETTI’s Joe Aveline told L&SI: "The AETTI has come of age. The support for this move from members bodes well for the future and the enthusiasm and hard work surrounding our effort on the BTEC Awards is still present. We now have a solid foundation on which to go forward."

 
Live! Show 2001
Thursday, 1 March 2001

L&SI reports from the Live! 2001 exhibition at Alexandra Palace.

Midas introduced the new Venice console, bringing the high-quality Midas brand to smaller applications such as conferences or live band applications, for effects returns or additional inputs in large multi-console applications, in installation/contracting work, or as part of a small mobile system. It also provides an ideal feature set for live acts who need to mix their own FOH and monitor sound from on-stage. Three versions are available, and will be available in the UK from Shuttlesound. Midas also made it two wins in a row by again picking up the Live! Best Audio Console award for the Heritage 3000. Allen & Heath, meanwhile, were delighted to pick up the Silver award for the ML5000 mixing desk.

Fuzion has recently taken on distribution of Camco amplifiers, and the impressive new Camco Vortex units were shown for the first time by the company. The Camco Vortex is a very high-power (6000W into 4 ohms), yet lightweight 2U amplifier product which offers complementary advantages to the Crown range of amplifiers which Fuzion also distributes in the UK. The microprocessor-controlled amplifiers control and monitor all functions and internal ‘housekeeping’ tasks. Each has a three-stage switched-mode universal power supply, with reliable over-voltage protection up to 400 volts.

Soundcraft had the first UK showing of its Spirit M Series of consoles, seen for the very first time recently at NAMM in Los Angeles. The Spirit M4, M8 and M12 are a range of compact mixers available with 4, 8 or 12 mono inpu

 
 
Twentieth Century Theatre Patents
Monday, 26 February 2001

In 1996 the second edition of British Theatrical Patents 1801-1900 was published in demand to the runaway success of the first edition. Such was the interest and fascination with the subject, the authors Terence Rees and David Wilmore, embarked upon the mammoth task of consulting several million more patents to compile a database of theatrical patents for the first half of the twentieth century. As a result of some five years work the first release of the database is now available covering 1901-1950 and includes many fascinating technological developments relating to moving lights, projection, dimming and control as well as staging, illusions, and a myriad of other technical theatre subjects. The database is now available for purchase (£957+ Vat) and there are currently almost 1,000 patentee entries on the database. Purchasers will receive free updates as new entries are discovered - but beware - as the entries increase so does the price! - the earlier you buy it the cheaper it is! Further information can be obtained from Theatresearch on Tel:+44 (0) 1423 780497

 
Mays joins Moodie, Pincu & Associates
Monday, 26 February 2001

TMB announced today that Warren Mays, the company’s long-serving technical sales manager, has left the company to join Moodie, Pincu & Associates. Colin Waters, TMB’s CEO told PLASA Media: “Warren has been a great asset to TMB over the years and he will be missed. Because of his understanding of the cooperative relationship between TMB and Moodie-Pincu, we believe this move will lead to many new opportunities for both companies. Moodie-Pincu & Associates is a manufacturer’s representatives in the greater Los Angeles area for Electronic Theatre Controls and other entertainment-based manufacturers of theatrical support equipment.

 
 
Pulsar Wins ‘Training in Excellence’ Award
Monday, 26 February 2001

Pulsar picked up the ‘Excellence in Training’ award at this year’s LIVE! Awards. The award is recognition of their comprehensive range of both Clay Paky and Pulsar technical seminars hosted at their Cambridge HQ, the joint organisation with DI of both the UK and World Light Jockey Contests, and their latest collaboration with PLASA introducing the Student Lighting Designer Award aimed at colleges.

 
East Anglia to get its own Superclub
Monday, 26 February 2001

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.

 
 
Support for Birmingham Fringe
Sunday, 25 February 2001

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.

 
DHA Design Winner
Saturday, 24 February 2001

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.

 
 
Belgium’s Saint Lambert Lit
Friday, 23 February 2001

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.

 
New Academy
Friday, 23 February 2001

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.

 
 
PLASA Supports Restructured AETTI
Friday, 23 February 2001

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 is Official European Show of the TEA
Thursday, 22 February 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.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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