Show production company CJ Spencer Associates has rebranded, and is now trading under the name of Hotcakes UK Ltd. The decision to rebrand comes at a time of expansion within the company in terms of key personnel, office space and substantial IT development at the company's headquarters in Skipton. Hotcakes, whose current clients include Marks & Spencer, Cosmopolitan Show, BBC Good Home Show and Prima, will be promoted as a 'brand experience consultancy', with the ability to understand a client's marketing needs as well as providing the technological skill to produce a cutting-edge show.
As we reported on April 7, Peter Johansen - founder and former owner of Martin Professional - has been sentenced to three months in jail by the local court of justice in Aarhus, Denmark. Johansen, through an intermediary, has now contacted us to offer his version of events. He says that the ruling followed his attempt in the spring of 1999 to block the possibility of a hostile take-over of Martin Professional, 15 months after he left the company as CEO. "Martin was under threat after a long period of unrest, which had driven down the value of the Martin stocks. I tried to top up my 25 percent stock-share to 33.33 percent to be able to block the board from selling to hostile bidders. To avoid further unrest, I decided not to publish my intentions. I did not want the market to get the false impression that I was trying to pave my way back as CEO of my old company."Shortly after the attempt, which did not succeed, Johansen sold a major part of his stocks to Schouw & Co - the present owner of Martin Professional. The sale gave Johansen a marginal profit and whilst the court of justice acknowledged that there had been no motive for profit in his actions, the ruling states that he should have informed the Copenhagen Stock Exchange about his acquisitions. Johansen has decided to appeal against the sentence.
London-based Rossula Limited, the company behind the Lightfactor Sales and LightProcessor operations, has entered into a joint venture with German company Zeck Audio to form Zeck Audio UK Ltd, which will market the entire range of Zeck pro audio products throughout the British Isles, from its base in Greenford, West London. Rossula MD Mick Hannaford, comments: "This is an exciting opportunity to bring a unique and competitive range of innovative audio products to the UK. Our aim is to deliver the brand across the country through a small number of strategic distribution partners."Zeck products suit a broad range of professional applications from background and foreground sound reinforcement to touring and installation systems of all sizes. The range includes microphones, wireless systems, cables, connectors, mixing consoles, signal processors, amplifiers and a range of passive and active loudspeaker enclosures.
New York-based City Theatrical has announced the return of Patrick Eagleton to the company, as director of sales and marketing. Eagleton, who has 15 years’ experience in the professional lighting industry, previously worked for the company from 1994 to 1997.
Artistic Licence has announced the launch of its new website, which offers full e-commerce facilities allowing customers to order any products from the company's range, on-line. The Artistic Licence product range now exceeds 100 items, ranging from DMX512 test equipment to LED digital lighting. Customers can also download all product manuals, advance product information and demonstration software.
The Palace Theatre, Watford, is one of the few remaining producing theatres in the country, with many of its productions touring nationally and playing in the West End. The Grade II listed Edwardian theatre is currently undertaking a fundraising campaign to raise £1.5m for essential refurbishment and chief electrician Ian Saunders came up with the idea of projecting a fundraising message onto the safety curtain to highlight the appeal to the audience. To get the appeal off the ground, ETC Europe donated two Source Four lanterns to the theatre. ETC Europe's Peter Ed, made the presentation to Ian Saunders whilst Stage Technologies' Nikki Scott was instrumental in organising the donation.
A host of industry friends and colleagues from all over the world gathered in Cambridge on Saturday 8th April to wish Derrick Saunders, Pulsar's long-time sales and marketing director, well on his retirement. Colleagues who paid tribute included Pulsar MD Paul Mardon, Clay Paky's Enrico Caironi and Lightpower's Gunther Olbricht. Derrick won't lose touch with the industry altogether for he plans to work alongside wife Monica at Adda Super Cases. PLASA would like to take this opportunity to wish Derrick and Monica all the very best for the future.
Following our news story last month about the proposed deal, Mackie has now completed its purchase of Eastern Acoustic Works Inc (EAW). "We are excited about the opportunities afforded us by this acquisition," stated Greg Mackie, founder and chairman of Mackie Designs. "EAW is a leading brand in the professional audio industry and is recognised as a world class developer and manufacturer of high-end professional audio equipment." Jamie Engen, Mackie's chief operating officer added: "There are significant synergies which will come from the combination of Mackie, EAW, and RCF, our Italian subsidiary. Our brands, our engineering, our manufacturing capabilities, our distribution channels, our target markets and especially our people, all complement one another."
PLASA EXCLUSIVE:PLASA Publishing has this afternoon learned that US-based Matthews Studio Equipment Group - one of the largest suppliers of professional equipment to the entertainment industry, has today announced that it has filed a voluntary petition for reorganisation under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. The NASDAQ-listed company supplies conventional and automated lighting, grip, transportation, generators, camera equipment, audio and video equipment and theatrical supplies via its worldwide distribution network.Carlos D. DeMattos, chairman and CEO, said: "We have spent the past several months attempting to come up with a proposal that would address the company's challenges outside of a court proceeding. Ultimately, the time required to complete a restructuring transaction and the uncertain cost of closing unprofitable locations were too great to overcome."He continued: "This procedure will bring order to a disorderly process. It should have little or no impact on our customers, our vendors, or our employees. We intend to continue to compete vigorously in all of our markets and to work diligently to meet the needs of our customers."Certain of Matthews' subsidiaries were included in the filings as a result of last-minute demands by the company's lenders, to which the company was forced to accede.
PLASA EXCLUSIVE:Danish financial newspaper Børsen has reported this afternoon that Peter Johansen, the former head of Danish lighting manufacturer Martin Professional, has received a three-month jail sentence following this week's high profile trial for company fraud. In addition, he has been fined a total of DKK 3.6 million (approx £300,000).The Danish newspaper Børsen, also reports today that Poul Schluter, the former Danish Prime Minister and chairman of the board of Martin Professional, has given notice of his resignation, and will leave the company on April 27th.
Pioneer Europe has launched a website resource aimed at DJs of all levels of experience - at www.djsounds.com. The site's 'Interactive' section allows visitors to sample the Pioneer range of mixers for themselves, selecting tunes from a variety of genres including Techno, Drum 'n' Bass and House. The 'Music' section offers 20 tracks of the latest releases from progressive record labels. Other features of the site include video interviews with the world's biggest DJs and details of the hottest upcoming events around Europe, as well as a text and chat forum covering a wide range of topics pertaining to dance music and DJ technology.
Christie Systems Inc has appointed Dr. Glenn Sherman as president and chief executive officer. Christie Systems is the newly-created parent company of Christie Digital Systems Inc and Christie Inc. Sherman will oversee the development of both companies in all market segments including control room displays, fixed installations, rental staging, immersive and the digital cinema environment. Based at the company’s Cypress, California office, Sherman will be responsible for creating and implementing business strategies that drive profitable growth and market dominance for both Christie Digital Systems Inc and Christie Inc. He will also be responsible for preparing the company for an initial public offering in the near future. Sherman holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois and brings more than 20 years of experience developing and leading high technology companies on the international stage. A veteran of the laser and optics industry, Dr. Sherman led the development of the world’s first small solid-state blue laser and first portable, high-resolution and full-colour video display based on solid-state red, green and blue lasers.
Bill Summers, the former managing director of Playlight Film & Television has left the Playlight Group to pursue other interests. Chris Wroe, the company’s operations director, will now take over the responsibilities previously held by Summers.
Following exploratory visits by Iain Mackintosh, Theatre Projects Consultants has been appointed by the Government of Gibraltar to advise on the reopening of the Theatre Royal Gibraltar, which has been dark since 1969. A business plan will be prepared before work starts on the re-modeling of an important theatre parts of which date back to 1847 on a site where a theatre has stood since 1826 serving both the Spanish and English speaking communities.
Leading members of the Association of Professional Recording Services (APRS) and the Professional Lighting & Sound Association (PLASA) have been working towards closer links between the two Associations. PLASA MD Matthew Griffiths and APRS chief executive Mark Broad have identified a raft of common interests which could result in the conversion of APRS membership into PLASA. "The two associations have enjoyed a communicative relationship over the last few years," states Griffiths, "and during that time APRS approached PLASA with a view to working closer on areas such as trade mission support and publishing. This proved to be successful, and a conversation was then started as to how this relationship could be expanded to the benefit of all concerned. PLASA will invite the entire membership of the APRS to join PLASA to maintain an effective voice for the recording technology industry." Meanwhile Broad has announced the postponement of the next APRS show until June 2001, in order to maximise the benefits of integrating APRS within the PLASA umbrella. With the support of the recording technology industry, PLASA will now look at running the Recording Technology exhibition in 2001, building on the successes of '99. Full story April L&SI.
The 12th International Live Music Conference (ILMC) attracted a record total of over 600 delegates on March 9-12. The event was staged at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, West London, with sponsors Carlsberg. More than 40 countries and occupations spanning the entire spectrum of the business side of the live music industry were represented by the invitation-only attendance. Delegates took in four days of scheduled events, conferences and breakout sessions covering issues including event safety, emerging European markets, e-commerce and the rapid growth of downloadable music through MP3 and similar Internet formats. Saturday night's highlight was the annual Arthurs Awards, ILMC's light-hearted take on industry awards. Full report April L&SI.
The Barco Group is closing the 1999 financial year with a group turnover of 28.6 billion BEF, compared with 26.436 billion BEF for 1998. This represents an 8% increase. Within this, Barco Projection Systems saw its turnover increase by almost 5%. This was probably limited by only partial recuperation of the loss in market share, especially in the USA, after the fire in the projectors factory in Kuurne in February 1998. During the course of 1999 however, Barco started to catch up with the introduction of the ELM projector based on the DLP technology of Texas Instruments. The year was also marked by some important structural changes within Barco Projection Systems with the business structured into five divisions.
The Entertainment Laser Association (ELA) has introduced two new membership categories - nightclubs and laser jockeys. These are both aimed at encouraging participation in the organisation from the expanding club market - currently enjoying a renaissance in active laser use. The existing members of ELA - which includes all the UK's major entertainment laser rental and sales companies - reap many benefits. These include use of the organisation's comprehensive risk assessment document, legal updates, newsletters and literature, promotion via the ELA web site and lists of ELA approved companies and crew. The organisation is also engaged in an on-going programme of research and development into the safe and professional use of lasers in the entertainment industry.
TMB Associates is about to move its London operations to a 12,000sq.ft facility in Brentford's dockland. Paul Hartley, general manager of TMB UK told PLASA Publishing: "Over the past couple of years our sales have really grown in the British, European and World markets. The new building has lots of room for extra stock and more people, to help us better serve both our existing and new customers." As most of the industry knows, TMB Associates is a distributor of entertainment lighting equipment, supplies and services, not to mention socks, and has been serving the professional lighting industry for 17 years. The new UK office will be open for business on April 3 at 2 Commerce Road, Brentford, Middlesex TW8 8LR. Tel: +44 (0) 20 8560 9652 Fax: +44 (0) 20 8560 1064
Global Entertainment Technology Ltd has outgrown its existing office premises and is currently on the move to larger offices. The move coincides with the appointment of two new recruits to the business - Ian Brown and Stuart Fenwick both formerly of Martin Professional UK. The new contact details are as follows: 2nd Floor, Norman House, Beaver Industrial Estate, Ashford, Kent, TN23 7SH. Telephone: +44 (0) 1233 646 871 Fax: +44 (0) 1233 646 836.
The first week in April sees the opening of an ambitious new project by The Almeida Theatre Company who are in the process of converting the derelict Gainsborough Studios in North London. The Studios, home to many a famous Hitchcock movie, are due for total demolition later in the year, but not before the Almeida completes an exciting 22 week programme.The two storey high building has undergone radical internal restructuring to create a theatre- sized hall hosting as its first production, Shakespeare's Richard II, set to be performed from 30th March. This production will then be joined in repertoire, on June 1st , by Coriolanus, both plays starring Ralph Fiennes in the title roles. To accommodate three tiers of seating, the mid-floor of the Studios has been removed and, at the same time, a temporary lighting grid has been installed above the stage by Summit Steel. The show's design makes full use of the building, including a fissure that has been cut into the back wall from floor the ceiling. For this reason the lighting and all its rigging had to be fitted within the existing roof trusses, rather than hung from them in the conventional manner. Full coverage in the May issue of L&SI.
Pink Floyd's Roger Waters and David Gilmour reunited on msn.co.uk to promote the re-release of Is There Anybody Out There?: Pink Floyd The Wall. The two, who have barely spoken to each other in 20 years, paid tribute to each other in online chats with their fans around the world last week. In total, 75,000 people joined the chats live and over 1 million people have been back to the site to read the transcripts since. msn.co.uk has become well known for its online chats and webcasts. In December, Paul McCartney's return to the Cavern was webcast live with a record-breaking audience logging on.
Several heats have now taken place in the technical studios at Melton Mowbray College. So far 10 students have come forward to battle it out and win a place in the Finals. Heats will continue through April, May and June. Tony Anagnostopplos, a student from the Performing Arts Degree Course at De Montfort University, commented: "I soon picked up the capabilities of the Masterpiece 218 and was quickly applying theatre techniques of fading between scenes. I particularly like the colours variants of the Stagecolor 300, they create real atmosphere."The finals have been arranged to take place on Monday July 17th at 7.30pm. Professionals from the industry are currently being approached to form a panel of judges who will decide upon a winner - the student who most creatively uses a range of Pulsar Intelligent luminaires to light a piece of theatre.
AC Lighting Ltd has updated, re-vamped and re-launched its website. The new site introduces a new design and expands the wealth of information available for visitors.