General News

ExpoLatina 2000 Spanish-Language Training
Friday, 10 March 2000

Four days of professional design and technology workshops in lighting, production techniques and audio highlight the second annual ExpoLatina running from 22-25 May at the Miami Beach Convention Center, USA. A series of lighting and sound seminars will run alongside the show with Making the Music highlighting the audio seminar programme presented by a panel of top Latin record producers and engineers. Other audio sessions range from Dubbing Music for the Latin Market and Getting the Best Live Mix to explorations of applications for loudspeakers, microphones, mixing, sound system design and studio design. The 'Beyond the Light' programme represents three days of presentations for stage, screen and special events, showcasing lighting designers, technicians and consultants from around the world. Sessions include roundtables on industry standards from ESTA, film and television lighting techniques and moving lights for television. Lighting designer Sarah Sidman presents a look at new gobos, colours and lighting techniques, while Steve Hoffman and Chris Garcia from GAM lead a hands-on look at creating special lighting effects. The workshops will be taught in or simultaneously translated into Spanish.

Major Opening Planned for Lowry Centre
Friday, 10 March 2000

A weekend of celebrations will mark the opening of the new Lowry Centre, the first purpose-built centre in the UK to integrate the visual and performing arts. Based on Salford Quays, Greater Manchester, the stunning steel and glass building will receive its official opening on April 28 with a major programme of music, dance, theatre and fire. The Lowry, a national millennium project costing £98 million, will host a 1650 seat lyric theatre, a 400 seat flexible theatre, as well as a purpose-built gallery for the City's comprehensive Lowry collection. In partnership with the University of Salford, there will be an adjacent national industrial centre for virtual reality. At the heart of the opening weekend is a specially-created production - To You - which involves the local community and professional artists. The audience will then be drawn into the 1,728-seat Lyric Theatre, which boasts the biggest stage outside London, for the next part of the production before the finale - a fireworks display and water pageant by Walk The Plank Theatre Company.

Neil Riley Joins Stage One
Friday, 10 March 2000

Neil Riley has joined Stage One as systems manager. He will develop and maintain all the electronics and data information systems across the company’s two sites as well as offering assistance to clients, suppliers and freelancers with their IT requirements.

Earls Court Hotel Planned
Friday, 10 March 2000

Earls Court and Olympia is working with Land securities, one of the UK's largest property companies, to develop an on-site hotel at Earls Court, home to the PLASA Show. Planning permission has been approved for a 513 room, four-star hotel in the Empress State building, adjacent to Earls Court 2. The two companies are now working closely to select an operator to develop the hotel, with a decision due in the next three months. The hotel will then be operational by spring 2002.

Theatrical London
Friday, 10 March 2000

Preparations are now well underway for this year's Theatrical London event which will run directly after the PLASA Show in London from Wednesday 13th September through to Friday 15th September. Although certain parts of the programme are still to be finalised, shows already booked include The Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre and the Witches of Eastwick at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. As with previous events, Theatrical London will include a number of backstage visits to venues of interest to this industry. Full details available shortly.

LIW e-leisure
Thursday, 9 March 2000

LIW 2000 (International Leisure Industry Week, 26-28 Seprtember, NEC, Birmingham) has announced details of a new internet feature, called e-leisure world, which will form part of its Leisure Facilities Management show. The area will be dedicated to helping leisure businesses exploit the benefits of the Internet for marketing and e-commerce. Several companies have confirmed their participation in e-leisure world include web designers and e-commerce solution providers.

STLD Annual Sponsors Dinner
Thursday, 9 March 2000

The STLD recently held its annual Sponsors Dinner at the RAF Museum in Hendon. The Society has some 65 active sponsors and there was an excellent turn-out from many of these, most notably Strand Lighting, DHA, Rosco, Vari-Lite, ARRI and Le Mark. Guests had the opportunity to view in private the aircraft displays at the Museum and not surprisingly, a great deal of interest was shown in the flight simulator, with a steady stream of enthusiasts queuing on one side and a not-so-steady stream of green faces exiting at the other side.

AES Audio Conference
Thursday, 9 March 2000

The AES UK conference will take place from 8-9 May at Church House, Westminster, London. Mark Yonge will chair the conference which will address the way networks are used to transmit streams of digital audio and will include sessions on audio quality in network design, fibre channel technology, audio file transfers, ethernet networks and digital audio interfaces. The conference will be of interest to technical managers as well as the operators and technicians responsible for developing and using new audio systems for radio, TV and music recording.The registration fee is £298 + VAT for AES members and £348 + VAT for non-members.

Fulcrum is Launched
Wednesday, 8 March 2000

A new company, set up to provide lighting and power solutions for design agencies, production companies, event organisers and theming specialists, has started operating from Bristol, London and a dedicated internet site. The company has been established by Richard Cross, Mike Matthews and Elise Tregaskis - all former SLX employees - who bring to the company a combined 40 years experience in the theatre, entertainment and conference industries. Fulcrum will provide creative design, development and project management, including equipment sourcing, co-ordination of equipment hire and sales, transport, personnel, travel and accommodation for both permanent and temporary projects.

Amina Announce First NXT Practical Installation Seminar
Wednesday, 8 March 2000

To coincide with this year's Frankfurt Music Messe [12-16 April 2000], Amina Technologies, in conjunction with NXT plc, will run a seminar presenting an overview of NXT- the new Acoustic Flat Panel Loudspeaker Technology - and its practical application and benefits within professional installations. The seminar will take place on Thursday 13 April at 11am at the Marriott Hotel, Frankfurt. The seminar will feature presentations from members of NXT - the developers of the actual technology itself, as well as Peter Mapp - one of the UK's leading audio consultants - who will give his expert advice on the application and installation of NXT-based products, whilst offering comparisons with conventional methods.

Lighting Technology Newcastle Open Day
Tuesday, 7 March 2000

Lighting Technology Newcastle, growing dynamically out of the newly-merged but long-established company Sound Electronics, launched itself into the new Millennium with a major Open Day event at its premises on Tyneside on Friday 3rd March. The occasion celebrated the formal launch of Lighting Technology Group's Newcastle offices, which will act as a centre for expansion for sales in the region. It will also provide the base for the resources of the Northern region of LTP, the Group's project business.Over 30 major manufacturers lined up to support the mini-expo which included a special architectural lighting area, the presence of Strand Lighting's 45' exhibition trailer, Pioneer's mobile DJ display truck and the launch of a new-style entertainment lamp catalogue. For pictures of the Open Day follow this link . . .

Pulsar Display Line Seminar
Tuesday, 7 March 2000

Pulsar recently hosted a new seminar to present the latest Clay Paky range of Display Line projectors to its UK reselller network. Each projector consists of a lighting unit, an objective lens and twin guides on which effects can be mounted. These can be combined in modular configurations and can be chosen from a range of optional extras. Each delegate in attendance was awarded a training certificate

PCM Completes First Rigging School of 2000
Tuesday, 7 March 2000

PCM has completed its first five-day intense Rigging School of two planned for 2000. This was attended by 54 individuals from all sectors of the professional rigging and entertainment industry. Vertigo Rigging's Ken Mehmed (Live Rigger of the Year 2000), Ian Lamb and John Teahan ran the rigging section of the course which covered all areas of rigging, rope access, truss walking, working at height, bridling, flying, motor husbandry, etc. Aluminium trussing specialists James Thomas Engineering conducted a section on trussing and ground support systems led by John 'Jig' Higginbotham. MAN Flying Systems' redoubtable Mick Nash de Villiers and Tony Mathews taught the basics of the very precise business of PA rigging. Rope Assemblies provided a selection of equipment for inspection, while health and safety expert Mike Curtis hacked away the official verbiage of the LOLER regulations. Also Integral to the course was a standard Lodestar Motor School, tutored by Tony Dickson of PCM and Wally Blount from Columbus McKinnon.PCM's next rigging school is scheduled for July 2000.

Stage Electrics Auction
Tuesday, 7 March 2000

Stage Electrics are holding another sale on 1st April 2000. The Auction is being held near the company's Birmingham branch in Smethwick (one minute from Junction 1 off the M5). Lots will include Strand spotlights, including Brio, Prelude, Optique and Cantata. Follow spots, Martin Roboscans, smoke machines, radio mics, LCD video projector, Spirit Soundmixer, flight cases, trussing and corners and much more. Auction catalogues can be obtained by faxing 0121 525 2413 or emailing Catalogues will be mailed out after the 20 th March.

Avolites New Building
Monday, 6 March 2000

Avolites is expanding into a new 500sq.m building in the same street. The move has become necessary because of the success of the ART dimming range, and the new premises are custom-designed to accommodate ART dimmer production. Recent sales include those to Skyscape at The Dome, The Royal Festival Hall, Hawthorn Theatrical, White Light, Stage Electrics and The Northern Ballet in Leeds - in addition to all the usual rock and roll suspects!

Stagetec Appoint Hire Manager
Monday, 6 March 2000

Stagetec has recently appointed Gary Herwing to the post of hire manager. Herwing has been in the business for some years, most recently as production manager for Paul Daniels, but has experience of both working in theatres and hire companies. He will take complete control of all aspects of the hire business of the company with an emphasis on developing both existing and new markets.

Clear Channel and SFX Announce Merger
Friday, 3 March 2000

Clear Channel Communications, Inc and SFX Entertainment, Inc have entered into a definitive merger agreement. The move will vastly expand Clear Channel's sphere of influence, for SFX is the world's largest promoter, producer and venue operator for live entertainment events. Clear Channel operates 867 radio and 19 television stations in the United States reaching over 120 million people weekly. It also has a wholly owned subsidiary - Premiere Radio Networks - which broadcasts to 40 million people weekly. Additionally, it has equity interests in over 240 radio stations internationally. SFX, meanwhile, currently owns or operates 120 live entertainment venues across the US markets and as we reported last year, is establishing a foot-hold in the UK market. In August, SFX Entertainment bought the UK's Apollo Leisure Group, which owns 23 theatres across the UK, for around US$254 million. The deal was SFX's first major investment in UK venues and included famous theatres such as the Lyceum, in London, The Playhouse, in Edinburgh, and the Palace, in Manchester. The current transaction values SFX Entertainment at approximately $4.4 billion. This includes the assumption of approximately $1.1 billion of SFX's debt net of cash. The deal is expected to be completed later this year subject to the vote of SFX's stockholders, and customary regulatory approvals and closing conditions.

Mezz Room Closes for Refurbishment
Thursday, 2 March 2000

The Mezzanine Group has announced the closure and re-branding of its Fulham-based venue The Kings Club. The eponymous private members club closed its doors in late February for a full refurbishment and will re-open shortly to launch the private members club and bar - The Mezz Room. The plan to change identity has been well received by members, who felt that the current image of the club was in need of a makeover to bring it in line with today's trends and fashion. One of the unique attractions of the Mezz room is the Mezzanine@, an internet-based entertainment concept devised by the Group. This effectively means that the venue can receive live audio visual broadcasts of music-based events from DJs and artists around the UK from other Mezzanine venues.

Elton Walks Like an Egyptian
Thursday, 2 March 2000

The arrival of Aida in London's West End, originally scheduled for transfer from Broadway next year, seems likely to be delayed until 2002 following the off-stage performance of Sir Elton John, who walked out of the New York opening after only 15 minutes. The singer is not happy with the way his score for the reworking of Verdi's opera has been interpreted, particularly the techno-pop backing to two of his songs - Another Pyramid and My Strongest Suit. Disney has already dug deep into its coffers for the production, spending £10million on the show, including revamping it two years ago after Sir Elton saw the production in Atlanta and complained that the set was 'shoddy'.

China in Britain Day
Thursday, 2 March 2000

An authentic Chinese tea room of the 19th century, a spectacular laser show from the 21st and a live transmission from China Central Television were part of China in Britain Day held on the eve of the Chinese New Year. Companies, community groups and artists from across the UK participated in the event which took place at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London. The Display ran in tandem with the annual Chinese New Year Lunch of London Export Ltd, supported by the 48 Group Club, whose long-standing ties to China date from 1952. The Display, organised by Chinese Marketing and Communications in conjunction with the Cultural Office of the Chinese Embassy, was taken from concept to reality in little more than a month thanks to key input from Clarion Events (organisers of the PLASA Show and PLASA Shanghai), LCI (Laser Creations International), LSI Projects - ADB (creative lighting) and China Gateway North West. Pulsar Lighting and DHA also lent their support to the project.

ETC Get Together
Thursday, 2 March 2000

On the weekend of February 11-13, nearly 80 people from the international world of lighting descended on the Selsdon Park Hotel, Croydon, for 48 hours of hard work - and some hard play as well! ETC Europe was hosting a sales and marketing training weekend, attended by over 50 dealers from 19 countries. ETC staff from both the UK and the United States had arranged an intense schedule of seminars, covering not just product, but also system integration and the fundamentals of networking for theatrical and entertainment control systems.

Millennium Square Preview
Wednesday, 1 March 2000

The plans for Millennium Square, Leeds, destined to become Europe's most innovative city centre events space was recently unveiled. The £12m project, funded by the Millennium Commission and Leeds City Council, is due to open in October 2000 and has been designed and built with the event promoter and manager in mind, with services and infrastructure incorporated into the design. Set to become one of Europe's most impressive civic spaces, the Square has a capacity of 2,000 seated, 5,000 standing and up to 20,000 for free events. Millennium Square will play host to a year- round programme of events and festivals commencing with the UK premiere performance of a major piece of outdoor theatre in October 2000. Other events likely to feature include an outdoor ice rink, Christmas markets and a summer concert season.

Electrovision + Altai + NJD
Wednesday, 1 March 2000

Electrovision, the Merseyside distribution company, has bought another well known name in the industry - Altai Group Ltd. This take-over further strengthens the group's position within the market giving it such famous house brands as Sound Lab, Eagle, Vision, ELV and of course NJD, as well as distribution for many other industry names. The take-over also includes branches in France, Holland, Germany and Belgium, as well as representation in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Mark Benyon now of Altai told PLASA News: "This move will provide greater penetration of the European market and will provide a better and more comprehensive service to all our customers. It gives us even stronger buying power to offer the best possible value to our customers." Richard Fox of Electrovision added: "I am very pleased with the successful outcome of this project and look forward to hearing from our customers old and new who should all benefit substantially, with even better service, from this new arrangement."

PRG Announces Used Equipment Auction
Tuesday, 29 February 2000

Production Resources Group is to hold an auction for the Lighting Group and the Audio Group which will see a range of automated lights, dimmers, scrollers, speakers, processing equipment audio and lighting consoles go under the hammer. The auction will be held at 3026 Airport Avenue in Santa Monica, CA on Wednesday 15 March beginning at 11.00am. A preview of the equipment to be auctioned will take place on Tuesday 14 March at the same location, from 11.00am to 4.00pm. Auction catalogues (available 7 March onwards) can be downloaded from the PRG website whilst LA-411 will also be accepting pre-auction bids on equipment via their web site at The proceedings will be transmitted live via the LA411 web site the day of the event.


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