General News

H&S Training Courses
Wednesday, 13 December 2000

Stagesafe, a company set up to address the training needs of companies in the industry, with particular reference to Health & Safety issues, is now taking bookings for the next round of its Event Health and Safety Awareness Course.

Specially designed for anyone working in the live events industry, the day-long course examines event hazards in detail and covers everything from legal responsibilities to Risk Assessment. The course is open to freelancers, students and groups from companies, venues and student unions, and is fully approved by the Production Services Association. The course runs on the following dates: Bristol (29th Jan 2001), London (31st Jan 2001), Manchester (12th Feb 2001), Birmingham (13th Feb 2001).

University Challenges Industry to Provide Work Experience for Students
Tuesday, 12 December 2000

As there has been a major growth in students signing up for the BA (Hons) Events Management and HND in Events Management courses offered by the UK Centre for Events Management, at Leeds Metropolitan University (LMU), the University is looking for around 120 events industry work placements for its students next year (2001/2002).

Students without previous experience spend 48 weeks working in the events industry, normally with one organisation. A few students undertake two 24-week placements. Students are normally paid a modest salary and, as well as contributing to the day-to-day operation of the business, they are required to undertake a project which will be of lasting benefit to their host organisation.

Martin Wright, senior lecturer at the UK Centre for Events Management at LMU, told L&SI: "There has been a lot of recent media comment about the need for practical, as well as academic, input to event management courses. To date we have received tremendous support from the industry. Now is the opportunity for other events organisations to provide that much-valued industrial experience for our students. At the same time sponsor companies will gain the services of a motivated, enthusiastic and very able young person who can bring real benefits to the business."

Organisations interested in offering work placement should contact Andy Jones on 0113 283 5878 (E-mail: thm-placements@lmu.ac.uk). Details are also available on the UK Centre for Event Management website at

 
 
PLASA’s Christmas Donation
Tuesday, 12 December 2000

This Christmas, along with an increasing number of companies who choose to help the environment and benefit charity at the same time, PLASA will again be making a donation to two charities instead of sending Christmas cards. £600 will be allotted to charity from the savings on Christmas card mailings, while a further £300, collected at this year’s PLASA Show from visitors to the PLASA stand, will be added to the sum. The total of £900 will be donated by the Association to two charities which have been put in place to benefit industry personnel in times of hardship: the PSA Welfare & Benevolent Fund and to Light Relief.The team at PLASA Publishing would like to wish all visitors to the PLASA Electronic News site a very merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

 
Neil Darracott Joins PLASA Committee
Monday, 11 December 2000

PLASA has announced that Neil Darracott (pictured right), design engineer at Total Fabrications Ltd, has been elected to the Executive Committee of the Association following the elections which closed on 1 st December. The elections attracted 123 membership votes in total, compared with 104 last year. Mick Hannaford (Light Processor), the serving PLASA chairman, has been re-elected for his second three-year term, while PLASA Treasurer Sammy DeHavilland of Dare Pro Audio/Deco Leisure, has been re-elected for a three-year term. Newcomer Neil Darracott fills the other three-year term, while Paul Hinkly of LMC Audio, who was co-opted onto the PLASA committee last year, was elected for a further one-year term.Peter Walker of NSR, who was not re-elected, has served on the PLASA Committee for the past six years, and was for much of that time involved with membership issues, particularly related to new applications to the Association. At the December meeting of the executive committee, chairman Mick Hannaford thanked Peter for his time and hard work over the years he has served with PLASA.The remaining members of the committee are Paul Adams (PAI Group), Paul De Ville (Lightfactor Sales), Nikki Scott (Stage Technologies), David Hopkins OBE (Audio Design Services) and Diane Grant (DHA Lighting).

 
 
PLASA Welcomes Neil Darracott to Executive Committee . . .
Sunday, 10 December 2000

PLASA’s Executive Committee has a new face following the recent elections to decide on the line-up for 2001. Neil Darracott (pictured right), design engineer at Total Fabrications Ltd, now joins the committee, following a closely run contest which saw the final votes cast on December 1st. The elections attracted 123 membership votes in total, compared with 104 last year.

Coming from a rigging and trussing background, Darracott MEng AMIMechE will bring a new perspective to the committee. He joined Total Fabrications at the start of 2000, heading up the design team responsible for the company’s award-winning T2 trussing system; prior to this he worked in a number of fields including broadcasting, lighting, stage machinery, rigging, special projects and demountable structures.

Mick Hannaford (LightProcessor), the serving PLASA chairman, has been re-elected for his second three-year term, while PLASA Treasurer Sammy DeHavilland of Dare Pro Audio/Deco Leisure, has also been voted back to serve a three-year term. Newcomer Darracott fills the other three-year term, whilst Paul Hinkly of LMC Audio, who was co-opted onto the committee last year, was elected for a further one-year term.

The vote means that long-serving committee member Peter Walker of NSR Communications, will now step down. He has served PLASA for the past six years, and for much of that time, was involved with membership issues, particularly related to new applications to the Association. At the December meeting of the executive committee, chairman Mick Hannaford thanked Peter for his time and hard

 
New Face at PLASA
Sunday, 10 December 2000

PLASA Publishing has welcomed a new production manager to the team. Sonja Walker, who joined the company in November following the departure of Nikki Evenden, will be involved with all PLASA Publications.

 
 
Conference on UK Theatre
Monday, 4 December 2000

The first ever cross-industry conference for British theatre to address the challenges and opportunities for its future will take place in London between February 28 and March 3, 2001. Organised by the Society of London Theatre, the Theatrical Management Association and the Independent Theatre Council, key topics of Theatre 2001 will include new ways of working, developing new leadership, new audiences and ways of financing theatre. Speakers include Melvyn Bragg who will open the conference and Richard Eyre whose BBC2 series Changing Stages is currently being shown. There will also be a speech from culture secretary Chris Smith and David Puttnam is scheduled to debate the contrast between the popularity of cinema and the challenges that face theatre. The conference which includes a range of talks, surgery sessions and social events takes place at 1 Great George Street, off Parliament Square.

 
Standards Must be a Priority
Friday, 1 December 2000

The recent news of a third accident involving a rigger at Earls Court & Olympia has provided yet another reminder of the need for the industry to demonstrate that it is not complacent, and establish a set of standards by which it can be judged.

This latest accident happened in late September at Olympia, when David Upton of Unusual Rigging caught his foot whilst fitting a banner to the entrance of the Grand Hall and fell 18ft. Fortunately, it didn’t cost him his life, but it has left him paralysed, and an investigation is now underway by Hammersmith and Fulham Council.

This latest incident has refocused attention on the two earlier fatalies at Earls Court - the death of Kevin O’Brien, a freelance lighting designer working for the SpotCo, in December 1999 and the subsequent death of David Mott, a contractor working for Unusual Rigging, in June this year. L&SI has contacted both the Environmental Services Department of The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the authority responsible for investigating the December fatality, and the Health and Safety Executive, the enforcing authority for the June fatality.

The investigation concerning O’Brien is now complete and the results are currently in the hands of Kensington and Chelsea Borough’s legal department who will decide what action to take next. What that conclusion will be is anybody’s guess, but the inquest on O’Brien, who wasn’t actually an experienced rigger, found that not only was he not on the approved list and somehow gained unauthorised access to the roof of the venu

 
 
SigNET Honoured
Friday, 1 December 2000

The Right Honourable Stephen Byers, Minister of the Department of Trade and Industry, recently visited SigNET AC in recognition of the company’s record of achievement for innovation.

In 1992 the company’s VA system received two industry awards for design and concept. In 1998, the digital distributed system (installed in the largest VAPA site in the world - CLK airport Hong Kong) was granted Millennium Product status by the UK government and in May 2000 the company won SMART Award funding for the development of a new compact networked model.

Stephen Byers represents a constituency in the North East of England and is familiar with the Sunderland Stadium of Light - one of the prime locations in the region to have a SigNET VAPA system. The sound system at the football club has received praise from fans, visiting teams and MPs. However, less well recognised, is the SigNET system of life safety features, control and amplification, which means that in the event of an emergency it is possible to quickly alert and evacuate the spectators from the football ground.

 
Legacy of the Dome
Monday, 27 November 2000

The Legacy consortium (which includes British Telecom, Imperial College, the Open University and Sun Microsystems) has emerged as the preferred bidder for the Millennium Dome. The consortium plans to retain the controversial tent as a place for IT and science-related businesses as part of a £125m business park called Knowledge City. Talks on the deal are still ongoing, but should Legacy's bid for the Dome collapse, there will be no shortage of others to take its place. The owners of Canary Wharf are eyeing the Dome site as a potential aid to its programme of expansion in the area, whilst a consortium of businessmen, including Michael Jackson’s manager, will stump up £135m to transform the Dome into a rock venue.

 
 
Rain Doesn’t Stop Play for TPC
Tuesday, 21 November 2000

Despite considerable amounts of unseasonable rain this summer, work has continued on the construction of a new concert hall for the Philadelphia Orchestra, designed by Theatre Projects Consultants.

The project is managed by David Taylor (pictured) from the Connecticut office of TPC, but George Ellerington of the London wing of Theatre Projects provided the unique theatre equipment package with an array of stage lifts, acoustics banners, hundreds of reverb chamber doors and a 40-ton three-piece canopy, all controlled from a custom PC-based memory system.

The concrete is complete to auditorium level in the concert hall and, to stabilise the building, the attic floor overhead is being poured at present. Despite the difficulties in construction over the summer, the site is being considered for an OSHA safety award. The second performance space, a 550-seat recital theatre is also underway. In this space, the entire auditorium floor can drop on a lift to give a flat floor. A 75ft diameter revolving stage allows for quick change around between a recital hall with a solid end wall and a full-flown dance and drama proscenium theatre. The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts completes in December of 2001.

 
New Contract for New Company
Friday, 17 November 2000

Circle 8 - the new company set up by former PLASA Show Manager Nicky Rowland - has confirmed its first industry contract in its first week of business. Circle 8 will be managing Theme Magazine’s Bar & Restaurant Awards - a series of regional awards dinners, culminating in a spectacular final dinner in London in June 2001. The North West’s awards ceremony has already taken place and the next event will be taking place on Monday 20 November at Brighton’s famous Grand Hotel to celebrate the best in the South East and Home Counties. Circle 8 offers a unique blend of event management, sales and marketing skills that can be applied to the entertainment industry and beyond.

 
 
Do It In The Desert With Gearhouse
Friday, 17 November 2000

There are many places in the world where climate, lack of infrastructure or the absence of a suitable venue have made large-scale events impossible - and there are many such places in Africa. But now Gearhouse South Africa has announced that the Tensile 1 system has arrived on the continent.

Listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest movable venue in the world, the system travels in 10 40ft containers and will be stored in Gearhouse South Africa’s warehouse in Johannesburg. Tensile 1 is a modular system that can be configured in eight basic formats, varying in size to suit requirements: 75m wide and up to 150m long in its largest configuration, the structure can accommodate 8,769 people in theatre layout, seat 12,600 people for a concert or banquet, or provide a dance area big enough for 22,500 people.

"We believe that Tensile 1 will provide exciting opportunities to South Africa’s event makers," says Russell Stephens, national manager with Gearhouse South Africa. "The African continent offers some spectacular venues for functions which have previously been inaccessible." Since landing in South Africa in September, the Tensile 1 has already been used for a product launch by Daimler Chrysler, a dance party in Johannesburg and a luncheon function for government departments.

 
2000 EDDY Awards Announced
Thursday, 16 November 2000

The annual Entertainment Design magazine awards (EDDYs) will be awarded in a ceremony in New York on 8 December. The Awards are given for outstanding contributions in the field of entertainment design and technology, and will this year be awarded to: the design team for Blue Man Group Live at Luxor (Las Vegas); costume designer Ann Roth, whose credits include films such as The Talented Mr Ripley and The English Patient; the design team for Anne Bogart’s SITI company, including lighting designer Mimi Jordan Sherin and sound designer Darron L West; and Tait Towers, builders of sets for concert tours, whose clients include The Rolling Stones, Tina Turner and U2.In the product categories, Sound Products of the Year are the Digidesign ProTools 5.1 software; JBL’s EVO loudspeaker system; Level Control Systems’ CueConsole; Metric Halo Labs Mobile I/O Firewire; the Neutrik MiniLyzer ML1; and the Soundfield Mark 5 microphone system.The EDDY Awards’ Lighting Products of the Year are the Common Sense interface from Artistic Licence; the Hot Shot Distro Panel from George & Goldberg; the Figment DMX from Interactive Technologies; the IPS Capio dimmer series from Rosco/ET; the Strand SLD dimmer series; and the Vari*Lite VL2402 wash luminaire.

 
 
The Big Mission
Thursday, 16 November 2000

Game shows just aren’t what they used to be and Denmark’s ‘Den Store Mission’ (The Big Mission) just may take the prize for, well . . . best prize.

The Big Mission is already generating a lot of interest in Scandinavia with the winner of the competition earning a trip into space aboard the first commercial spacecraft. The Big Mission went on air in October, billed as a competition whose lucky winner will be crowned "First Dane in Space".

The show consists of several ‘levels,’ each presenting a unique challenge in skills relevant to astronaut training - knowledge, physical skills, teamwork and mental strength. Contestants are eliminated over the course of several half-hour shows until The Finals in which 10 contestants remain. Much in the same style as the popular Survivor show, contestants will be eliminated one by one until a final winner remains. The elimination process will include a trip to Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center in the USA, as well as authentic tests previously used to train astronauts.

Martin’s local distributor, Martin Danmark, supplied MAC moving heads including MiniMACs, MX and PAL scanners and a TrackPod followspot system to TV2 studios in Copenhagen. The luminaires were spread across a host of stages and incorporated into the lighting scheme at all levels of the show. Par cans were also used in the lighting scheme. Lighting designer for The Big Mission is Torben Lendorph, with lighting programming completed by Thomas Brockmann.

 
Stolen Truss Update
Monday, 13 November 2000

Just a quick update to our news item last week (Weds Nov 8) concerning a large quantity of truss stolen from Essex-based lighting and production company Knight International. The 7.5 tonne Iveco Truck, which contained an entire ground support system and two covered PA wings, has now been found, minus all the truss! Phil Knight believes that the truss may have been stolen to order or may be sold back into the industry.Anybody with any information should contact Knight International on +44 1245 362133.

 
 
Gatecrasher NYE
Monday, 13 November 2000

Thousands of clubbers are preparing for the New Year’s Eve party of a life-time at Gatecrasher NYE in Ireland’s new £93 million, state-of the art millennium arena The Odyssey in Belfast. The NYE event, which will be broadcast live on Radio 1, is the first in a series of Gatecrasher events planned for Northern and Southern Ireland in 2001. As with all Gatecrasher events, clubbers attending can expect light and laser shows, video imagery and state of the art sound. Kicking off proceedings is Radio 1's Judge Jules who will be joined by Kiss FM's Tall Paul.

 
Multiform Stays Afloat
Sunday, 12 November 2000

No sooner had Sussex-based Multiform Technology Group announced success at the PLASA Show and set out the showroom to include the newest lighting effects from Meteor and Sagitter, than it began to rain!

Multiform’s factory, in close proximity to the swollen River Uck - one of the worst flooded in the South East - was also built two feet below the eventual high water mark of Uckfield town, and therefore suffered a great deal of water damage on and after October 12th 2000.

Help came from all quarters. Once the water had receded enough for the factory doors to be opened, the Multiform team with the help of visitor John Lethbridge, rolled up their sleeves and took up hose pipes, brooms and buckets to clear the invading mud and water. Managing director, Iain Price-Smith told us: "Multiform would like to assure customers that business will return to normal as soon as possible. A large amount of stock has been destroyed, and production will be disrupted for several weeks, but thanks to the dedication of the staff, our office is now fully operational again and open to business."

 
 
Industry Research
Saturday, 11 November 2000

Business Diagnostics, the market research company, had now completed its initial fact-finding first stage of PLASA’s industry research programme. As a result, research questionnaires are being mailed out to all PLASA’s full, corporate and international members in mid November. The intention is to have some baseline results by the end of the year.

 
PLASA Announces SESA Trade Support Programme for 2001/02
Saturday, 11 November 2000

PLASA has announced its programme of supported trade show missions for the 2001/02 financial year, under the SESA (Support for Seminars and Exhibitions Abroad) funding programme.

PLASA is able to sponsor four events in 2001. These will be PLASA Presents Light & Sound Shanghai, 4-6 April 2001 (support available for both exhibition and seminars); Showtech Berlin, 10-13 May 2001; AES 111th New York, 12-15 September and SIB International, Rimini, March 2002. In addition to these, PALA Singapore (July 2001) Expomusic Brazil (August 2001) and LDI Orlando (November 2001) are on the reserve list, pending funding reappraisals by British Trade International (BTI).

This programme breaks new ground for PLASA, as it marks the first ever SESA sponsorship of Showtech, as well as PLASA’s first direct sponsorship of an AES exhibition (AES 110th in Amsterdam, 2001, will be sponsored via APRS). In addition, 2001 marks the transition of PLASA Shanghai from its three-years under the Sector Challenge programme to fully-fledged SESA funding, underlining the maturity of the event.

SESA is the British Government’s system for assisting UK exporters to participate in overseas trade events. It is a Trade Partners UK service run by the British Trade International team of the DTI. BTI brings together into one unit the import/export teams from UK Business Links, the Foreign and Commonwealth offices in British Embassies, Consulates and High Commissions throughout the world, and the country information desks based at the DTI in London.

The SESA funding programme provides a grant of 60%

 
 
Another Order for Artistic
Friday, 10 November 2000

At LDI in Las Vegas last month, for the second year running, Artistic Licence received a Cease and Desist order from Color Kinetics Inc (CKI), relating to Artistic’s LED lighting systems.

CKI holds a patent in the USA for the control of colour-changing LED lighting systems, and claims that Artistic’s LED-based Digital Lighting Product range infringes their intellectual property rights. CKI’s Kathy Pattison told L&SI: "We very much respect what Artistic has done in the DMX community, but where LED systems are concerned, we will defend our intellectual property rights."

Artistic’s Wayne Howell told L&SI: "They turned up with their solicitor at the busiest time of the show, when the booth was full of customers. It really amounts to little more than a childish attempt at harassment." Howell continued: "We have made a number of approaches to this company to try to find out what it is they are upset about. To date we have not received any coherent repsonse. With regard to their claims, there is simply no substance . . . I find it rather insulting to be accused of copying another company’s design. We’re proud of our reputation for innovation."

Pattison, however, told us that CKI has held "multiple discussions, both internally and through counsel" with Artistic Licence.

 
Illuminating Video
Wednesday, 8 November 2000

Visitors from the lighting and creative media worlds were given a unique preview of the kinetic future when Screenco fronted a two-day Illuminated Video Workshop at Three Mills Island Studios recently.

In association with a prime team of concert service providers, including Vari-Lite Production Services, Avolites, Stage One Creative Services, Creative Technology, Aerial Camera Systems, SSE Hire, ShowSec and Vertigo Rigging, the experimental two-day interactive workshop graphically highlighted how the boundaries between the rapidly-converging disciplines of automated lighting and video displays are being pushed back. The workshop was the brainchild of Screenco’s Mike Walker, whose vision for the event was born out of a desire to bring the creative skills of video and lighting together. Production manager for the event was Adam Wildi at Hothouse, assisted by Mary Jefferson from Tiger Productions.

Two leading show lighting designers - Vince Foster and Nick Jevons - were asked by Screenco to blend their visual techniques, with each pursuing a completely different path in two large studios, back to back. For Foster, and VL Virtuoso board operator Theo Cox, it was a conventional live concert stage with a widescreen video display, and for Jevons it was a fast-changing club/dance environment, working in conjunction with DJ Callum Wordsworth to deliver spectacular colour-changing set elements, interacting with live video graphics.

In Studio 8 Vince Foster had produced the 3D visualisation for the band show and presented Theo Cox with the CAD drawings to carry out his o

 
 
Turbosound United Play at Chelsea FC
Monday, 6 November 2000

As a prelude to the recent PLASA 2000 show, Turbosound held its annual convention at Chelsea Village - home of Chelsea FC.

The day-long event was attended by a number of Turbosound’s international and UK distributors, as well as main installers. Following initial addresses by chairman Mike O’Flynn and managing director Alan Wick, sales appraisal and strategy reports were given by Gary Smith and Bill Woods respectively.

Distributors were honoured with awards for outstanding sales activity within given categories, and the day’s formal activities concluded with a briefing about new Turbosound products in the marketplace.

(Reports that Chelsea only allowed in one UK distributor are untrue.)

 
Correction: Stageline
Sunday, 5 November 2000

In May 2000, we reported that Stageline had launched legal proceedings aginst Five Corners seeking a number of injunctions to prevent Five Corners from trading.

We also reported that as a result of Stageline’s claim being rejected by the Quebec courts, Stageline was ordered to pay $22,500 to Five Corners.

However our further investigation into these matters has demonstrated that legal action was not taken against Five Corners but against its owner Carl Richard, who counter-claimed in the same proceedings. We apologise to Stageline for any innaccuracies in our news item. As we now understand it, relief was granted to each party in relation to their claims and counter-claims.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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