The Ambassador Theatre Group Limited (ATG) has recently added a further seven high profile London venues to the ATG portfolio, bringing its total holdings to 16 buildings and consolidating its position as a major industry player. The seven theatres, previously managed by Associated Capital Theatres, include the Donmar, Albery, Phoenix, Piccadilly, Wyndhams, Comedy and Whitehall and are renowned for playing host to a variety of first class productions. The Group currently owns and operates the Duke of York's and the New Ambassadors in London's West End, the Ambassadors Centre in Woking and also the historic Theatre Royal, Brighton.
World-class arts facilities are proposed in Rick Mather's Masterplan for the South Bank. The draft plan for the 30-acre South Bank site, from County Hall to Waterloo Bridge, includes a brand new British Film Institute showcase, the bfi Film Centre, a new concert hall to be built beneath the park and a new performance and conference complex. Phase 1 will see a major refurbishment of the Royal Festival Hall which will include a new lecture and recital hall and improved education facilities, as well as work on the auditorium to upgrade the technical facilities and improve the acoustics. The total cost of this first phase will be between £40 million and £50 million. Already the Heritage Lottery Fund has agreed an in-principle award of £12.5 million for the public spaces. In respect of the auditorium and acoustics SBC is to apply to the Arts Council of England Lottery Fund for a portion of the £25 million allocated to the arts aspects of the development. Phase 2 will address The Jubilee Gardens and Hungerford site and includes extending Jubilee Gardens. Beneath the Hungerford end of the park, a new flexible middle-sized concert hall will be built. This is where the new bfi Film Centre will also be situated. Phase 3 covers The Waterloo Site. The Hayward Gallery is to be retained as a stand-alone building, refurbished and extended within its existing site. Full story March L&SI.
Following an audit by Quay Audit Limited, Stagetec successfully obtained certification to ISO 9001 Standard. According to Andy Stone, adopting the procedure within these standards will make the company more efficient and enable it to continually improve the levels of customer satisfaction.
Specialist commercial sound supply and installation company Willow Vale has been acquired by Connect Distribution Services Ltd, a £20M turnover company based in Birmingham. All operations will be conducted from Birmingham, and the company will continue to use the name Willow Vale.
At the recent Live! Awards, PCM's John Jones presented the PSA (Production Services Association) with a third cheque in support of its Welfare and Benevolent Fund. The cheque, for £2,190, was presented by PCM's John Jones to Fund trustee, Mike Lethby. This third instalment refers to PCM's 'sponsorship' of the PSA's Welfare and Benevolent Fund launched in February 1999. The total donated by PCM now tops £7,000. The deal is linked directly to PCM's sale of Columbus McKinnon Lodestar hoists: for every Lodestar purchased in the UK through PCM, £10 is donated to the Welfare Fund. PSA chairman Keith Ferguson commented: "We thank PCM for their hugely motivating gesture, and hope that it will encourage others to support the Fund and ensure its future."
The 2000 Live! Awards saw companies including Avolites, Klark Teknik, Pulsar & Clay Paky, PCM, PSL, RG Jones and Sennheiser joining forces to produce a highly successful night. The entertainment for the evening featured the customary reception and three-course dinner, followed by a short set from singer Sam Brown and Deep Purple keyboard maestro Jon Lord. The Awards were presented by legendary artist Ian Dury in fine form, who displayed his well-known flair and humour to full effect and was rewarded with a standing ovation at the end of the ceremony.
The Lighting Division of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers and the Institution of Lighting Engineers has launched the programme for a millennium lighting conference to be held in York from 9-11 July 2000. The conference will include sessions and case studies on remote source lighting, quality in lighting and light pollution.
TFE Concerts, aligned to The Full Effect, has appointed a new events and marketing manager responsible for concerts, roadshows and other outdoor music events. Clare Sugars, formerly of the Royal Festival Hall, has been brought in to manage all Year 2000 Music Events staged by TFE.
Demospec, the specialist French manufacturer of cinema screens and other projection surfaces, has been acquired by the Harkness Hall Group. The acquisition creates a company with operations in the UK, USA and continental Europe, giving the Group an increased ability to meet the needs of customers worldwide. The two companies will share products, manufacturing and technology. Andrew Robinson, managing director of Harkness Hall Group, said: "The enlarged group has the capability of serving the cinema, theatre, exhibition, conference and special venue markets with the specialised products needed. The Harkness Hall Group is even better placed to serve a market which has become increasingly international in recent years."
Following its recent acquisition of equipment servicing company Cimple Solutions, FX has established a new division to provide a pro audio equipment servicing facility to its customers. The move has been made in order, say the company, to address many of the complaints that are currently levelled at service companies - including reporting job progress, time taken over repairs and the cost and speed of collection and deliveries. FX Cimple Solutions is headed by Cliff Whitehead.
Mackie Designs Inc and Eastern Acoustic Works Inc have announced that they have signed a non-binding letter of intent by which Mackie will purchase all shares of EAW. Mackie is well known as a manufacturer of pro audio systems for a wide range of applications, whilst EAW is recognised as one of the world's leading high-end professional loudspeaker design and manufacturing companies - in 1999 it recorded sales in excess of $40 million. Both sides point out that the majority of each company's day-to-day operations will remain separate, including product distribution channels. EAW will remain based in Whitinsville, its current corporate headquarters and manufacturing site.
Attempting to live up to its name slightly too literally, The Moving Light Company - and its entire stock of moving lights - has moved. But not far - the company can now be found at Unit 8 Parsons Green Depot, just a few metres further along and on the opposite side of the depot from its old base. Formed in 1994 to handle the increasing demand for automated lighting technology, The Moving Light Company has since provided equipment to a huge range of theatrical productions, concerts, trade shows, films and even a performance at Buckingham Palace! The company's growing stock levels necessitated its move to larger premises.
A further day in High Court has been scheduled for March 2000 for the case between Paul Madden (Intimate Studios) and GLW (the manufacturer of Harrison recording consoles). The hearing will address the claim for £400,000 against GLW in regard to the alleged failure of the Series Twelve Music console, which was installed at Intimate Studios in London, to perform acceptably and the termination of an associated marketing contract. It will also consider if it would be best heard in the USA. GLW's contention is that Intimate Studios' Paul Madden obtained the console in the full knowledge that the Series Twelve as configured for music was in development, therefore any terms in regard to 'fit for purpose' did not apply to this sale. Further action is being undertaken by the finance company who purchased the console from GLW in 1995.
After years of alternating between being supplier and client to each other, Triple E and Blackout, best known as suppliers of track and drapes respectively, have announced a merger of the two companies. The announcement, by the two managing directors David Edelstein and Steve Tuck, was made from a joint stand at the SIEL exhibition in Paris. Trading as Blackout Triple E with immediate effect, the new company offers a complete in-house design and manufacturing service for custom drapes and hardware, as well as a hire service for track, drapes and rigging. Current investment plans include dramatically expanding the rigging division with the addition of 80 CM Lodestar chain hoists.
Publisher Highbury House has made moves to purchase rival Nexus, publishers of Live!, DJ magazine and Disco International. The Nexus titles will add to an already substantial Highbury portfolio of around 40 magazines ranging from technical publications such as Camcorder User through to home interest titles such as Women's Health. The Group also publishes a further 50 under contract. The acquisition of Nexus will be the latest in a string of investments for Highbury: in March 99 it formed a joint venture with Internet Advertising to publish magazines on the internet, three months later it bought Wyvern Crest, a database marketing company, for £3.7m and in September 99 it acquired WV, publisher of consumer magazines, for £7m.
Since its inception 25 years ago, Suffolk-based Gofer has expanded from a power distribution company to being a complete event service company. As a result, it has recently moved to new premises, increasing its capacity three-fold, with 12,500sq.m of warehousing and 1.5 acres of land to house its equipment, plus a canvas covered swimming pool and jacuzzi for those times when stress relief is required. Re-structuring within the company has also taken place - Gofer is now divided into three autonomous divisions: lighting, sound and power distribution. Each department has its own highly experienced team, with directors Dave Miller and Rob Quin at the helm.
Arup Acoustics, the specialist group within Arup offering consultancy on all areas of acoustics, noise, vibration and audio visual design, is establishing a new office in Manchester. The company has already handled a number of high profile projects in Manchester, including the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester Airport and the International Convention Centre, and will use the new base to offer its growing number of clients in the North of England a more efficient service. Richard Greer, Nick Antonio and Jo Webb will make up the acoustics team in Manchester.
PLASA Publishing has learnt that Harman Pro Group North America has reached a preliminary agreement to acquire Crown International, the Elkhart, Indiana-based manufacturer of power amplification products. According to Mark Terry, president of Harman Pro Group North America, the acquisition is expected to close within a month and is subject to the ratification of a definitive agreement. "The addition of Crown's amplifier brand will increase the power and appeal of the entire Group to customers around the world."
At the recent AGM of the Society of Television Lighting Designers (STLD), the Society honoured the support it had received over the past 25 years from Strand Lighting. Bernie Davies, secretary of the STLD, presented a special award to Alan Luxford, Strand's long-serving sales manager, who was present at the very first meeting of the STLD which was held at Strand Electric's King Street showroom in Covent Garden, and has supported the society ever since.
PLASA Publishing has received official confirmation that Cue Pro Audio Services went into liquidation at the close of last year. The company, based in London offered a repair service to the audio industry and was an authorised service centre for a host of manufacturers Carver, Denon, Furman, Omniphonics, Sony, Panasonic, Ramsa, RTS, Telex, Kramer and Yamaha. A creditors meeting took place on the 22nd November, 1999, at which point insolvency practitioners McCann Taylor were appointed as liquidators.
PLASA Publishing has learnt that VLPS (Europe) is to be sold to a European-based consortium. Although the move has not been officially confirmed by parent company Vari-Lite International Inc, VLPS Europe is understood to have all but completed the paperwork for a management buy-out backed by a venture capital company based in Sweden. A letter of intent is in place and confirmation of the deal is expected in the next few weeks. Vari-Lite Europe, together with Theatre Projects/Concert Productions and Brilliant Stages, became part of the Vari-Lite Inc Group in 1994 when the Samuelson Group sold off the companies. It later merged with Theatre Projects to form VLPS London.
Dolby Laboratories has announced that MARS (Multimedia Archive & Retrieval Systems) On-line has begun using Dolby Digital for the delivery of audio to professional broadcasters and the production community via the Internet. MARS On-line provides an Internet library music archive via a comprehensive on-line database search engine. The audio is stored, encoded and distributed using Liquid Audio technology, which employs Dolby Digital audio encoding.
The recently-opened Royal Opera House isn't experiencing much luck since its £214 million redevelopment. Following technical problems and cancellations on a run of recent productions, the Opera House was beset by further problems during a recent performance of Sir Harrison Birtwistle's Gawain. The production was brought to a halt part-way through a performance when one of the lift mechanisms intended to transport a performer into position failed to operate effectively. The production was temporarily halted and later resumed - by the time the curtain came down it had fallen 40 minutes behind schedule.
ESTA has announced that the draft American National Standard BSR E1.14, Entertainment Technology - Recommendations for Inclusions in Fog Machine Manuals, is available for public review until March 14, 2000. The draft standard applies to the instruction manuals for fog machines manufactured for use in the entertainment industry, and describes what information should be included in fog machine manuals to help ensure that users operate these machines safely and effectively. A copy of the above standard may be obtained from the ESTA website at www.esta.org/tsp/ or by writing to: Technical Standards Manager, ESTA, 875 Sixth Avenue, Suite 2302, New York, NY 10001, USA.