The Queens Birthday Honours list paid tribute to a number of those working on the creative and technical sides of the arts and entertainment industry. Theatre director, and more latterly Oscar-winning film director, Sam Mendes was rewarded with a CBE for his services to drama. Two of the principal talents behind the Dome were also honoured; Timothy Gardom, responsible for the content of the body and faith zones, becomes an MBE, while Mark Fisher receives an OBE for his work as creative director of the Millennium Show staged in the Dome's central arena. Vivien Duffield, a director of the Royal Opera House for 14 years who is credited with raising £100m for the recent £214m refurbishment, was awarded a DBE, whilst Neil Bartlett, artistic director of the Lyric Hammersmith, and Derek Deane, artistic director of the English National Ballet both received OBEs.
PLASA's annual AGM took place at The Belfry Hotel near Birmingham on June 15th, attended by around 60 representatives of member companies. PLASA Chairman Mick Hannaford reported on a successful year for the Association which had seen key advances in the range of services and initiatives offered to members. He also covered the Association's review of its Code of Ethics, outlining the way in which a Code of Business Ethics and an Appeals Procedure might be implemented. It is a move the Association has been wishing to make for some time and will give PLASA more direct powers to act in the interests of all the members by dealing with companies who fail to meet certain standards. Afterwards, the Members voted in favour of adopting the Code.PLASA Treasurer Sammy de Havilland then outlined the financial position of the Association noting that it had reached its reserve targets and was now in a strong position to drive new initiatives forward. Following the AGM, PLASA MD Matthew Griffiths gave a brief presentation on the future of the Association. He talked first about the PLASA Show and how successful the Exhibitor Forum had been in influencing its shape and format. He also highlighted the introduction of a number of new features for the Show this year, including a new technology showcase. Matthew then referred to one of the key projects PLASA is pursuing this year – that of qualitative and quantitative Industry Research on which subject he handed the floor over to facilitator Phil Pratt who explained to members the rationale behind the Industry Research programme. During th
PCM is running its next two-day Columbus McKinnon Lodestar Motor Schools on 27-28 June and 29-30 June respectively. PCM has now trained over 800 owners, specifiers and users of Lodestar Motors via these invaluable hands-on workshops. PCM's Motor Schools, which are still free of charge, offers attendees a comprehensive, hands-on overview of the CM Lodestar motor. There is also a basic motor trouble shooting session. Once again, the event will be broadened by trussing, ground support and metalwork specialists James Thomas Engineering. Further Motor schools will follow throughout the year as part of PCM's on-going commitment to training.
The Production Services Association (PSA) Council announced on June 14th that some significant changes are to be made in the day-to-day running of the Association. Keith Ferguson is now to concentrate fully on the Training and Qualifications initiatives. He will also move forward with his role as a trustee of the Welfare & Benevolent Fund, which recently achieved full charitable status. Consequently, a search for a new general manager is to start shortly, with a view to securing an appointment by the end of the year.
PLASA Exclusive: The company responsible for trucking the Spice Girls' tour kit have landed in hot water following the arrest of two of their number charged with smuggling Ecstasy, worth £3.5million, into Britain. Roxsett's MD David Wilson and general manager John Lewis have both been arrested following a swoop by customs men at Dover who stopped the Roxsett truck when it arrived back in the UK from The Netherlands. Sniffer dogs found the Ecstasy stashed between audio and lighting equipment. Both men appeared at Dover Magistrates Court last week and pleaded not guilty. Bail has been refused and the two now face a Crown Court trial.
Leading names in the world of sound and lighting are supporting the next generation of broadcasters by sponsoring the students of Ravensbourne College of Design and communication, South London, in their Ravensbourne on Air showcase, on Wednesday 14 June. Strand, Pearsons, Yamaha, Avolites and Primarc are just a few of the companies which have thrown their weight behind the event by lending equipment to or directly funding the students at the National Centre of Excellence for Broadcasting to facilitate the programming of the six-hour schedule. The day is an opportunity for representatives from the broadcast industry to see for themselves the direct relevance of Ravensbourne's courses to their particular area of the industry.
An old laundry in South West London is now a 'hard hat' zone as work gets underway on the construction of Sphere Studios - the most ambitious music recording complex to be built in the capital for many years. The new studio is set to rival London's finest and will operate as a fully commercial venture incorporating three main control rooms dedicated to tracklaying, stereo mixing and 5.1 surround mixing. The main partners behind Sphere are musician and producer Francesco Cameli and Malcolm Atkin, formerly general manager of Sir George Martin's Air Lyndhurst facility. During the construction of Air Lyndhurst Atkin was involved in all aspects of its design and later took responsibility for its commercial operation.
Showlight 2001 - the conference for lighting professionals - takes place in Edinburgh in May next year and offers delegates opportunities not to be missed. An afternoon at the Strand factory in Kirkcaldy will give visitors an inside look at one of the lighting industry's leading companies with other visits ranging from the technical to theatre to distilleries - taking in some of the most notable landmarks in and around Edinburgh. These include Edinburgh Castle, famous for the Edinburgh Tattoo, St Andrew's Castle and Cathedral and Glenturret Distillery. Another definite date for the diary is the Showlight Dinner, this year sponsored by Strand Lighting, which takes place at the magnificent Hopetoun House. Inclusive in the registration fee, this is a chance for you to wine and dine alongside some of the biggest names in the lighting industry. We are currently looking for innovative speakers to fill the last couple of available spaces. So, if you would like the opportunity to speak at Showlight 2001, telephone +44 (0) 1323 642 639.
PLASA Publishing has learnt that John Jeffcoat died of a heart attack on Sunday June 4th. Jeffcoat was one of the industry's more colourful characters and had a long career in this industry. In the seventies he founded Meteor Illusion with Tony Gottelier, and then later established another distribution company - Son et Lumiere - before joining Optikinetics in the mid eighties as director of export sales. He stayed with the company five years before moving out of the industry to run his own hotel business. He later returned to the industry working first with the Multiform Technology Group and then subsequently setting up his own company - Yes - which distributed tiny smoke machines.
Millennium Multi Media.com, a new internet-oriented digital and traditional entertainment, technology and communications company, is to build the Millennium Entertainment Center, a $20 million, 60,000 square feet, two-level dome housing a revolutionary entertainment venue situated on five and a half acres of Las Vegas' famed strip. The MEC, will accommodate 2,000 customers, and unlike other Vegas venues will have no gaming elements. The main elements of the venue will be a range of conference facilities and a nightclub - the key attraction of which will be a computerised light and laser projection show featuring interior fireworks, falling snow, lightning, twisters, and a host of other computer graphic and holographic effects. World-renowned supper club impresario, Mark Fleischman, former owner of Studio 54 and creator of the well-known Tatou dinner clubs, will head the project.
The 54th Annual Tony Awards took place at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City yesterday. The success of Contact, which features a prerecorded track with no original music and which picked up a Tony Award for Best New Musical, will no doubt further fuel the debate about what constitutes a musical. Michael Frayn's Copenhagen collected the prize for Best New Play, whilst a revival of Cole Porter's Kiss Me, Kate collected five Tonys, including Best Musical Revival. Austalian director Michael Blakemore, who now lives in Britain, became the first person to win both Best Director of a Play (Copenhagen) and Best Director of a Musical (Kiss me Kate) in the same year. Elton John and Tim Rice won the Tony for best Score for Aida which also earned Bob Crowley a Tony for best Scenic Design and Natasha Katz the award for Best Lighting Design. The prize for Best Revival went to Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing, whilst the award for Best Book of a Musical went to Richard Nelson for James Joyce's The Dead. The Tonys are still remarkably poor at recognising technical excellence – apart from the awards for scenic design and lighting (both of which went to Aida) there is scant recognition of the part played by our industry and particularly notable by its absence is any recognition for the sound designer.
Meanwhile, just up the road in Winchester, the staff of Whitwams Sound & Vision have moved 12m across the High Street to temporary accommodation, while they wait to move the business into its new, customised premises. The company has been based at 70 High Street, Winchester since 1909 - so they are understandably reluctant to move too far in one go.
Construction work has started on Amptown Cases' Peterborough warehouse and office premises, which are being extended and refurbished along with the addition of new workshops. The existing facilities will be more than doubled in size, and the work is scheduled for completion by the end of June. An extra telephone line and switchboard has also been installed to cope with the increasing volume of business. The new number is +44
Brähler ICS, the audience response and electronic voting specialist, has produced a 20-page handbook dealing with all aspects of audience interaction. The booklet, called Setting the Scene, covers the overall 'interactive loop' and a free copy is available to anyone in the business. Telephone +44 1223 461146.
A new consultancy company has been formed to oversee sound system installations in all areas of professional audio. Sound Savers founder Brian Levine is using the services of Stephen Court to look at sound system quotations and proposals. He told PLASA Publishing: "Over the last few years, we have been asked to look at several quotations for new sound systems in every area from clubs and theatres to stadiums, and were frequently surprised by, not only the choice of equipment, but the prices where we discovered cost reductions could be made without sacrificing sound quality. We were asked to vet some of these quotes, and in many cases, saved the clients several thousand pounds on the final costs." Sound Saver's latest project is a stadium in France where the overall sound distribution was increased by 4dB and the budget for sound reduced by 15%. The company is also working on a new club installation in London to reduce problems with sound leakage.
Martin Professional A/S has acquired the remaining 49% of shares in Martin Professional Italy making the Italian company fully owned by Martin Professional A/S. Managing director Mario Radice is leaving the company and will be replaced by Pio Nahum who will also continue in his role as Group sales and marketing director.
Batmink Ltd, distributor for a wide range of product lines including those from American DJ, Genius, Lite Puter and MBN, has purchased further offices and warehouse facilities covering some 1500sq.m. Managing director David Churches commented: "In line with our continual expansion, the new premises will allow a greater stockholding, especially on our sole imported lines." To coincide with the move to new premises, Batmink will be holding a massive auction of sound and lighting equipment on Sunday July 16th.Further details and an auction catalogue are available by calling
Boath Audio Visual are offering a substantial reward for equipment that was stolen from the company in early May. A Mr F Belhadj, who gave a false address in Worthing, hired a range of equipment, including JBL speakers (serial no: 18017), a Crest amplifier (serial no: CA12 9404392), Citronic mixer (serial no: A611B903A0288), Yamaha multi-effects unit (serial no: 65238), two MAD Madscans (serial nos: 27006, 27006B) and a Le Maitre G150 smoke machine (serial no: 0563). The list also included a Shure radio mic system, Numark twin CD player, Opti White Lightning strobe and an Apollo Equinox lighting effect.The equipment has never been returned and BAV believe that Belhadj is now in Tunisia, though the equipment may still be in the Sussex area. If you have been offered any of this equipment or can help, please contact Brighton Police Station on 0845 6070999 - quote crime reference no: C1/8661/00 or John Boath at BAV on Tel: +44 (0) 1273 600678.
Production Resource Group has restructured, combining the PRG Lighting Group and Audio Group into a single operating unit, the Lighting/Audio Group. The two divisions will continue to be branded separately in their individual markets, but will be managed by a single group of senior PRG management. Some of the key elements of the new organisational structure include the appointment of Don Knezovic as the chief operating officer of the Lighting/Audio Group, whilst Steve Terry becomes President of Lighting Systems. Nick Jackson continues as president of Light & Sound Design (LSD) with Jeff Senkovich promoted to the new position of vice-president of Lighting/Audio. Don Stern, chairman of the Lighting/Audio Group, is assuming responsibility for Production Arts' rental sales and operations.
A new company has been formed in Italy to offer marketing services to the entertainment industry. Located in Gradara, Italy, and headed by Stefano Bossoli, Made in Italy will act as marketing and business consultants, and will offer overseas contractors, installers and distributors with a consultancy service covering the cinema, theatre, live event, pubs and clubs markets.
A package of film production initiatives backed by a total fund of £22 million has been launched by the Film Council, the new strategic organisation set up by the Government to create a coherent structure for the UK film industry and to develop film culture in the UK. The package includes a Film Development Fund of £5 million a year to support the development of a stream of high quality, innovative and commercially attractive screenplays; a Premiere Production Fund of £10 million a year for the production of popular mainstream films, and a New Cinema Fund of £5 million a year to back radical and experimental film-makers, especially new talent, and to explore new electronic production technologies.
Martin Professional's Florida-based US subsidiary, Martin Professional Inc, has announced plans to move into a new facility early in the year 2001. The new office will be built in the Sawgrass International Corporate Park in Sunrise, Florida, just a short drive from the existing building. It will give Martin US personnel twice as much working space with a 3,106sq.m warehouse, 200sq.m showroom, and nearly 900sq.m of office space and other facilities. Completion date for the new building is expected to be just after the start of the new year.
It is anticipated that Bob Ayling, the chairman of the New Millennium Experience Company, the operation behind the Millennium Dome, will resign today as part of a deal to secure funding. Britain's Millennium Commission offered a cash injection of £29 million yesterday on condition that Ayling goes. The Dome's chief executive, Pierre-Yves Gerbeau, had approached the Millennium Commission for the extra money in the hope of saving 5,000 jobs and preventing bankruptcy. Despite being the UK's most popular tourist attraction it has fallen way short of its stated visitor target and speculation that it may be sold before the end of the year is gaining momentum.
Star Hire has started the new Millennium by committing to work towards the Investors In People National Standard. This step has involved detailed inward examination of the company's policies and working practices, with subsequent formalising and tightening up of existing procedures. The company has developed its own training programme and have recently implemented its largest ever training programme.