General News

Hotcakes Appoints New Board Directors
Friday, 1 September 2000

Live event company Hotcakes has today announced the formal appointment of five senior figures to its new Board of Directors. The Board will consist of Chris Spencer (executive producer and managing director), Helene Spencer (visual director), Sean Canning (creative director), Dick Tee (production director) and Alison Esse (communications director). The Board has been formalised as the company enters a new phase of development and expansion. Hotcakes already designs, produces and manages creative shows and live events for a number of different brands and organisations in the UK, including Marks & Spencer, Cosmopolitan Show and Prima, as well as the creative production for International Festival of the Sea, and will be announcing new projects in the near future.

BBC Science Programme Needs Your Help!
Friday, 1 September 2000

Dream Lives, a BBC Science documentary series, is looking for companies to come forward with information on the latest in DJ and music equipment. The programme is trying to help the residents of an estate in Hackney, London. There are about 600 kids on the estate and nothing for them to do, but they are particularly interested in music and are desperate for a chance to channel and build on their talents. Dream Lives is hoping to re-open their disused youth club and give young people on the estate a chance to learn skills, build confidence and have fun with the latest technology. Dream Lives will replace Tomorrow's World on BBC1 for six weeks in January 2001. If you are a company that specialises in the latest, high-tech music equipment and are interested in finding out more about this community project, please call Clare Beavis on 0208 752 6433 as soon as possible.

Martin Reaches Settlement with Vari-Lite
Thursday, 31 August 2000

Martin Professional A/S has reached a settlement with Vari-Lite Inc which sees the lifting of the injunction against the Martin MAC 500s, MAC 600s and MAC 300s in the US market. The two companies had been locked in a long-running legal battle over the issue of the manufacture and sale of the MAC units which also extended to the company's Case series controller when sold in conjunction with these. Only two months ago, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit had reaffirmed the injunction, rejecting Martin's claim that the patent expired in July 2000, ruling instead that it did not expire until March 2001. For Martin Professional, the settlement means a return to full trading freedom in the United States, which is expected to contribute positively towards the company's future development in terms of both turnover and profitability. With the recent release of a half-year financial report showing significant growth and profitability over 1999, the return of the full MAC range to the American market is expected to have a further positive impact.

Cardiff's Visual Arts Centre Closes
Thursday, 24 August 2000

The Centre for Visual Arts in Cardiff is to close in November with the loss of 40 jobs, due to low visitor numbers. The Centre is the largest gallery in Wales showing new and historical art from Wales and around the world. It is also home to Fantasmic, one of the UK's only hands-on interactive galleries. In an announcement on the venue's website, the trustees state that the decision has been forced upon them by the refusal of the officers of the Arts Council of Wales to work with them to explore the ways forward recommended in the independent review of the Centre. During the period before final closure, the Trustees hope that the Chairman and Council of ACW will convince the National Assembly of the value of implementing the preferred option recommended by the independent report.

BBC Studios Shut
Thursday, 24 August 2000

The BBC is to close its studios at Pebble Mill, Birmingham, with the loss of 90 staff. According to reports, modern technology is now allowing programme makers to operate outside of a studio setting, so some facilities are no longer needed. Pebble Mill will continue with 600 people and will make location-based lifestyle programmes.

Briggs Joins Hotcakes
Monday, 21 August 2000

Former deputy show director of the Cosmopolitan Show, Matt Briggs, has joined brand experience consultancy Hotcakes as a full-time producer. The appointment of Briggs, who has worked closely with Hotcakes for the past two years in producing Cosmopolitan Show's award-winning catwalk show, underlines Hotcakes' push to recruit skilled individuals from a variety of sectors. His responsibilities will include the initiation and management of projects, close client liaison, co-ordinating the teams allocated to each event, controlling and managing budgets and production schedules and identifying and acting on opportunities as and when they arise.

The Future of Music
Tuesday, 15 August 2000

The New Technology Group of the Music Industry Forum has released a new report (backed by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport), which examines the impact of new technologies on the music industry. Entitled 'Consumers Call the Tune', the report makes a number of key recommendations namely that the Government creates an open competitive environment for on-line delivery by creating a common regulatory framework as well as a secure legislative framework for trading copyright on-line in the UK, Europe and beyond. It also highlights the need for ongoing research into consumer behaviour on-line and market statistics about e-commerce.

ESTA Standards Announcements
Monday, 14 August 2000

ESTA, the US-based Entertainment Services and Technology Association, has announced the formation of a new Floors Working Group, which has been set up in order to address about the slipperiness and rigidity of stage floors and platforms - attributes which affect the safety of performing on these surfaces. The first meeting will take place prior to LDI 2000 on Wednesday 18 October at Harrah's, Las Vegas. Tim Hansen of Oasis Stage Werks is the working group chairman, and all interested parties are urged to attend.ESTA has also announced the start of work by its Electrical Power Working Group on a new American National Standard - BSR E1.16, Configuration Standard for Metal-Halide Ballast Power Cables, to help ensure compatibility between the detachable power cords used on various brands of discharge ballasts for studio luminaires. Interested parties are invited to join the Electrical Power Working Group or to comment on the draft document when it is offered for public review.

Seelite Technical Courses
Friday, 11 August 2000

Seelite has organised a series of workshops. The first covers the fundamentals of the software programme WYSIWYG. Lars Nissen and Leif Hellberg will introduce participants to WYSIWYG demonstrating how it was used on earlier projects such as the Danish Eurovision Song Contest 2000 and the Danish Grammys 2000. The briefings will take place in Aarhus on Tuesday 3 and Wednesday 4 October and in Copenhagen on Monday 9 and Tuesday 10 October. The company is also organising a rigging course, led by Martin Svane and Martin Corneliussen. Participants will become acquainted with subjects such as suspension of equipment, personal safety, choice and use of gear, and, finally, use of truss systems. The course is mainly theoretical, but includes a few practical features. This takes place on Copenhagen on Wenesday 1 November and Aarhus on Monday 2 November.

Frank Matcham Conference: Isle of Man
Wednesday, 9 August 2000

A one-day conference will take place on Saturday 2nd September to celebrate the life and work of theatre architect Frank Matcham and the centenary of his beautifully-restored Gaiety Theatre and Opera House on the Isle of Man. The conference, to be held at the Manx Museum in Douglas, will focus upon the restoration of the Gaiety Theatre and the wider work of Matcham, who, during his amazing career, designed and rebuilt over 160 theatres in the British Isles -London's Palladium, Coliseum and Victoria Palace theatres, the Theatre Royal, Newcastle and the Olympia Liverpool amongst them. Speakers from the world of theatre history and architectural conservation will come together to discuss Matcham's influence. Delegates will also have an opportunity to see a performance of The Corsican Brothers on the Saturday evening, followed by a tour of the Gaiety Theatre on Sunday 3 September.

Event Services Company Opens UK Office
Monday, 7 August 2000

Generale Location has augmented its worldwide presence by establishing a London office. With its head office in Lyon and further offices in Paris, throughout France, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Australia and the Middle East, the company has expanded its impressive product range of temporary structures, exhibition stands, lighting, sound and audio-visual services to include daylight LED display systems with the purchase of 72sq.m of Megascreen, engineered and built by Unitek Displays Ltd. With the system's debut at the 'Bollywood' Film Awards held recently at the Millennium Dome, GL then flew the system to Singapore for the country's National Day Parade Celebrations. The company's UK's sales manager is Anita Tate (née Page), formerly of Screenco and Unitek. This expansion of Generale Location's network of offices takes place simultaneously with one of the company's biggest contracts to date, namely official supplier of all temporary structures and seating to the Sydney Olympic Games in September.

Clarion Retains Cricket Trophy ( . . . by default)
Friday, 4 August 2000

On Wednesday August 2nd, at the idyllic setting of Littlewick Green Cricket Club, Berkshire, Clarion Events (organiser of the PLASA Show) managed to retain the Hayden Laboratories Annual Pro Sound and Lighting Cricket Trophy. This shock result was thanks largely to poor weather and the unbounded generosity of opposition team captains and gentlemen, Simon Curtis (Hayden Laboratories) and Paul DeVille (Lighting Technology), not to mention Clarion's inclusion of some extremely talented individuals who, James Brooks-Ward assured us, do work for Clarion, honestly.This was the second annual competition for the Hayden Laboratories trophy, which Clarion (then P&O Events) won last year. Interest in the event had grown significantly since 1999, so that three teams took part this year - Clarion, Lighting and Sound. Taking the rather damp field were representatives of Hayden Labs, Lighting Technology, Avolites, DHA Lighting, Stage Electrics, Barco, PLASA, L&SI, Le Maitre, LMC Audio and Celestion, with scoring by Mondiale - many thanks to all involved. Next year, the Lighting and Sound teams plan to get even - weather permitting.

Numbers Change at PLASA Publishing
Friday, 4 August 2000

Our telephone numbers at PLASA Publishing have changed. The old number - 01323 642639- has now been replaced by a new number - 01323 418400. Callers to the old number will, for the time being, be redirected to the new one automatically. The PLASA office number remains 01323 410335, although each member of staff at head office will now also have a direct line. The fax number for the entire office - 01323 646905 - remains unchanged.

Phil Ward Steps Down From PSNE
Thursday, 3 August 2000

Phil Ward has announced his resignation as editor of Pro Sound News Europe, effective from October 20th. Ward has been editing the title since 1994 for Miller Freeman UK, who recently sold their stable of magazine titles - which also includes Studio Sound, Installation Europe, Pro Sound News Asia and What's New in Pro Audio - to United Business Media.

Martin Retailer Roadshow
Monday, 31 July 2000

Martin Professional is launching its first national UK Roadshow with a specially equipped 'customised' coach that will tour Martin Preferred Retailers this August and November. The coach, which will feature Martin, JEM and Mach equipment, will offer Preferred Retailers the opportunity to host their own customer open days using the bus as a central feature.

Dome to Become Theme Park
Friday, 28 July 2000

It was announced yesterday that the Dome Europe bid has won the race to take over the Millennium Dome in the new year. The company plans to turn the beleagured venue into a high-tech leisure attraction - based on the theme of Europe. The bid, backed by Japanese finance house Nomura, was widely regarded as the front runner, and the company will assume control of the attraction when the current exhibition closes at the end of this year. The rival bid from the Legacy consortium aimed to turn the dome into a new technology park - create a British version of Silicon Valley. The new attraction will be built by Dome Europe's partners in the bid, Hyper Entertainment, whose credits to date include successful leisure attractions in San Francisco, Berlin and Tokyo. A key attraction of the new Dome will be virtual reality version of the Beatles' Yellow Submarine film, while the BBC has offered to provide other content, based on popular productions like Eastenders and Walking with Dinosaurs. Dome Europe has also promised to keep some of the existing Millennium attractions and will consider continuing the daily live show. Incredibly, Dome Europe has said it hopes to open the new attraction in time for school half-term holidays in February 2001 - leaving a very short space of time in which to turn around the Dome's fortunes.

Telex Relocates Corporate HQ
Friday, 28 July 2000

Telex Communications Inc has moved its corporate headquarters to a new location in the Minneapolis area. The new building will house all sales, marketing, engineering and administrative functions for Telex Communications and its professional audio, wireless and multimedia communications products. The new address is 12000 Portland Ave. South, Burnsville, MN, 55337. The main telephone number remains the same, with a new area code: 952-884-4051.The move, which significantly expands Telex's space to approximately 115,000sq.ft, was brought about by strong performance across all the company's product lines and the need to position the company for future. Telex, which employs 300 people in Minneapolis, will maintain its manufacturing facility in Buchanan, MI, which had once been the home of Electro-Voice and its related brands.

Disney plans third Californian Park
Friday, 28 July 2000

Disney has revealed plans for a third theme park at its Disneyland site in Anaheim, California, to be completed by 2010. The park, covering up to 78 acres, still requires permission from the local authorities. Disney intends that the first phase of the project be up and running by 2003, with completion in 2010. Disney will open its new $1.4bn 'California Adventure', also at the Anaheim site, next February. In addition to these plans and its existing parks in Florida, Tokyo and Paris, Disney also hopes to open a Hong Kong-based resort in 2005.

Rage Launches Venture to Help Young
Thursday, 27 July 2000

Rage, a West Midlands-based professional theatre company, has just been awarded a three-year grant from the Neighbourhood Support Fund to set up and run a new touring company - the Rage Ensemble. Over a period of 30 weeks, professional artistes will assist 12 young people in the creation, rehearsal and performance of three theatre productions which will be toured around the West Midlands. The Ensemble is made up of young people aged 16-19 who are unlikely to enter into further education or employment and aims to provide them with the skills to assist them into further education or employment. Rage is looking for companies to support them in this aim by making a donation of ex-demonstration lighting and sound equipment or by providing equipment at cost price. ETC Europe and Strand Lighting have already committed their support to the venture.

PRG Makes Two Key Appointments
Monday, 24 July 2000

Production Resource Group (PRG) has announced that John M. Hovis has joined the company as president and chief operating officer. In his new position, he assumes responsibility for all aspects of the company's day-to-day operations, specifically overseeing all field operations as well as the corporate Information Technology, Human Resources and Finance departments. Hovis comes to PRG from RailAmerica, where he was senior vice-president and chief operating officer for North American operations. John E. Cunningham Jr. has also joined the company as chief financial officer of the Lighting and Audio Group. He is located in the offices of Production Arts and comes to PRG with almost 20 years' experience in finance, including four years as a chief financial officer and three as a consultant.

Dance with the Devil . . .
Thursday, 20 July 2000

Tune in to Carlton ITV tonight . . . Cameron Mackintosh's The Witches of Eastwick, which opened at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on Tuesday is to be the subject of a television documentary intended to go out at 11.30 this evening. Entitled Dance with the Devil - The Making of The Witches of Eastwick the programme offers a behind-the-scenes look at the preparations for the world premiere of Cameron Mackintosh's new musical comedy, starring Ian McShane. Mary Nightingale interviews both the stars and creative team working on the production. If you can't stay in tonight or your video's broken, you can also read all about it in the August issue of L&SI.

ESTA Announces Draft Rigging Standard
Thursday, 20 July 2000

ESTA has announced that the draft standard BSR E1.6, Entertainment Technology - Powered Rigging Systems is available for public review until October 10, 2000. The draft standard establishes safety requirements for the design, manufacture, installation and use of motorised rigging systems in theatres, theme parks, studios and other places of public assembly and performance. The document does not address manually-powered systems or lifting equipment used in the construction of these spaces. Copies of the document are available from the ESTA website.

New Compulite Software Release
Thursday, 20 July 2000

Stagetec has released version D05 software for the Compulite Spark 4D, Micron 4D and Ovation 4D consoles. The software is a result of an ongoing development and includes a whole host of new features including better manual control of chases, facility to assign macros and pages directly to memories and a system protect function plus many more. The software can be downloaded from the Compulite section of Stagetec's website.

City Theatrical Named in Top 100 Entrepreneurs
Thursday, 20 July 2000

Bronx, New York-based City Theatrical has been named in the second annual Inner City 100 listing by Inc. Magazine and the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), in recognition of the innovative lighting accessories manufacturer as one of the USA's top urban entrepreneurs. The list honours fast-growing companies located in urban cores outside the central business districts of America's cities. City Theatrical was placed 43rd on the list, with a sales growth rate of 296% and a compound growth rate of 41%.


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