UK - PLASA has announced the latest changes to its Board, with Koy Neminathan appointed as the Manufacturer’s Representative and Matt Lloyd moving in to the role of Vice-Chair. These changes were voted for by PLASA manufacturer members and Board members respectively, and the terms began at the start of 2019.
Koy Neminathan, sales director for Avolites, will represent the best interests of manufacturers from all sectors. His experience of working at all levels within a major brand provides him with the practical skills and in-depth knowledge to ensure that manufacturers are supported and understood on a wide range of issues. Former Manufacturer’s Representative and well-known industry figure, Matt Lloyd has moved to the role of Vice-Chair. Lloyd’s expertise come from his vast experience within the industry which includes being the co-founder of GDS. Meanwhile, previous Vice-Chair, Martin Hawthorn is stepping down after 10 years of serving with the Board, but will continue to work closely with PLASA across the association’s activities and events.
Elsewhere on the PLASA Board, Dave Crump, president of Creative Technology has been re-elected as Rental and Production Representative, and all other members remain in their current positions.
PLASA is the leading membership body for the live entertainment technology industry which champions its members and the wider industry through annual trade shows, market-leading publications, and by campaigning on issues of concern. Each Boar
Vital Statistics - Almost a quarter of young adults never go to the theatre, preferring to stay at home to watch TV or use social media, according to new research. A study of 2,000 18 to 30-year-olds found that 24% of respondents said they never attend theatre performances, with this figure higher among men than women. And 20% of respondents said they go once a year, with 27% attending two to three times a year.
Of those surveyed, 51% said they most enjoyed watching TV in their spare time, compared to 11% who chose going to the theatre. More respondents chose using social media (36%) over a trip to a theatre production. The survey found that ticket prices was the top factor which, if improved, would encourage young adults to attend the theatre more regularly.
Respondents also said they would welcome interactive technologies, such as virtual and augmented reality, if they were made available as part of visits. People who were taken to shows as a child were more likely to continue visits as an adult, with 59% now going at least once a year. Of those who never went to the theatre as children, 65% have never gone as adults. The poll was carried out for specialist insurers Ecclesiastical, which operates in the arts, heritage, education and church sectors.
In The Courts - A US judge has rejected a legal case accusing Ed Sheeran of copying parts of Marvin Gaye's Let's Get It On to be dropped. In his decision, District Judge Louis Stanton said a jury should decide. He said he found "substantial similarities between several of the two works' mu
Europe/Asia - Two teams will take part in the 2019 Mongol Rally to raise money for technical entertainment charity Backup.
The rally, which takes place in July and spans 10,000 miles from the Czech Republic to Ulan Ude in Russia, requires participants to ride a very small vehicle, with no support or set route to the finish line, which must be crossed in four to eight weeks.
Team Backup, comprising Salvador Avila, Ethan Forde and Duncan McLean, are aiming to raise £50,000 for the charity, with team The Nomadic Numpties of ‘Turbo’ Anthony Hall and ‘Henri’ Abby Cooper targeting a further £1,000.
Team Backup will ride a 2001 Toyota Yaris with over 121,000 miles on the clock. Meanwhile, Team Nomadic Numpties are looking for ideas from the industry on turning their car, Poppy, into a mobile mirror ball.
“It won’t be easy, and the drive is fraught with danger,” says Duncan Mclean, a video and projection designer based in London and New York, who has worked in theatre, TV and large-scale live events for the past 15 years. “There will be highs and lows, the car will breakdown - a lot - and friendships will be pushed to their limits.
“But our goal is to raise £50,000 for Backup and we’re aiming to get manufacturers, hire companies
USA - With holiday shows, tours and our personal circumstances to balance, the holiday season can pass in a blur. Each year at Bandit Lites, team members are provided funds and encouraged to take an afternoon to come together to serve their communities and children in need.
“I look forward to this event every year because it brings us all together and provides Christmas wish for children in need,” says Bandit Lites HR coordinator Cori Link.
Link and office manager Lisa Fodge spearheaded this year’s efforts to give back, gathering Christmas lists and dropping off the bundles to the charities.
In Nashville, Erich Hudgens, Bandit Lites shop foreman spent the afternoon shuttling multiple groups out to shop for children, participating in the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree programme. After choosing a child themselves, team members fulfill the wishes as seasoned road warriors shop for Paw Patrol toys, dolls and clothes.
Team members at Bandit’s world headquarters in Knoxville purchased gifts for local children who had hung wish lists at Angel Tree locations around the city. Knoxville’s Angel Tree has provided aid to the county for over 25 years, and desired items ranged from toys to simple everyday needs like coats, shoes and toothbrushes.
“I personally thought that this was a great time to share in giving back, together, as an office and a company,” explains Fodge. “It really enhanced the ‘team’ mentality we have a Bandit.”
“Most of us are truly blessed,” adds Bandit Lites chair Michael T. Strickland. “At
UK - The Northern School of Art is one step closer to realising its vision of establishing a major film and TV production facility in the North East.
A planning application has been submitted for The Northern Studios - a Hartlepool-based, 30,000sq.ft film and TV studio and production facility designed in partnership with Logic Architecture.
The new development would provide the North East with its first dedicated production facility capable of housing large-scale film and TV production. It will support specialist technical and skills training for undergraduates on a range of creative degree programmes available at The Northern School of Art, but will also be available for commercial studio use, allowing business users to take advantage of the specialised technical equipment for stage, screen and events production.
Pat Chapman, vice-principal (employability and external relations) at The Northern School of Art, comments: “As the specialist provider of education and training for the creative industries in the region, we are delighted to have taken this important next step in bringing about a new chapter of ambition and regeneration for the North East. The Northern School of Art has a clear role in championing the growing creative sector in the region and taking positive steps to help it grow in value and employment.
“The Northern School of Art is a long-established provider of degree programmes in the screen and stage industries, if approved, the development of the new studios will provide much-needed commercial studio space to accommodate
Hall Of Fame - Janet Jackson, Stevie Nicks, The Cure, Def Leppard and Radiohead are among the acts announced as the latest members of The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. The artists will be officially inducted next year alongside Roxy Music and The Zombies as the official class of 2019. It means Jackson joins brother Michael among the alumni, while Stevie Nicks enters for the second time as a solo artist, having previously been inducted as a member of Fleetwood Mac.
Creative Capital - The mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced the capital’s first six creative enterprise zones, which will be awarded £11m in funding to support artists and businesses. Spread across seven boroughs, the aim of the zones is to support artists to establish themselves in local areas and to develop skills and job opportunities for local people.
The six zones to be announced include Brixton in Lambeth, Croydon – which aims to become a “music city” nurturing young people to enter the music industry - and the borough of Lewisham. Hackney Wick and Fish Island, in the boroughs of Hackney and Tower Hamlets, will be another zone, alongside areas in the boroughs of Hounslow and Haringey. The creative enterprise zones aim to create more than 3,500 jobs, 1,000 education opportunities and 40,000 sq metres of affordable workspace.
Free Entry - The English National Opera (ENO) has announced it will give free tickets to under-18s for its Spring 2019 season. Balcony tickets will be made available on Saturdays as a way of engaging young people in opera.
Canada - Solotech has named Daniel Méjean as vice-president (strategic sourcing) effective 14 January 2019.
In this new position under the direction of Nicolas Lavoie, chief financial officer, Méjean will actively contribute to the performance of the rapidly growing sourcing department as a key player in strategic planning, as well as long and short-term alliance building with suppliers and partner.
Méjean has over 20 years of experience in strategic sourcing management and direction in large-scale companies.
UK - The festive season is well underway and Triple E has gone underwater to provide a magical window display in the centre of the West End.
You wouldn’t usually associate Shaftesbury Avenue with a yacht-chandler, but Arthur Beale has been situated here for over 400 years. Traditionally known for manufacturing ropes for ships, climbers and explorers the company often takes advantage of their central London location to supply the local West End theatres with specialist rigging.
Under the leadership of Alasdair Flint, a theatrical chandler who also has a passion for sailing, the company has revived itself in recent years to provide rigging and ropes to the theatre sector alongside their more traditional sailing business. And each Christmas the company draws on this theatrical side and puts on a window display to rival any other shop in Bloomsbury or the West End!
Triple E has worked in collaboration with Alasdair Flint to provide a magical underwater themed display based around 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. As a leading provider of drape and scenery tracking to the theatre sector, Triple E has frequently been known to provide tracks to support other well-known West End retail emporiums such as Harrods and Selfridges with their ‘wow factor’ window displays.
Triple E was charged with specifying and building a chain track system to allow the aquatic life in the window display to be in continual motion. Chain Track is Triple E’s proprietary tracking system and was perfect for the very precise and continuous movement of scenic element
Rising Stars - Flamenco singer Rosalía, R&B star Ella Mai and pop artist King Princess are among the rising stars who have made it onto the BBC's Sound of 2019 longlist. Now in its 17th year, the list showcases 2019's hottest new artists. Past winners include Adele, Sam Smith, Years & Years and Sigrid. This year's selection focuses on solo acts, with only one band in the top 10. It was voted for by 136 critics, broadcasters and DJs, including former nominees Ellie Goulding and Stormzy.
Grammy Awards - Kendrick Lamar and Drake lead the nominations for next year's Grammy Awards, with seven nods each. Cardi B, Lady Gaga, HER, Maren Morris, Childish Gambino, producer Sounwave and engineer Mike Bozzi all have five nominations each.
While male acts dominated the nominations in the main categories last year, five of this year's best album nominees are women, with Cardi B, Brandi Carlile, HER, Janelle Monae and Kacey Musgraves competing against Drake, Post Malone and the Black Panther soundtrack.
In the best new artist category, six of the eight nominees are also women, with British stars Dua Lipa and Jorja Smith nominated alongside HER, Chloe x Halle, Margo Price and Bebe Rexha, as well as Luke Combs and rock band Greta Van Fleet.
Test Site - Controversial plans to redevelop the derelict Dudley Hippodrome into a test site for driverless cars have been approved by the local council. The news comes despite the Theatres Trust and campaigners calling for the theatre to be restored and reopened for an arts use. The trust call
UK - Design and technical theatre consultancy Theatreplan has been chosen to work alongside architects Bennetts Associates on the major redevelopment of the King’s Theatre in Edinburgh.
The designs from Bennetts Associates for the redeveloped theatre have been recently unveiled and show a design that respects the original building but reimagines it for the 21st century. The scheme will see an overhaul of the theatre’s interior and exterior and will cost in the region of £20m.
Mathew Smethurst-Evans, executive director UK for Theatreplan, comments: “Theatreplan is thrilled to be part of the team rejuvenating this historic theatre and modernising its facilities to meet the needs of the 21st century.”
Duncan Hendry, chief executive of Capital Theatres, adds: “The King’s Theatre holds a special place in the hearts of many people from Edinburgh and further afield. The King’s really is ‘Everyone’s Theatre’ and throughout this exciting redevelopment project we hope people will help us secure the future of their theatre.”
USA - ESTA has announced that A. Scott Hoyt will receive the 2018 Swan Award. This award is only given when an individual has served the association above and beyond the call of duty.
Scott’s service on the ESTA board of directors began in 2007. In 2012 Scott was elected to the office of treasurer and served as the treasurer of the PLASA Governing Body as well. As treasurer, he was a member of the executive committee as well as an ex-officio member of the Technical Standards and ETCP councils. His second and final term as ESTA’s treasurer comes to an end 31 December, 2018.
Though he has completed his service as Treasurer, Scott continues to chair the oversight committee of the business peer group and serves on the member advisory group.
Stream On - Dua Lipa is the most-streamed female artist in the UK so far this year, according to figures from both Spotify and Apple Music. Her song One Kiss, with Calvin Harris, was the second most-streamed track on both services, behind Drake's One Plan. Lipa's self-titled album was the third most-streamed record in the UK, and the fourth globally, on Spotify. The star, who won best female at this year's Brits, has just been announced as Vogue's January cover star.
Creative Call - Schools should only be awarded an “outstanding” rating by Ofsted if they can demonstrate excellence in teaching creative subjects alongside academic ones, a leading education charity has claimed. The report is produced by the Edge Foundation, which aims to shape the future of education in the UK, and its calls echo those of bodies such as Arts Council England, which has previously said schools should only be awarded an “excellent” rating if they have a strong arts offering.
It raises concerns about the decline in schoolchildren taking GCSEs in creative subjects, claiming entries have fallen by 77,000 - 20% - since 2010. It also highlights research from Ofsted itself, which shows that creative subjects are effective at teaching skills such as collaboration, communication and decision making. The report goes on to recommend that the government should “restore creative subjects back into the heart of the curriculum” and “ensure that higher and further education institutions are properly resourced to deliver creative courses”.
USA - Flex Rental Solutions has announced that Flex5 Phone - its newly designed phone app - has been released to all customers.
Flex5 is the company’s new HTML5 user interface and features a complete rewrite of Flex’s user interface and backend architecture. Flex5 will eventually replace Flex’s current Flash UI by adding a new desktop environment.
Flex5 Phone is already available for download in the Apple App Store for iPhones and in the Google Play store for Android devices. Flex5 Phone replaces Flex Mobile, which is no longer available in the App store.
In August of this year, Flex Rental Solutions announced that it had released Flex5 Tablet.
“We’re really excited about the progress we’ve made bringing new ways for our users to track and manage their inventory in the warehouse and on the go,” says Chris Stein, CEO of Flex Rental Solutions, “our goal with Flex5 is to take the focus away from scanning and put it on what matters: increasing our user’s overall efficiency.”
Flex5 Phone features will mirror Flex5 Tablet. Users can search, call, text, or get direction to a contact right from their phone or tablet. Flex5 has finally freed the warehouse staff from being tethered to large laptops and desktop stations. Users can search and view all inventory and contacts, as well as prep pull sheets, return manifests, create and edit inventory, log maintenance, and more.
Flex Rental Solutions plans future updates for Flex5 Tablet & Phone, however the primary focus now is Flex5 Desktop, with financial document deve
Forever Young - Bob Dylan and Neil Young have been announced as joint headliners at London's Hyde Park as part of British Summer Time on 12 July though it's not yet clear in which order they will play.
Lip-Syncing - Rita Ora has been accused of lip-syncing during her performance at America's most famous Thanksgiving Day event. Organisers apologised to millions of viewers watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade for "technical difficulties" during the holiday feature. Rita Ora appeared to be out of sync with the vocals viewers heard during her televised performance.
Macy's, the American department store chain that throws the parade, released a public apology. The company said "several recording artists experienced technical difficulties that negatively impacted their performance." It added: "We apologise and want fans to know these issues were out of the artist’s control."
Rock On - Queen musical We Will Rock You is to be re-imagined for a new UK and Ireland tour next year, it has been announced. The show, which is written by Ben Elton and features some of Queen’s biggest hits, will tour the UK for a fourth time, beginning in September next year. It will open at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley in September and will visit locations across the UK and Ireland part of the tour, which runs until May 2020.
False Hope - Further education colleges offering arts courses are knowingly giving young people “false hope” about their future because of poor job prospects in the sector, the head of Ofsted has claimed.
UK - Technical entertainment charity Backup received donations in excess of £25,500 during September alone, thanks to the generosity of Ambersphere, Claypaky, DiGiCo, Lightpower Collection, PLASA and LSi.
UK - SXS Events recently used Current RMS’ Open API to create a number of integrations to streamline workflow. The Open API is available for any of their software users to access and build with, for them to develop exciting and useful integrations that utilise their data within Current RMS.
Established in 1998, UK-based SXS Events specialises in event production and dry hire, and has grown to be a multi-million pound event production company. Using the Current RMS Open API, they created X Hire, a platform for their clients to view products directly on their website and hire them. Built to work alongside their normal website, this space allows them to pull across products and key information from Current RMS and onto a platform their new and existing clients can easily access and view.
“The website is a great tool for both the office team and clients. Instead of trying to explain equipment to clients we can send them a link to the product,” says Joe Sandford-Hughes, head of dry hire at SXS Events. “The same thing goes for clients needing copies of their invoices; we can give them an account on the site and they can get to everything they need.”
It’s not just front-of-house that the Open API has been useful for. The team at SXS has also made use of it to create a number of integrations that have been handy for internal processes, ensuring their jobs are always on time and up to the standard they need to be. This includes a dynamic ‘kiosk’ screen that staff can see, which updates throughout the course of the day to show outgoing jobs
Sustainable Art - An environmental programme designed to help arts organisations become more sustainable has helped its participants reduce their energy consumption by almost a quarter in the past six years, saving £16.5m as a result. The group of 136 of Arts Council England’s national portfolio organisations have also decreased their carbon emissions by 35% in this time period, according to a report on the scheme by ACE and green arts charity Julie’s Bicycle.
These figures are the culmination of a partnership between Julie’s Bicycle and the Arts Council that began in 2012 with the aim of encouraging arts organisations to become more environmentally sustainable. As part of the six-year programme, the 136 participating organisations consistently reported data at regular intervals across the period. 47 of these were theatre organisations, including the Royal Court and the Lyric Hammersmith in London. However, Julie’s Bicycle said it was unable to provide broken-down figures for the theatres on the list.
Interval Advertising - Nearly two thirds of respondents to a poll by The Stage said they would object to theatres screening adverts during the interval. The online survey was held in response to news that English National Opera is seeking permission to project adverts on to its safety curtain. Of 443 respondents to the poll, which asked: “Would you object to theatres screening adverts during the interval?”, 62% said they would object and 38% said they would not. ENO is initially planning to use the curtain to show adverts for forth
The Long Goodbye - Elton John has announced UK dates for his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, saying they will be emotional and "incredibly special". The singer, who began his mammoth three-year goodbye tour in the US in September, will continue to play across the world until 2021, with more than 300 shows planned. Two UK dates had already been confirmed for next year, and there will now be more again in November 2020, kicking off at London's O2 Arena. Sir Elton will also play arena shows in Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Aberdeen, Glasgow and Leeds in 2020.
"The Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour will take us to many places that have meant a lot to me over the last 50 years, but these UK shows will be incredibly special," he said. "The UK is home, and where my heart will always be. To celebrate some of the incredible moments we've shared with my British fans over the years will be wonderful. These homecoming shows will be very emotional, and a lot of fun."
High Wire Act - Cirque du Soleil has announced the UK premiere of a show inspired by the film Avatar, which has been developed with director James Cameron. Toruk – the First Flight, which is written and directed by Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon, will run at Manchester Arena from 20-23 June 20 to 23 and at London’s O2 Arena from 26-30 June. The show, which uses multimedia projections and puppetry, is an official prequel to the 2009 film Avatar.
Cameron said: “Avatar is really meant to be a celebration of human motion and human emotion and C
USA - Lighting designer Herrick Goldman, principal of HG Lighting Design and Evoke Collaborative recently presented the Behind the Scenes charity with a $1,000 donation representing a portion of the firm’s design fees over the last year. HG Lighting Design was the first company to pledge a service rather than a product to Behind the Scenes and this donation marked HGLD’s second annual cheque presentation.
HG Lighting Design provides lighting services for a wide variety of markets including theatre, dance, and corporate events, as well as permanent installations for museums and other venues. Goldman, who designs all around the globe, has long been a supporter of the Behind the Scenes charity. Goldman says: “Our industry is filled with so many wonderful people, it’s a pleasure to be able to support our family members in times of need. In late 2018 HGLD is launching Evoke Collaborative. The Evoke team represents a broad array of talented artists with experience in diverse disciplines, adding value through long-established relationships in the lighting, video, and design industry. We look forward to continuing and expanding our philanthropy as our business grows.”
On receiving the cheque, BTS Foundation board member, Tobin Neis, commented: “Herrick and HG Lighting Design have set an incredible example for the design community. Everyone in the industry can make a difference to their colleagues in need, and doing so by committing your creative ideas to those who bring them to life can be especially gratifying. We hope others in the design community
USA - Four board members have been elected to the EST board of directors following an election that ended on 30 October (Tuesday).
Steve Surratt of Texas Scenic Company will fill the office of treasurer.
Steve Roudebush of BMI Supply will return as the dealer and distributor director.
Steve Terry of ETC was elected as manufacturer director.
Mike Garl of Mike Garl Consulting will serve a second term as professional services director.
All will begin their three-year term of office on 1 January 2019.
UK - Following a collaboration at the recently completed White Rose leisure extension in Leeds, Studiotech was approached by tensile fabric specialists, Base Structures, to assist with the multi-million pound transformation of the NEC in Birmingham.
Included in this transformation was the facelift of the façade. The new design included patterned coloured panels and 37 tensile fabric pyramids, designed by Base Structures. Each translucent pyramid was to be backlit to create a more attractive and engaging environment for all stakeholders.
Studiotech assisted Base Structures by providing the detailed design, supply, installation and programming of the feature lighting. They chose to use Traxon Washer Allegro RGB LED luminaires to wash gracefully behind the pyramids.
The complex façade design meant that a number of trades were involved in completing this facelift, co-ordination with one another was key to a successful installation.
The completed installation provides a striking addition to the NEC arena, creating a dynamic and impressive display at one of the UK’s most popular venues.
Europe - There are three days left for the entertainment lighting industry to respond to the EU Commission’s revised version of the Ecodesign regulation.
The consultation period ends on 9 November (Friday) and the draft is open for one last review before the final parliamentary vote. Those who wish to respond should follow this link or visit plasa.org for instructions.
Whilst the outcome overall has been positive, European entertainment industry bodies have proposed four ‘small but essential’ amendments ahead of key talks in December.
The European Entertainment Ecodesign Coalition (EEEC) - comprising PLASA, PEARLE, the ALD, DTHG, the IALD, OETHG, SLF, STEPP and VPLT - and other national and international organisations released a joint statement highlighting their concerns. Their proposed amendments are:
• Exemption for lighting fixtures from standby power mode and networked stand-by power mode
• Exemption for white light sources for specific needs
• Widen the range of wavelength for 'green' used in colour-tuneable light sources
• Further lamp bases to be exempted for use in professional entertainment lighting products
The proposals' signatories say in a statement: "The current EU Regulation includes an exemption for ‘studio lighting, s
Record Breakers - Harry Styles, Ed Sheeran and Dua Lipa, are among the artists who helped propel British music to a record year in 2017, according to a new report. Export revenues grew by 7% to a new high of £2.6bn, UK Music's Measuring Music report said.
For the second year running the number of successful records by British artists bucked the trend for annually declining music sales - which had slumped to £610m in 2015.
Festivals and live events, including world tours by Coldplay, The Rolling Stones and Sir Paul McCartney, also accounted for £1bn of revenue - with the report confirming the O2 in London was the world's most popular arena.
Overall, the UK music industry contributed a record £4.5bn to the UK economy last year - up £100m on 2016. The report said more people were employed in the music industry than ever before, with almost 146,000 jobs. But UK Music's chief executive Michael Dugher issued a warning about the need to nurture the music industry's talent pipeline and to give people from a variety of backgrounds access to a career in the industry. "These figures show what can be achieved when we choose to back the British music industry," Dugher said.
Rising Costs - The cost of building a new arts venue in Manchester has risen by almost £20m, the city council has said. It means the budget for The Factory, to be built in the city's St John's neighbourhood, will now reach just over £130m. The increase, which is expected to be met by Manchester City Council, will be voted on later this month.
UK - A performance by final year BA (Hons) Acting and BA (Hons) Actor Musicianship students from Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance has raised over £550 for the Mayor of Bexley’s charity appeal.
The College annually donates proceeds from box office sales and audience donations from one of their public performances to the Mayor of Bexley’s chosen charities. This year a record amount of £586 was raised to support those in the borough who suffer daily with mental health issues and children with Autism.
The performance of Blue Stockings by Jessica Swale on Thursday 1 November, also gave an opportunity for students from the Colleges’ School of Design, Management and Technical Arts to showcase their talents. Designer Kelli-Mae Crossman, lighting designer Adam Richardson and sound designer Rachel Goldberg transformed the Rose Theatre into 19th Century Cambridge University supported by scenic arts, lighting, sound, costume production and stage and event management students.
After the performance, the Mayor of Bexley, Councillor Brian Bishop, and the Lady Mayoress met the cast and production team to congratulate them.
Rose Bruford College Principal, Clarie Middleton, says: “Once again we are delighted to be able to support the Mayor of Bexley’s charity appeal. On behalf of the cast and production team and everyone at Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance, I would like to thank the audience for their generous contributions to two fantastic causes."