Leicester's De Montfort Hall
UK - De Montfort Hall in Leicester, which plays host to concerts, stage productions and many other events, has recently received a comprehensive lighting upgrade courtesy of its local technical supplier, Hawthorn.

The upgrade consisted of one behind-the-scenes change, replacing the venue's dimming system, and one change visible to an audience, updating the lighting of the auditorium itself, all helping the popular venue celebrate the centenary of its 1913 opening.

For the dimmer upgrade, Hawthorn supplied and installed four new ETC Sensor dimmer racks to replace aging Strand LD90 racks, "De Montfort's staff were worried about being able to maintain the LD90s in both the short and long term," explains Hawthorn's head of install, Alan Jackson. "This ultimately led to the decision to switch to something in current production with strong support from its manufacturer. "Here and elsewhere, Sensor just felt like the right choice."

The change involved not just swapping over the dimmer racks, but also re-working the trunking and cable runs within the dimmer room to suit the size of the new dimmers, giving a neat, tidy and reliable new installation.

In the auditorium, Hawthorn installed a complete new lighting system using the Chroma range of LED fixtures from Pulsar, along with an ETC Unison touchscreen system to control the new rig. "The new system was designed with Snowy Johnson at Pulsar," Alan Jackson explains, "and it works brilliantly for the space, particularly when used in deep primary colours. The range of different looks it can give the hall is remarkable."

The entire installation was completed to a tight schedule, and to the delight of the venue's management and technical teams. Lead technician Graham Williams stated, "The installation has been implemented in a timely and professional manner, updating and future proofing systems for the technical requirements of our fast moving industry. The ability to alter colours and control individual fixtures has added a new dimension, bringing the production into the heart of the audience, or even behind them in the case of Pantomime productions. We are working towards phase 2 of our makeover, taking us to the forefront of energy efficient production space and venue lighting. We would definitely consider working with Hawthorns again."

The lighting and dimmer upgrade at De Montfort Hall is just one of the many projects carried out by Hawthorn in what has been a busy year for the company. Hawthorn celebrated its 25th anniversary by lighting everything from the Coronation Diamond Jubilee Concert to Status Quo to the new visitors centre for the Glen Livet Distillery in the Scottish Highlands.

(Jim Evans)

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