As if to put paid to theories of how, thanks to new technology, we’ll all be working from home and communicating with the rest of the world via the internet, Showlight 2001 was the biggest, and quite possibly the best, so far. Three hundred people journeyed from across the globe to be part of this unique event, made even more special by virtue of it taking place just once every four years.

Edinburgh, a truly cosmopolitan city, added its own particular charm to the event and the Festival Theatre couldn’t have been a better choice of venue. It is the sponsors (aka exhibitors) that enable Showlight to take place, and the stage of this great theatre - the second largest in the UK - was capacious enough to house the 40 exhibitors, plus delegates, very comfortably. With an audience made up of a mix of students, consultants, lighting designers, manufacturers and suppliers, the atmosphere was buzzing with discussion, controversy and gossip, as well as the simple pleasure of renewing old acquaintances.

Showlight is special because the speakers do not just turn up, say their piece and depart. They arrive at the beginning and they stay until the end, giving the audience the opportunity to ask questions later! And the social side of Showlight is equally important - delegates enjoy three days 'full board' - coffee, lunch, tea and dinner, all included. And 2001 was no exception: Strand Lighting organised a stunning Scottish Gala Dinner in the splendid setting of Hopetoun House, a thoroughly enjoyable evening which was brought to a dramatic close with a display from a floodlit Pipe Band.

From the serious to the surreal, Showlight 2001 had it all. Technical issue and tales of the unexpected; the micro world of animation and the majesty of the Olympics; men in kilts and the men from the ministry. If this has whetted your appetite, Showlight will be back in 2005. Don’t know where, don’t know when - but if you want to be part of it, email Pictures from the event can be seen on the Showlight website.

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