Robert Juliat Cyrano plays panto in Joburg
Tuesday, 10 December 2019
joburg-theatreJack and the Beanstalk at the Joburg Theatre
South Africa - Few holiday traditions are more treasured in Joburg, South Africa than the annual pantomime, held at The Mandela Stage at Joburg Theatre in Braamfontein.
This year, writer, director and South Africa’s queen of pantomime, Janice Honeyman has brought to stage the story of country boy Jack the Joller, and his adventures with a family cow, some magic beans, an enormous beanstalk, an unfriendly giant and an enchanted hen that lays golden eggs.
Long-standing technical manager at the Joburg Theatre and industry veteran, Enos Ramoroko, points out that the panto is one of the biggest draws for the Joburg theatre over the December holidays, and is a highlight in the year for cast and crew alike. “The characters on stage are always larger than life, and everyone has a leading role. In some productions, you can switch the followspot from one lead to another – but this simply does not work for the panto,” he points out. “You need at least six followspots on the stage to keep up with the action.”
According to Enos, the Joburg Theatre has been relying on some fairly out-dated fixtures to serve as followspots for a number of years. “The followspots that we have been working with at Joburg Theatre are well past their prime. When we finally decided that there was space in the budget to upgrade the theatre’s followspots, I turned to a number of colleagues in the industry for product reviews and the overwhelming response was that Robert Juliat was the brand to invest in,” he says.
Enos had the opportunity to see the Robert Juliat Cyrano in action at Mediatech 2019, held at the Ticketpro Dome in July. “When I saw the units in action, and got to experience them for myself, I knew that we had found the right solution,” he says.
In August of this year, the Joburg Theatre purchased four Robert Juliat Cyrano followspots from local distributor DWR Distribution and, according to Enos, they have not looked back.
“Our follow spotters tell me that they are really enjoying working with the Cyrano followspots, especially because they are able to achieve much smoother fading and they don’t have to deal with problems like stuck irises anymore. We are using all four units, in addition to two of our older ones, on the panto and have achieved uniformity across all of them without having to stress about balancing individual fixtures, which solves all of my problems. Most importantly, when you buy a world-renowned brand like Robert Juliat, you know that your fixtures will serve you for years to come, ensuring that the theatre will get a solid return on their investment,” he concludes.
Jack and the Beanstalk is written and directed by Janice Honeyman, with choreography by Nicol Sheraton, musical direction by Dale-Ray Scheepers, lighting design by Graham McLusky and sound design by Akhona Bozo runs until 22 December at the Joburg Theatre.
(Jim Evans)

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