UK - Set in stark contrast with the widespread cutback in library services by cash-strapped local authorities is a rising tide of local communities determined that these hubs of town and village life should not suffer the fate of red telephone boxes and disappear forever from Britain's cultural landscape. It is a fight that is seeing communal spirit making a dent in an all-pervasive economic nihilism.

The former coal mining town of Newbold Verdon, Leicester, has the first fully funded library built by the National Lottery, where its manager, Christina Baker, has successfully created a community hub in a village without a community hall, by bringing in Stage Electrics to install a lighting, PA and video projection system in a bold attempt to breathe new life into a social facility often viewed as outdated. "It's hard work but the rewards are worth it," she says proudly

UK - Structure specialist De Boer has agreed an informal partnership with two industry-leading companies, broadening the range of services and products on offer to customers.

The agreement will see the Brackley-based business working in collaboration with Star Events Group, whose services include seating, staging and rigging, and with XG Group, a large-format printing expert - offering the opportunity for De Boer's clients to customise structures for specific shows, exhibitions or events.

The partnership was unveiled as the three companies jointly hosted a stand (pictured above) at IOEX, the International Outdoor Event Expo staged this week at London's ExCeL.

John Cochrane, De Boer's sales director - events, said, "This is a truly exciting collaboration for all three businesses. It enables De Boer to build on its industry-leading reputation in the temporary structure ma

UK - The team at multi award-winning theatre design consultancy Charcoalblue is celebrating after three of the company's projects won prestigious gongs at this year's Civic Trust Awards ceremony.

The projects are: the radically transformed Royal Shakespeare Theatre, the dramatic Corby Cube, and the tranquil Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield.

The Civic Trust Awards scheme was established in 1959 to recognise the very best in architecture, design, planning, landscape and public art. Awards are given to projects of the highest quality design, but only if they are judged to have made a positive cultural, social or economic contribution to the local community.

From 306 national and international entries, 52 projects were recognised by the Civic Trust Awards at a ceremony held at The Hub in Edinburgh.

In addition to the Awards hat trick, the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield was given a Specia

UK - Newly launched entertainment technology installation company Push the Button Ltd has installed a new ETC dimming and control system into London's famous Royal Court Theatre, with no disruption to the venues busy programme of shows and events.

Push the Button - or PTB - came onto the scene in January 2012 with a mission to provide "an intelligent and sympathetic technical approach to all of its projects and clients". With an inaugural job at what the New York Times calls 'the most important theatre in Europe', PTBs managing director Nick Ewins and his team certainly didn't waste any time making their mark.

Matt Drury, head of lighting for The Royal Court concurs: "The Royal Court receives and considers an extraordinary quantity of new work and each year presents an ambitious programme across its two venues. It's therefore of paramount importance to us that o

Iceland - Several Allen & Heath iLive and iDR digital mixers have been installed in the prestigious new Harpa concert hall and conference centre in Reykjavik.

The new venue has four main spaces to manage a busy programme of music and conference events. iLive systems comprising an iDR-16 MixRack and iLive-R72 Control Surface have been installed in the Norourljos recital hall and Kaldalon hall, whilst a combined FOH and monitor system,comprising iDR-16 MixRacks and an iLive-R72 and iLive-T80 surfaces, has been selected for the Silfurberg conference hall.

All systems use A&H's proprietary ACE (audio and control over Ethernet) link, and iDR-4 digital matrix mixers are installed in each venue to manage audio distribution. There is also a portable iLive system, comprising an iDR-48 MixRack and iLive-T80 Control Surface, available for any additional audio requirements around the buil

UK - PG Stage has worked for over 30 years designing, supplying and installing performance facilities and equipment in venues across the UK. Their most recent project, in association with LCC Lighting and Sony Broadcast, was for Middlesex University who were in need of a flexible and dynamic television studio for their Film, Media and TV students to work in.

There were various demands to fulfil for the television studio. The first requirement was that it needed to maximise the floor space available, which was 150sq.m. It also needed to allow for the quick and easy set-up and de-rig of studio lighting.

PG Stage used their team of professional technicians to design and produce technical drawings which were then used to define a specification for the University and, as a result, PG Stage designed power distribution and DMX systems to fully meet the University's needs.

PG Stag

UK - Illuminate Design has helped one of Britain's flagship dance theatre companies move to a new creation and rehearsal space in Ashford, Kent.

Illuminate Design already provides production management services to the Jasmin Vardimon company, helping organise the logistics of shows, both in the UK and overseas, so it made sense that, when the Company was looking for a new, permanent home, Illuminate would assist.

"We accompanied Jasmin on visits to a number of different properties," explains Illuminate Design's director Ben Payne, "and helped her discount several for logistical reasons - such as not being able to get trucks close enough for loading.

"One of the options we were offered was a disused 1970s gym space at the Stour Leisure Centre in Ashford. It was draughty and leaked, with very little natural light, but the size and location meant we were sur

Singapore - Madagascar: A Crate Adventure at Universal Studios in Singapore, the first attraction in the world based on DreamWorks Animation's film, has been nominated for the About.com 2012 Reader's Choice Award. The award honours the best new achievements for theme parks, amusement parks and water parks worldwide, with the winner picked by voters on the About.comwebsite.

Entertainment lighting specialist White Light, which supplied all of the lighting equipment to the ride, congratulates all involved with creating the ride, particularly lighting designer Jeremy Windle of Lighting Design Alliance.

White Light were contracted by Resorts World Sentosa as lighting supplier, working closely with Jeremy Windle and his team and with local specialists Ptarmigan Integration to ensure that extensive rig was delivered and installed on schedule for the ride's opening last year.

Germany - Since being launched 18 months ago, Apex's Intelli-X² processors have become a fixture for a wide range of touring bands, musicals and festivals. Now the company has brought all the high end features of Intelli-X² to the installation market with the Intelli-Z², which is being launched at ProLight+Sound 2012.

Exhibiting in Hall 8.0, Stand C40, Apex recognises that processors for fixed installations, such as theatres and conference venues, are often located in amplifier or control racks which are not necessarily easy to access. Utilising the full power of Apex Intelli-Ware remote control software, the new Intelli-Z² system management processor is designed specifically with such installations in mind.

The Intelli-Z² features a four in / eight out configuration, integral mixer and selectable analogue or AES-3 I/O, but without the additional cost of unnecessary hardw

Russia - The historic stage of the foremost Russian theatre has reopened after six years of renovation and restoration. The original acoustics and the 'golden' curtain were restored, and the total area of the theatre was doubled to 72,000sq.m. The theatre has not only been given new life, it has become one of the most technically advanced in the world.

During his recent tour of the renovated building, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev used the word "fantastic" to describe the external architectural features and technological level of the equipment installed in the Bolshoi.

Clay Paky's Russian distributor DOKA played a key role in renovating the theatre. DOKA Center signed a contract on 10 August 2005 with the German company Bosch Rexroth AG, the general contractor for stage renovation technology, engineering, equipment supply, installation and stage lighting implemen

Belgium - Robe Robin 300 LEDWash moving lights have been purchased by Belgian national broadcaster VRT (Vlaamse Radio- en Televisieomroep) and installed at their studio complex in Brussels

The initial batch of 42 fixtures were delivered by Robe's Benelux distributor Controllux, in a package co-ordinated by Belgian sales manager Bram de Clerck, and specified for the TV station by their head of technical Johan Bosmans.

He had been impressed after seeing LEDWash 300s in action on shows, and they also came highly recommended by a number of others, including leading Belgian TV lighting designer Michiel Milbou, who specified them on his current design for popular prime-time entertainment industry chat show, Vrienden van de Veire.

(Jim Evans)

Russia - Green Hippo are making a substantial push into the Russian market with their recent sale of ten Hippotizer HD media servers to Big Screen Service in Russia.

Head of sales, Samantha Bailey, comments, "Big Screen Service are an important contact for us in Russia. They are involved in some major projects and we are very excited to have them on board as professional Hippotizer users in this area."

Based in Moscow, Big Screen Service was formed in 2001 and is a leading rental supplier of video display systems. The company deals with LED products, video projection and media servers and works with a range of TV channels, concert halls and venues as well as production companies to provide rental solutions in Russia.

Evgeny Marinichev of Big Screen Service explains, "Green Hippo's media servers fit perfectly into our current product range. The main advantage o

USA - It's not often a sound company is asked to specify a full PA system and backline for a US Navy aircraft carrier, let alone to look after it on its cruise from Hawaii to San Diego, but that's exactly what US audio providers Mambo Sound and Broadcast Support were tasked with last month, and they chose dBTechnologies for the job.

Specifying the light but powerful DVA T12 line array was not a difficult decision for Mambo Sound's Steve McNeil. "Our friends at Broadcast Support already have a DVA T4 rig, so we knew it was reliable. It also needed to be light weight to keep the freight costs down," he explains. "We flew the whole sound system to Hawaii, took it to Pearl Harbour and craned it on the USS John C Stennis active aircraft carrier, then craned it off again in San Diego seven days later."

The main PA comprised six dBTechnologies DVA T12 active three

Indonesia - The Phantom of the Opera made its first appearance in Indonesia in February and March after touring the world for the last 10 years and setting the world's weekly box office record.

The Phantom of the Opera is the first international musical production Jakarta has seen in a long time. Produced by the Joyce Agency Of New York City and promoted by Big Daddy Entertainment, the show was staged at the intimate Nusa Indah Theatre Hall and was reinforced by a Turbosound Flex Array sound system supplied by Indonesia's biggest audio rental company, Sumber Ria.

Turbosound's Flex Array met all of the production needs, including sound quality, efficiency and multiple configuration capability, necessary to qualify for the project. The TFA-600H three-way mid-high provides high SPL with moderate amplification, and has a small visual footprint which worked well for t

UK - Unusual Rigging is providing the infrastructure to ensure that Cameron Mackintosh's spectacular new touring production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera flies around the UK without a hitch.

Newly designed for the show's 25th anniversary, the tour will visit 10 cities over the next 13 months, having opened at Plymouth's Theatre Royal in March to rave reviews.

"Phantom is an extremely heavy show, weighing in at more than 25 tonnes," explains Unusual Rigging's senior project manager Simon Stone. "There's one piece of scenery downstage that weighs eight tonnes and has to be supported by a separate mini grid secured to the building. The famous Phantom chandelier, which has to swing in a treacherous fashion over the audience, weighs 500kg alone! Plus there are a couple of huge automated trucks on stage with a combined weight o

Australia - NIDA - Australia's National Institute of Dramatic Art - is a centre of excellence in training for theatre, film and television. NIDA's primary role is to select and train exceptionally gifted young people at a tertiary level, preparing them for careers in theatre, film and television.

When it came to choosing moving lights for the students to train with, Philips Vari*Lite was the fixture of choice.

"We wanted to give the students experience of moving lights but they had to be good ones," commented Marcus Kelson, technical manager at NIDA. "Consequently we purchased four Vari*Lite VLX Wash Luminaires. These are used for student productions and also as a training tool within the lighting classroom. Plus, as they are a popular fixture we can also hire them out to users of our venues and thus generate an income.

"The VLX is very punchy, easily con

USA - Founded in 1861 with close ties to Wheaton College, College Church has achieved a reputation as one of the most influential churches in America.

The stunning Georgian Revival-style building on Washington Street that the church calls home was built around two decades ago. It's an architectural gem that boasts high glass ceilings, soaring columns, and a U-shaped wrap-around balcony. The room's acoustics provide a wonderful complement for the piano, pipe organ, and choir that typically accompany most services. But that same architecture has represented a long-standing challenge for spoken-word intelligibility. As Greg Dieckhaus, President and CEO of Bolingbrook, IL-based Practical AV Solutions explains, the church has been through more than one attempt at addressing the issue.

"It's a gorgeous building, but problems with intelligibility and consistency of coverage have

Tanzania - Billed as 'the friendliest festival on the planet', Sauti za Busara is the highlight of the annual music calendar in Tanzania. The East African event takes place over five days in February and this year attracted 400 musicians from across the continent. With a dedicated DiGiCo SD8 console at the Front of House position, an eclectic range of music was enjoyed by an enthusiastic audience.

The festival takes place on the island of Zanzibar, with the main stage at the historic Old Fort in Stone Town. Four consecutive nights of non-stop, eight hour live performances meant that using a digital console made a lot of sense. Purchased for last year's festival, the DiGiCo SD8 and MadiRack had been stored in a container for a year, but had coped very well with the tropical climate and monsoon rains.

"After been cleaned and tested at the end of last year's festival, the co

UK - The performing arts are a vital part of life for girls at the Notre Dame School in Cobham. So when the Governors took the major decision to create a new theatre, members of the school's Performing Arts Committee enrolled help not only of Sisters, pupils, parents and teachers to contribute to the planning and realisation of the new facility, but also called in theatre consultants, Theatreplan, from the start.

Although the construction cost was set at £2.4m, it was a tight budget for a project of this scale. Set within London's green belt, the new building required the demolition of the previous school hall theatre. Theatreplan devised an unusual compact polygonal auditorium for a capacity of up to 400. The geometry reflects the galleried space of an Elizabethan playhouse where the actor or singer is paramount, and also adapts for an end stage presentation when required

Russia - The historic Theatre of Nations in Moscow, which has re-opened after a lengthy reconstruction, has been equipped by DOKA Center with a large ADB Lighting installation, including the first ADM Eurodim Twin Tech dimmer installation in Russia.

The Theatre of Nations was established in 1987 under the name of Theatre of Friendship of Nations and in 1991 was renamed the State Theatre of Nations.

Its intensive production activities include developing and producing a variety of theatre projects, organising international and national festivals, presenting the best Russian and international productions, representing many different genres and styles. The theatre also stages its own productions, with the ultimate goal of becoming the centre for nurturing a new generation of theatre practitioners.

The State Theatre of Nations' historical building had been occupied since 1885 by

UK - Devon-based drapes, starcloth, LED and visual effects specialists S+H Technical Support provided a massive 238m wide by 9m drop of their ShowLED RGB Chameleon Starcloth, which was used on the high profile 2012 Olivier Awards.

The annual event was staged in the main auditorium of the Royal Opera House in London's Covent Garden. S+H were contacted by Lee Batty, head of production for event organisers, the Society of London Theatre.

He was looking for a striking backdrop and a full leg and border dressing solution for the stage, and had previously used S+H's products, most recently their LED Animation Cloth, on a show for Rolf Harris that he production managed.

Batty also assisted in the visual design and look of the Oliviers, and says, "We wanted something different from last year that would bring a dynamic and special feel. I knew the quality and reliability of the

Germany - The conversion of Britz Castle in Berlin-Neukölln into a new cultural centre, was recently completed, and includes a 300-capacity concert and theatre hall, installed with Allen & Heath's iLive digital mixing system.

The spec was for a future-proof digital system that could easily be used by sound engineers of guest productions. It also needed to be portable to service not just the hall but other areas in the venue, and flexible and simple to configure, with the option to have wireless control for smaller events.

The iLive system comprises a Dante-enabled iDR-32 MixRack with iLive-T80 Control Surface, plus a PL-10 rotary panel for remote control. iLive's competitive price, built in compressor and EQ, as well as the possibility of the live recording of events via a laptop through the Dante interface, were the main reasons it was selected.

Dirk Förster from inst

USA - When it was ready to upgrade its Meyer Sound MSL-3 loudspeakers of more than two decades at its 2,472-seat Andrew Jackson Hall, the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) in Nashville chose Meyer Sound again, this time a system based on the M'elodie line array loudspeaker.

"The MSL-3s had served us well since the mid-80s," says Larry Bryan, TPAC's chief audio engineer. "But we were ready to step into the 21st century with the latest Meyer Sound line array technology."

As typically deployed, the system comprises left and right flown arrays of 16 M'elodie loudspeakers each, plus six deck-stacked 700-HP subwoofers, eight MINA line array loudspeakers spaced across the stage lip as front-fill, and a Galileo loudspeaker management system with a Galileo 616 processor for drive processing. The system was provided by Blackhawk Audio of nearby White House, Ten

UK - The National Theatre of Scotland (NTS) have recently invested in seven Chroma-Q Color Force 48" / 1.2m LED battens to provide wash lighting effects for their various stage productions, including Knives in Hens and An Appointment with the Wicker Man.

The Glasgow based theatre received a grant from the Wolfson Foundation to replace their existing cyc lights with energy-efficient LED versions. They wanted a high quality, powerful and easy to set up LED lighting solution.

Head of lighting, Paul Claydon and technical manager, Niall Black conducted extensive research before inviting four leading LED brands to do a shootout at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow. Also attending the shootout were a number of LDs with whom NTS work.

"As soon as the Color Force battens were switched on, to us they absolutely blew all the other products away, especially in terms of

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