UK - Exactly 30 years after Jo Longthorne appeared in the final Talk of the Town production at the Hippodrome, the historic London venue has reopened. This follows a major £40m refurbishment, which drew on the innovative theatre design expertise of theatre consultants Charcoalblue LLP.

The Grade II listed venue, built in 1900 by the famous theatrical architect Frank Matcham, has been converted into London's first super casino, combining gaming and live performance with a first-class restaurant.

Charcoalblue was appointed to assist London-based architects Cadmium Design & Architecture in the design and planning of the Matcham Room, the entertainment venue that will house Live at the Hippodrome. In addition, the space provides a unique venue for hire in the heart of London's West End.

Paul Crosbie, senior project consultant for Charcoalblue comments, "

UK - Software developers Stardraw.com have announced major changes to the company's structure and operation, starting with the announcement that Rob Robinson, currently marketing director, is to become CEO with immediate effect. David Snipp, founder of Stardraw.com and current CEO, remains a major shareholder at Stardraw.com and assumes a role of non-executive board director.

At the same time, Stardraw.com announced the acquisition of intellectual property rights associated with Stardraw Control, their award-winning universal control platform, by manufacturer of IP and WiFi-enabling products, Global Caché. As part of this arrangement, Snipp has been appointed CTO of the Jacksonville, Oregon, hardware provider.

The new structure will see Stardraw.com focusing on their core business of software tools and services for system design and documentation, and the development of

USA - Like most of New Jersey's seaside communities, life on resort island Brigantine near Atlantic City is affected by the seasons. In the summer months, the sun seekers and beach lovers help to swell the congregation at St. Thomas the Apostle from 1,000 to more than 3,000 - well beyond what their existing sanctuary can handle. As Bobby Harper, VP of Sales at Egg Harbor-based ACIR Professional explains, the church came up with a creative solution.

"It's an older structure, and it has some history, and they didn't want to just tear it down and build something bigger," says Harper. "So they opted to renovate the original building and also build an event centre, which could handle the overflow, as well as other functions."

Using the seasonal population shifts to their advantage, the project was carried out in two phases. "The first summer, they used the

UK - As part of its music and arts promotional campaign, coffee shop chain Caffè Nero is hosting an ongoing series of free live gigs by up-and-coming artists at its UK outlets. July has seen guitarist/singer-songwriter Jamie Abbott nominated as the retailer's Artist of the Month, accompanied by a compact K-array KB-1 audio system as he travelled across the UK.

Abbott's tour has visited 30 Caffè Nero outlets, tying many of them in with sets at local radio stations. This has meant that he was often playing two or three gigs in different towns or cities on the same day.

Accompanied by upright bass player Tom Kenrick, Abbott needed a high quality but portable system, which could be deployed and packed away again quickly.

Distributed in Britain by Sennheiser UK, the K-array Blueline KB-1 comprises of a 12" sub and eight 3.15" mid/high loudspeakers in line array format

Australia - As part of the new Darling Quarter precinct and in a collaborative effort between Lend Lease and Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority (SHFA), a new state of the art children's theatre and performance space has been created. Lend Lease and SHFA jointly selected Monkey Baa Theatre Company as the resident company for the new Lend Lease Darling Quarter Theatre. The venue houses the company's office, as well as facilitating rehearsals and performances.

The theatre is the only purpose-built performance space for children in Australia and the first major addition to Sydney's arts infrastructure since Carriageworks, which opened in Redfern in 2007.

The technical fit out of the theatre is a turnkey project Jands completed in partnership with The PA People. Rob Mitchell of RTM International was the theatre consultant engaged by Lend Lease.

An ETC Ion 1000 console with radio

UK / Spain - LS-Live has created a custom triple size DJ booth to boost the visual performance of A-list DJs for live music/dance hotel brand Ibiza Rocks.

Unveiled at new electronic dance night We Are Rockstars (W.A.R!), which kicked of the summer season of events on 8 June, the performance platform is a pioneering adaptation of the LiteConsole product which is used by Zane Lowe and Magnetic Man, who said it would "work perfectly". Example & DJ Wire, Major Lazer and Doorly also enjoyed playing on the console on the opening night.

The 3m long DJ booth features a front wall of LED panels, which from an audience perspective, merges visually with the big LED screen behind the DJ meaning the artist become immersed in the show.

Said Ibiza Rocks group director of live events, Mike Darling, "The custom console gives DJs at the two venues a great visual presence

Sweden - Ranking among the coolest venues in the world, Dalhalla is located in a 60m deep former limestone quarry, seven kilometres north of beautiful Lake Siljan and the town of Rättvik in central Sweden.

The 4000 capacity open air theatre was opened in 1995 and presents a summer season of around 30 performances - from operatic and choral works to full on rock 'n' roll.

This year's festival production lighting design by Anders 'Hebbe' Herbertzon from High Voltage Designs includes Robe MMXs and LEDWash 600s which were recently purchased by locally based lighting rental company Park Brothers, and delivered by Robe's Swedish distributor, Bellalite.

Hebbe has lit the Dalhalla Summer Season for Park Brothers for the last three years - also using Robes - including ColorWash 1200E ATs and ColorSpot 2500 and 700E ATs.

The Dalhalla design is based on two 17.6m long trusses hung u

UK - Black Light has been part of the team that has been working on the new Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow. This building, named in tribute to the athlete, is one of the most significant new sports venues in the UK.

"The project highlights our ability to work on high-profile projects that demand exceptional levels of performance," says Phil Haldane, Black Light's head of business development. "It also demonstrates our ability to work with consultants to deliver projects to strict cost specifications."

Black Light was commissioned by the building's electrical contractor FES to deliver and install an LED architectural lighting system to illuminate the building's facade. This lighting scheme was designed by Arup, the consultant for the project, and utlises 60 Traxon Technologies Wall Wash LED fittings and eCue control systems. It allows the exterior of the

UK - Community continued the successful track record of its high power R-Series loudspeakers with around 230 systems installed at multiple venues for the London 2012 Olympics, including the Handball Arena, Basketball Arena, Water Polo Centre, Aquatic Centre, Outdoor Water Sports Centre and the Main Olympic Stadium.

The 22 models in the R-Series range provide a comprehensive choice of throw distances and coverage patterns and are used outdoors, from theme parks like Disneyland to the flood warning system of the city of Venice, and indoors at large convention centres and airports.

The five models deployed at the London 2012 Olympic venues were the R2, R1, R.5, R.5COAX and R.25, configured with a variety of dispersion patterns to provide the coverage each location required. The long-throw R2 is a powerful three-way system, comprising dual 12-inch LF drivers, 2-inch M200 midrange

UK - Three years ago, entertainment lighting specialist White Light supplied lighting equipment to an innovative new production of the timeless classic Peter Pan, staged in a giant tent in London's Kensington Gardens. This summer, White Light has once again returned to the majestic Kensington Gardens, supplying lighting to a new production of another timeless classic - CS Lewis' The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.

The Threesixty° production, playing until 9 September, takes the audience on the fantastical and complex journey of siblings Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy.

Directors Rupert Goold & Michael Fentiman worked with scenic, costume, and puppetry designer Tom Scutt and lighting designer Tim Mitchell to create the magical and encompassing world of Narnia. The production, staged in the round, required versatile and powerful equipment to solve challenges u

UK - The PLASA Awards for Innovation, sponsored by AED Rent and Lighting&Sound, were presented at the PLASA Show in London yesterday evening, along with the announcement of the prestigious Gottelier Award.

During the show's opening two days, 47 products were judged 'live' in front of a crowd of show visitors and camera crew by an independent panel of expert judges who toured the show floor to view each product presentation.

John Meyer of iconic pro audio brand Meyer Sound was honoured with this year's Gottelier Award in recognition of his life as one of the pioneers of the modern sound reinforcement industry.

Eight Awards for Innovation were presented - including a final Gold Award for Innovation - along with a special Award for Sustainability.

Nominees are asked to demonstrate a new style of thinking, an improvement in technical practice, an aid to safety, energy-s

UK - A.C. Special Projects (ACSP) has designed, supplied and installed complete technical facilities for the Sidney Stringer Academy's (SSA) new theatre in Coventry.

The SSA has gained a reputation as an innovator that encourages experimental teaching practices, and offers a range of BTEC vocational courses including Performing Arts and Music, for students aged 11-19.

The new multi-purpose theatre stages full productions by SSA and can be hired by local community groups and organisations.

The project was led for ACSP by Dave Cowan, who worked closely with SSA's head of drama, Michael Collins. ACSP were chosen for their extensive experience providing industry-standard technical facilities to the educational and performance markets.

It follows a very successful prior installation by ACSP in a temporary space to facilitate SSA students during the new theatre's construction -

Russia - Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre has undergone a major refurbishment. As well as renovation and construction work, the theatre management decided to invest heavily in state-of-the-art communications equipment.

The nerve centre is the largest RTS professional intercom system for stage management worldwide with six interconnected individual stage-manager systems, and here they were prepared to accept no compromises. For this reason, the Hamburg-based specialist Amptown System Company was charged with the installation.

"The new intercom system had, above all, to guarantee one thing," explains Stefan Thomsen, Amptown System Company's specialist in communications and stage-management systems, "that all those involved in a production would be able to exchange information with each other at any time without any problem."

Furthermore, the system - however comple

UK - Bristol's historic Theatre Royal has reopened its newly refurbished auditorium to rapturous applause following a £12m redevelopment, which drew on the expertise of design consultancy Charcoalblue LLP.

The Grade I-listed 1780s Georgian theatre, which is home to Bristol Old Vic, has been sensitively refurbished to upgrade and install modern technology into the original auditorium.

A major element of the brief for the works was to provide up-to-date technology, comfort and improved sightlines whilst working around the original timber structure and delicate plasterwork.

Charcoalblue's work on the theatre involved designing new technical systems, significant refurbishment of the scenery flying system, replacement of the stage grid, new architecturally-integrated lighting positions in the auditorium, completely new lighting and sound installations and new technical cont

France - For the sixth consecutive year, French rental company, Polygone Equipement provided production support for the Foire de Douai at the Gayant Expo.

The 68th edition was held at the beginning of September, and inside Hall 3000 (at the Carré Brasserie) Polygone provided a premium RCF TTL-33A line array system for 10 nights of performance - commencing with Italian legend, Umberto Tozzi.

Polygone Equipement has been using RCF solutions for 30 years and managing director Ge?rard Coucke has enjoyed a passionate relationship with the brand throughout that period. "We were RCF's first pro partner for France back in 2006 - and probably the first in Europe - with our investment in TTL33-A line array and TTS28A subwoofers," he states.

"In 2011, we added the big TTL55-A and TTS56-A- and are presently thinking about adding to this system."

To cover a s

USA - For Mike Ross, creative arts director at The Pointe Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana, choosing the right audio equipment is an important part of his mission. In addition to great sound quality, Ross requires solutions that are flexible, reliable and easy for multiple singers, musicians, pastors and volunteers to use. With Line 6 microphones and digital instrument wireless systems, Ross and his team experience the hassle-free setup and crystal-clear audio they need to stay on message.

Ross' first exposure to Line 6 digital wireless was the Relay G50 instrument system, which he has been using for two years now. "It started with a demo," he recalls. "I was blown away by the accuracy of the sound. I got one immediately, and my bass player and second guitarist got Relay G30 systems. Not long after that, Line 6 introduced their wireless microphones, first the XD-V70

Norway - The Hålogaland Theatre in Troms°, Norway, is putting its new DPA d:fine Headset Microphones through their paces on a production of Les Misérables, which opened on 6 September 2012.

The theatre has replaced its old stock of DPA 4060 omnidirectional miniature microphones with 40 directional d:fine Headset Microphones and 40 d:fine omni microphone booms, which are being used with a new 32 channel Shure Axient wireless system. The microphones were supplied by sound company Lydproduksjon Troms° AS, in conjunction with DPA's Norwegian distributor Lydsystemer.

Jim Oddvar Hansen, head of sound at the theatre, says, "The new d:fine Headset Microphones replace a selection of DPA 4060 miniature microphones that we had had for some time. As our previous experience with DPA technology had always been good, it made sense to upgrade using the same manufac

Finland - In 1954 the novelist C.P. Snow wrote animatedly about the tension between the arts and the sciences: the traditionalists and those wanting to engage with new technologies. The New Men was recognised as an iconic twentieth century text that examined the continuous conflict between the old and the new. Over half a century later it remains an ongoing item on the agenda of every restoration and renovation of architectural masterpieces and buildings of national importance across the globe.

The Svenska Teaten, or Swedish Theatre, in Helsinki is a case in point. Built originally in 1860, the theatre burnt to the ground just three years later, but quickly rose from the ashes in 1866. Occupying a central site in the city, the building looks unchanged externally. Internally, however, things are now very different thanks to a major restoration project completed at the end

Turkey - SGM's new generation LED strobes have arrived on the Aegean coast. In one of the world's biggest open air venues 18 of the XC-5 RGB strobes pulse beneath the night sky of Bodrum. The stylish Halikarnas, which overlooks the Aegean, was completely redesigned this summer by its millionaire owner Süleyman Demir.

Lighting stalwart Andy Graves, of Turkish-based LEDsistem, supplied 18 of SGM's innovative XC-5 RGB strobes among the lasers and special effects that animate this luxurious multi-zone venue. They had been specified by Arch Lite's Matthew Button and Trent O'Connor, who between them undertook responsibility for the architectural, theatrical and club lighting design.

Button, who masterminded the stage lighting design, had no hesitation in choosing the SGM solution over conventional strobes, stating, "In terms of power, this fixture not only outperforms a standa

UK - The Bristol Old Vic, one of Britain's most historic theatres, founded in 1766 by 50 merchants, lawyers and politicians, has been given a spectacular £12.26m makeover in the first phase of a major redevelopment.

Originally designed by the Bristol architect James Saunderson, the theatre is believed to be the oldest working theatre in the UK. Stage Electrics was awarded the contract to design and install a completely new technical infrastructure and production lighting, audio and communications systems. The project has been headed by consultants Charcoalblue with design by John Stevens and project management by John Woodley; architect Andrzej Blonski and builders Galliford Try.

The refurbishment includes the raising of the stalls and gallery to dramatically improve sightlines throughout the Georgian auditorium, a new, flexible thrust stage format, conversion of the pai

USA - CAST is pulling out all the stops for PLASA Focus Stamford with not one, but four new products, plus an educational seminar. PLASA Focus will be held 12-13 November at the Stamford Marriott in Stamford, Connecticut where CAST will be exhibiting in Booth 121 and will demonstrate their newest products, BlackTrax, wysiwyg R29, Vivien 2012 and Vivien Online.

Jim Hutchison, product manager wysiwyg and Vivien, will present the seminar entitled, The Birth, Childhood, and Apparent Adolescence of Lighting Design Technology as part of the PLASA Focus Professional Development Programme. The seminar will be held on Monday, 12 November from 1:30-2:30pm and again on Tuesday, 13 November from 12:30-1:30pm in the Massachusetts Room.

Hutchison's session will take trip through the last 75 years or so of lighting Design technology, from its birth with paper and pencil through the ab

UK - Brighton based pro audio, video and lighting integrator Penguin Media Solutions has recently achieved authorised dealer status with Crestron.

Dylan Thompson, Penguin Media Solutions' director of operations, says: "We've been aware of Crestron for some time and recently some projects have presented themselves which lend themselves perfectly to a Crestron product - becoming an authorised dealer was the only logical step to offer our clients the best possible solution."

(Jim Evans)

USA - After opening in Scottsdale, AZ's Old Town section in June 2011, Wild Knight quickly became one of the city's hottest nightclubs, thanks to an all-star lineup of electronic music DJs from around the world. Along with beats from such EDM icons as Zedd, Thomas Gold, Skrillex, and John Digweed, the 4,000sq.ft club offered a sophisticated interior décor, bottle service amenities, and an advanced sound and lighting system. Yet, despite this overnight success, Wild Knight's owners felt that some much-needed energy was missing from the club.

After considering many different options, they decided that the solution would be to supplement the DJ booth with an LED video screen display. They felt the addition of a video wall would enhance and intensify the performance of the featured act, adding a powerful visual element that would serve as a commanding focal point in the club.

USA - Since its founding in 1891, Holy Spirit Catholic Church has held a special place in the hearts of Philadelphia-area residents. In the early years of the twentieth century, the church forged a reputation as one of the few non-segregated churches and parochial schools in the region.

Dedicated in 1961, Holy Spirit's current sanctuary is a welcoming space, resplendent with ornate woodcarvings, wrought iron, and magnificent stained glass, including perhaps one of the only works commemorating John Fitzgerald Kennedy's inauguration as the country's first Catholic president.

But the same elements that make the sanctuary so beautiful to behold also make it a rather acoustically challenging space. As Tony Albano of Avondale, PA-based Naamans Creek Audio Video explains, the room's configuration is anything but ordinary.

"It's a very different type of room," says Albano.

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