UK - Located in central Leeds, the West Yorkshire Playhouse provides top-class theatrical performance facilities for audiences throughout the region and beyond. It is a producing theatre which creates its own shows for both in-house production and national touring, whilst also collaborating frequently with other major regional theatres. Numerous shows have transferred to the West End from Leeds, the most recent being Loserville which premiered at London's Garrick Theatre in October 2012.

The Playhouse also provides one of the country's most comprehensive arts education programmes, working with schools and young people in addition to offering a range of initiatives for adults and community groups. It is also a significant local employer with in excess of 200 staff representing every working discipline necessary to operate a contemporary theatre.

The West Yorkshire Playho

USA - California's San Mateo Union High Schools District is currently in the process of remodelling - and, in some instances, totally replacing - the theatres of six of its high schools: Aragon, Burlingame, Capuchino, Hillsdale, Mills, and the flagship San Mateo location. Theatre consulting for each of the venues was provided by San Francisco's Shalleck Collaborative, which specified L-Acoustics loudspeaker systems throughout.

Two of the projects - the new 614-capacity Aragon venue and refurbished 90-year-old Burlingame space with 593 seats and reopened balcony - have already now been completed. Both rooms feature left and right arrays comprised of six Kiva elements flown beneath a single SB18 and driven by LA4 amplified controllers.

The remaining four theatres are all scheduled for completion prior to the start of the 2013-14 school year. Two of the schools boast nearly 800 s

Canada - Constructed in 1923-24 and designed by Montreal architect Joseph-Raoul Gariépy, who specialised in theatre and hospital projects, the Rialto was inspired by the Neo-baroque-style of the Paris Opera House. The Rialto Theatre is one of the most iconic buildings in Montreal, and is a former movie palace which today is designated as a 'National Historic Site' of Canada.

Today the main floor supports 708 people in standing mode, 450 people in theatre row seating, 350 in cabaret style seating. The newly opened balcony holds an additional 450 seated people.

Recent technical upgrades include a new Adamson SpekTrix loudspeaker system powered with Lab.gruppen PLM with Dolby Lake processing. In order to preserve the architectural beauty and clean sightlines, the ground stacked PA system is made up of four Spektrix 5 degree boxes mounted atop a double 18" cardioid Sub

South America - Armenian symphony orchestra and choir Kohar has enjoyed remarkable success since it was formed 15 years ago. Performing across the world, the ensemble recently returned from a series of shows in South America, at which three Yamaha CL5 digital consoles starred.

With over 140 musicians, a choir, 12 solo singers and a dance troupe of 11 to accommodate, the shows required a flexible audio system with a large channel capacity and reliable connectivity, but which was easy to implement. Hamburg-based Pinguin Ing.Büro for Audio Production asked Arthur Koll from Yamaha Music Europe GmbH to act as the tour's live and broadcast audio consultant, supervising the system design and deployment for the elaborate show.

The system comprised one CL5 at the monitor position and two more at front of house - one doing submixes which were fed via Dante to the other two consoles. Th

USA - Improving safety conditions for technical staff members has always been a primary goal at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. When timing and budgets came together after the annual production of A Christmas Carol opened in November 2012, they called Sapsis Rigging, Inc.

Sapsis installed fall arrest equipment in both performance spaces at the Goodman - the 856-seat Albert Ivar Goodman Theatre's proscenium stage, and the flexible thrust-style stage in the (maximum) 450-seat Owen Bruner Goodman Theatre.

Daniel Porter, one of the ETCP-certified rigging professionals on the Sapsis staff, supervised the entire installation. He and his crew placed eight ProPlus horizontal lifelines on the Albert's catwalk, balcony rail, and loading bridge, as well as 36 ProPlus self-retracting lifelines (SRLs). These SRLs feature a dual inertia braking system, which stops a fall with minimal

USA - The New York City Performing Arts Centre recently benefitted from a major renovation programme which has transformed the iconic venue into a premium destination for world-class drama and music performances. The full system audio upgrade was designed by NYCC's Augie J Propersi in association with Scott Lehrer, with acoustic consultancy from Kierkegaard Associates.

Following on-site demos by TiMax distributor Duncan Crundwell of 1602Group LLC, TiMax2 Soundhub was specified as the overall system processor to provide routing, EQ and zone management plus the ground-breaking audio localization capabilities of its automated dynamic delay-matrix.

Propersi explains, "We wanted the TiMax Soundhub to matrix the main house sound system and manage speaker alignment and sound imaging within the performance space - so for all the system timings as well as room tuning. The EQ secti

Russia - St. Petersburg-based integrator Ascreen, dnp denmark's premium dealer in Russia (and dnp Partner of the Year 2012), has designed and implemented a major AV system upgrade at the St Petersburg Court House, using the Danish company's solutions.

The building's main conference hall seats 350 people, and ensuring that they all get a good view was the installers' key concern. The solution they chose was a Supernova Infinity screen measuring 5500mm x 3094mm, made of the standard 08-85 material to achieve the highest image possible, and driven by two Panasonic PT-DW100 10000 ANSI lumen projectors working in 'dot-by-dot' mode.

"We chose the screen size and material to give everyone a bright, clear image, and deliver the high contrast you need for viewing material on video," explains Ascreen brand manager, Oleg Gukov.

In two areas of the courthouse strong ambient li

UK - Theatre design consultancy Charcoalblue is supporting the Theatrical Management Association's industry leading Touring Symposium by announcing lead sponsorship for the next three years.

Charcoalblue will kick off sponsorship this spring as the TMA's Touring Symposium takes place at the Congress Centre in central London on Wednesday 6 March.

The TMA's premier annual event has established itself as the key forum for debate on the development of the UK touring industry. It provides a unique opportunity for venue managers, producers and directors to discuss and determine the environment and practical operation of their sector. Last year's Symposium attracted a record breaking 238 delegates from all over the UK.

"The TMA is delighted to have secured a three-year partnership with Charcoalblue," says David Brownlee, general manager of the Theatrical Management Associ

Denmark - Just because a venue is located in a small town and prides itself on its community links and support for local artists doesn't mean that it is content with being simply average. The Godset Rock Club in Kolding, Denmark is an excellent case in point. Managing director, Christian Haugk clarifies for the uninitiated, "Although we are not a large community, the local government has been consistently supportive in our efforts to create a set of rehearsal rooms and a live venue that has quality written all over it.

"The Godset is run by an amalgam of volunteers and music organisations and provides a wonderful platform for developing grass roots talent, but our commitment to professional quality means that we have a national profile that attracts acts of international stature. Our success provides a feel good factor that politicians recognise as something of a vote

India - A Milos MR5 roof system was recently used for a high profile open-air concert by Oscar award winning Indian megastar A R Rahman, staged at the YMCA Grounds in Chennai, India. Organised by popular Tamil broadcaster Jaya TV, the event was attended by 30,000 enthusiastic fans.

The multi-deck layered stage was designed by leading Bollywood set designer Varsha Jain, and this, the Milos roof system, all trussing, rigging and assorted scaffolding and structures utilised on site were supplied by Chennai based 'Men At Work Stagecraft Management Pvt Ltd'. The project was managed for them by Mankaran Singh.

The Milos roof system measured 24m wide by 18m deep with 13m of headroom. Various trusses were sub hung from its mother-grid, including six straight ones of different lengths and four circular - one at 8m, one at 4m and two 6m diameters.

(Jim Evans)

UK - Award winning creative AV design and installation specialist Sarner ended 2012 on a high note with yet another industry award to add to its trophy cabinet...and this time it was for a project that was designed 12 years ago.

Proving the adage that the old ones are the best; Valhalla, Blackpool Pleasure Beach's most iconic ride, has been voted one of the best in Europe more than a decade after it first opened. The world's biggest indoor dark ride was given the honour at the European Star Awards after a panel of International experts voted it one of the best on the Continent.

Valhalla, which takes riders on a Viking journey through fire, water, snow, thunder and lightning, has enjoyed longevity thanks to Sarner's initial creativity and diversity in combining a white knuckle flume ride with theatrical dynamics of powerful storyline sequences. Sarner conceived the masterplan d

UK - Inaugurated in 1886, the old People's Palace, as it was formerly known, was originally built to provide cultural activities to its local population but tragically burned down in 1931. Rebuilt in 1936 to the west of its original site, the new People's Palace is now owned by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). This historic Grade II listed building has recently undergone a £6.3m facelift to restore it to its former 1930's style interior beauty.

Located in the heart of London's East End and home to the 770 seat Great Hall, the theatre's transformation included a lighting and audio solution supplied and installed by specialist integrators Stage Electrics.

"Queen Mary, University of London is delighted with our newly refurbished venue and we're now getting a huge amount of interest from external hirers and promoters who are discovering this hidden gem in east Lo

South Africa - In the Pretoria CBD, the South African State Theatre is doing phenomenal work as it produces successful shows which play to full houses. It can be described as a theatre that keeps up with the times. In 2012, it not only appointed a new and passionate CEO, but it was also the start of implementing LED technology to the venue.

When DR Quinton W Simpson was assigned CEO in May 2012, he was open to new ideas to further enhance the theatre including the request to transform the theatre to LED. "I asked if we could start changing to LED due to the power, gel and weight of conventional fixtures," said Simon King, senior lighting technician at the State Theatre.

Soon thereafter, the work began with the two smaller venues first. Robin DLX fixtures and LED parcans were purchased. "We realised that we could not buy LED fixtures alone, we also had to change

Ukraine - The Victoria Hotel & Conference Centre is the leading venue in Donetsk, capital of the Donets Basin region of the Ukraine. It is also situated very close to the Donbass Arena, home of local soccer heroes (and 2009 UEFA Cup winners) FC Shakhtar Donetsk (FCSD), and one of the venues for last year's Euro 2012 tournament.

In preparation for Euro 2012, which saw a sizeable portion of the UEFA delegation staying at the Victoria, the hotel was thoroughly refurbished and all of its audio systems were renewed throughout. Odessa-based installer Real Music, who are also the QSC distributor for Ukraine, were responsible for installing all of the PA/VA speakers and systems.

A QSC ILA line array comprising 16 WL2082-i elements (eight left, eight right) and four WL118-sw subwoofers was used in the main conference hall at the Victoria, where all of the pre- and post-match press conf

Australia - Canberra Theatre Centre is Canberra's premier performing arts venue, providing world class performing arts and entertainment to the people of Canberra and surrounding regions. The main venue is the 1,244 seat Canberra Theatre which up until late last year was home to over 120 rather ancient Strand Patt. 23 - last manufactured in 1983!

"I believe it may have been the largest operational rig of Patt. 23's in the country," said Andrew Tweedie, head of lighting at Canberra Theatre Centre. "But they were getting harder and harder to maintain, especially as you couldn't find spare parts, and were not as punchy as they should have been."

A decision was made to replace the Patt. 23's with the main criteria being that the replacement had to be the same size as the space they would be housed in is very small. Canberra's Sound Advice recommended the ETC So

USA - The prestigious Warner Theatre has made its next quantum leap forward in entertainment services with its new Outline Butterfly PA system. Nestled just two blocks from The White House in Washington, D.C. the majestic Warner Theatre has a rich legacy dating back to its origins in 1923 - first with Vaudeville, and later as a cinema theatre during Hollywood's Golden Age.

Fully restored in 1992, the Warner took on yet another incarnation and became an esteemed live performance venue. The new sound system delivers the power and clarity of Outline technology to support the venue's expanded entertainment roster.

Taking its name from Harry Warner, one half of Hollywood's famed Warner Brothers, the Warner Theatre is now a preeminent D.C. Metro showcase, and home to the annual BET Awards. Its lofty stage has been graced with performers from Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, ZZ Top, and

UK - International dance troupe and dance school Dance Reality Studios has selected Le Mark's brand new Dynamic Compression Dance Floor as part of their latest studio expansion.

Increasing their existing studio facility by over 30%, the new dance floor has offered both amateur dancers and Dance Reality's 50 professionally employed dancers the opportunity to learn and rehearse on one of the most sophisticated vinyl dance floors on the market.

The specifically designed professional dance floor offers nearly 6mm of compressed foam, providing an instant and discrete shock absorbing top layer for hard floors.

Le Mark's Sharon Marshall said: "The transformation of this room was incredible. A huge advantage of Dynamic Compression is that it takes minimal time to install and it offers dancers and the studios themselves an impact absorbing surface with minimal cost.


USA - Described as an "evangelical Christian megachurch" Saddleback Church in Southern California embraces high production values to reinforce its services.

Looking to remain at the cutting edge via an architectural makeover late last year, they took delivery of a quantity of Spot One and Wash One LED moving head fixtures from GLP - commissioned by the then lighting director, Jon Griffin.

GLP Inc president, Mark Ravenhill, recalls: "Jon contacted us about the fixtures when they were planning a lighting upgrade to their main stage - replacing the existing discharge lights they had been running for many years. He had heard about the Spot One and could instantly see the potential of it for Saddleback."

The main sanctuary at their 3,000-seat Worship Centre in Lake Forest has long glass walls down each side and by conducting the demo at the peak of the day in

Australia - The Intercontinental Sanctuary Cove in Queensland is one of Australia's premier leisure, conference and incentive destinations. Working closely with Staging Connections, provides a full event service from state-of-the-art audio visual equipment, meeting aids and technical assistance.

With such a varied range of events to cater to, Staging Connections has found the flexibility of their JBL VRX900 Series Constant Curvature Line Arrays to be ideal, so much so they ordered even more JBL VRX932LAP speaker and JBL VRX918SP subwoofers.

"The VRX line array is a welcome addition to our audio inventory," commented Matt Danks of Staging Connections. "These powered top boxes are light which means they are easy to fly and saves time not having to set up additional amplifier drive racks."

"They sound great. The array has an even sound-field and wide di

USA - Beatport's top 10 sound systems in the US features five venues installed with Funktion-One. Beatport - one of the largest online music and tools resources for DJs in the world -searched across the USA to reach a shortlist of 10 standout venues. "The criterion here was very straightforward; which venues in the US have the best sound?" says Beatport.

The enviable top spot went to New York's Cielo Club, which boasts a Funktion-One system. And this was no one-off for the British loudspeaker manufacturer, which also took position number three (Beta, Denver), six (Q, Seattle), eight (Mansion 360, Miami) and number 10 (Smart Bar, Chicago) - quite an achievement when you consider the thousands of nightclubs, theatres and bars dotted around the country.

Recognition from Beatport caps a successful period for Sound Investment Audio, which specified and installed the five

UK - - Venue consultancy Charcoalblue has worked with long-term collaborators Haworth Tompkins Architects, in close association with the National Theatre's directors and in-house teams, to design an intimate, exciting, low-energy and sustainable temporary theatre on London's South Bank: The Shed.

Managed for Charcoalblue by senior partner Jon Stevens, the project was designed in under six months and built in eight. "This forward-thinking experimental building will serve as a temporary and flexible space during the closure of the Cottesloe Theatre, which is undergoing major refurbishment before reopening as the Dorfman Theatre in Spring 2014 as part of the National Theatre Future project."

Steve Tompkins, Haworth Tompkins Architects comments, "The Shed was conceived in a process of concentrated dialogue between trusted collaborators. We always enjoy Charcoalblue'

Australia - For the last 22 years Her Majesty's Theatre Ballarat has been working with an old mobile scissor lift to move stage sets and equipment from street level to stage level, a distance of 6.3m. Not only was it an arduous task to have to wheel it into position, it was becoming an OH&S concern.

"In order to load it you were reaching above waist level and we had no facility to attach it to trucks so it was very difficult to load from them," remarked Liz Mundell, technical operations manager. "There was always a gap between the lift and the back of the truck. Also if the winds got above 15 kilometres an hour we theoretically weren't supposed to use the lift - and in Ballarat that's a gentle breeze."

Other issues included the size of lift and the amount it could carry so council made funds available for a new lift and the project was put out to tender. Pr

USA - Since it was introduced over a year ago, Acclaim Lighting's ART SSC controller has been praised for providing an easy, flexible solution for total solid-state lighting control, appearing in some very challenging applications such as the 2013 Mardi Gras parade. Now Acclaim is offering ART SSC users the added flexibility of being able to control larger, more demanding projects that require a greater number of inputs and outputs, with the new ART IO digital/analogue expansion module.

Suitable for use with the ART SSC, the ART IO is an input/output interface module that is equipped with eight digital/analogue switchable inputs and eight relay-switched digital outputs. Designed to offer great versatility, it supports a number of different protocols, including DMX, RS-232, OSC, UDP and Art-Net.

Each of the ART IO's inputs can be individually configured as digital or analogue,

USA - The Family Church of McAllen, Texas (TFC) chose a Robe lighting system for its new 1400-capacity main worship auditorium. The Robe fixtures were specified by TFC's technical director Obed Castillo and supplied by Phil Rapp of Gear Systems Design from Edmond, Oklahoma, who partnered with TFC to supply and install the full technical production package for the new space.

The new larger sanctuary was the result of a much needed expansion to the existing premises to accommodate the popular and well-attended worship services. The stage systems for the new auditorium were designed for concerts and broadcasts in addition to the five weekly services. Currently TFC has a web-based ministry, but future plans include going to a multi-site format, so good broadcast lighting was vital to the final technical plans.

Gear Systems specified four Robin 600 LEDWashes, eight Robin 300 LEDWas

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