A cutting-edge club sound and lighting system have been detailed and installed by Marquee Audio into the new 2,300-capacity concert and dance venue, The Academy, in Birmingham. Opened in Dale End by the McKenzie Group - owners of the Brixton Academy and Shepherds Bush Empire - some £600,000 has been spent on converting the former Rank-owned Hummingbird, which had been closed for six years before being sold to the London-based entertainment company, into a premier mid-sized concert venues. The brief was to deliver a quality club system into both the major auditorium and 400-capacity auxiliary room. As a result, Marquee spec’d a computer-controlled Turbosound sound system, driven by a combination of 15 MC2 MC-1259 and three MC-750 amplifiers, and digitally distributed through a pair of BSS 9088LL audio matrix devices, with a Soundweb 9010 ‘Jellyfish’ remote providing local access.
As for lighting, Marquee supplied eight Optikinetics Solar 250 projectors, four Deathstar strobes, four Martin MAC 500, eight Martin Destroyer X250 multi-rotating beam effects, 12 Martin PRO 918s and two MAC 250s on the rig - working with a four-head Martin Techno Haze smoke machine - all run from an Avolites Azure 2000 desk. In the secondary room a further four Opti Solar 250s, eight Martin Destroyer X250s and four Martin MX4 intelligent light projectors form the rig, controlled from from a Light Processor QCommander.
TiLE will be the official European Show of The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA). TiLE is aimed at those who have an interest in the future of location-based leisure attractions, whilst TEA is an international alliance of the world's most talented and experienced professionals in the themed attractions industry. The decision coincides perfectly with the 10th anniversaries of both TiLE and TEA and recognises the close relationship that has built up between the two; the European Chapter of TEA (now TEA Europe) was launched at TiLE 1998 in Strasbourg, France, and has become one of the fastest growing chapters of TEA.
Following an 18-month market research and development project, Sarner International Ltd, a leading audio-visual design and installation specialist, has re-launched itself with a new management line-up which includes the promotion of experienced divisional managers to its board and the introduction of a new corporate identity. The company’s Ross Magri, Michael Bennett, Ian Revens and David Dempsey have joined the Sarner Board. David Dempsey, Sarner's sales and marketing director told PLASA Media: "We reached the conclusion that we needed to re-evaluate the direction of our work and our expectations for the future." As a result, the company has decided to concentrate its efforts on three main markets: the integrated presentation systems market, the corporate production and events market and the design and build of themed visitor attractions and experiences market.
Elissa Getto has joined Theatre Projects Consultants as senior theatre consultant in the Norwalk, Connecticut office. She will be a principal member of the team conducting performing arts feasibility studies and advising on a wide range of administration issues. Currently she is working on major studies for the Lincoln Centers in both New York and Dallas. Prior to joining TPC, Getto served as CEO and President of the Westport Country Playhouse, Connecticut and was also president of the Cincinnati Arts Association and an executive director of PACT Inc.
International Leisure Industry Week (LIW - 2-4 October 2001, NEC, Birmingham) has appointed Neil Felton as show director. Felton, previously manager for fitness, health and sport at LIW, is now responsible for overseeing the entire exhibition, as well as dealing with the show’s sponsorships and liaising closely with trade associations.
The year 2000 saw Renaissance Cruise Lines add three new ships to its fleet, the R5, R6 and R7. Already distinguished by having the youngest fleet in the industry, Renaissance Cruise Lines will soon be amongst the five largest cruise lines in the world, with the addition of the R8, which will be named in a ceremony on 18 February. Built at the Chantiers de L’Atlantique yard, Saint-Nazaire, France, the R-class ships are almost identical in design, and the Saint-Nazaire division of HMS France has supplied and installed the entertainment systems, TV distribution and the broadcast and editing systems on all of them. For the entertainment areas of the R5, R6, R7 and R8, HMS installed an ETC Sensor delta dimming system plus 48 Source Four PARs and 32 Source Four ellispoidals at the specification of its Miami-based division Harbour Marine Systems.
On February 1st AEI Music held a launch party for ProFusion, featuring renowned Ibiza and Ministry of Sound DJ Brandon Block. Hosted at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts, the launch was attended by many of the UK’s leading retail and leisure operators. Attendees were treated to a champagne reception and demonstrations of the software that supports ProFusion, blending all the benefits of Hard Disc storage with the know-how of experienced professional music programmers. Capable of running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, the system is able to store 400 hours of digital music or eight hours of video. Up to four separate zones from a single unit give businesses the opportunity to segment their sites into specific areas. Pre Launch trials have proved a great success, with operators including Whitbread, AMF Bowl and Scottish and Newcastle signing up for further installations.
MAVCO has been awarded the contract to install the audio equipment for all public areas on Carnival Cruise Lines' Carnival Spirit. The 960-foot, 84,000-tonnes Carnival Spirit is destined to go into service from Miami in the spring of 2001. Onboard, MAVCO is involved with designing and installing audio systems in a total of 23 venues, headed by onsite project manager, Nick Gibson. Work on the project started in Turku last October, where he and his team built 56 racks within six weeks, which are now being installed on Carnival Spirit in Helsinki. In the main theatre, MAVCO is installing two LCS LD88 audio processors to provide room surround effects, and 90 EAW loudspeakers, together with 60 Renkus Heinz and Macpherson loudspeakers. Processing will be via a Peavey Mediamatrix digital sound processor, and 54 Crest CKS amplifiers will be controlled by Crest's NexSys computer control system. The theatre will also have a Midas XL4 fully automated audio mixer together with a Midas XL3 side wing mixer.
A couple of new developments on the performing arts front. Ballast Construction has won a £14m contract to build the Laban Centre in Deptford, including 13 dance studios and a 300-seat theatre, whilst Newcastle City Council is currently reviewing plans with Newcastle University to develop a £60m arts and heritage complex at the Playhouse theatre site at Barras Bridge. Leisure development continues apace: Government approval has been given for a £30m leisure development at Gloucester Docks which will include a multiplex cinema, restaurants and retail units. Associated British Ports, meanwhile, has submitted plans for a new leisure and retail development at Alexandra Dock in Grimsby, including shops, a restaurant, pub and possibly a hotel. Isle of Wight Council is considering plans from Godshill Park Developments for the creation of a 60-bedroom hotel and conference centre in Wootton and finally Leicester City has won approval to build a £35m 32,000-seat football stadium at Freeman's Wharf.
Park Avenue has been awarded a multi-million dollar contract to design and build new exhibits for General Motors’ successful Test Track attraction at Epcot in Orlando, Florida. Guests board the Cyber Seats and are taken on a virtual journey, which uses state-of-the-art stereoscopic displays, 3D sound and seats that rotate and vibrate to enhance the experience. This project will be the second ride based around an animated film that Park Avenue has designed, produced and installed at Disney. In July 1998, Park Avenue created the ‘Sparky’ ride film and 18 Cyber Seats as part of the new Innoventions Pavilion within Tomorrowland at DisneyLand in Anaheim.
In a launch event spanning three days, Imagination has opened the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, a brand experience on which the company has been working since 1997. The Guinness Storehouse, which replaces the Hopstore, the brewery’s existing visitor attraction, is set to become one of Ireland’s biggest draws, with a million Irish and overseas visitors anticipated annually.
The six-storey Guinness Storehouse sits at the heart of the St James’ Gate brewery complex. Originally built in 1904, the former fermentation plant was the first steel-framed building in Ireland. Imagination has converted the 170,000 sq.ft building into a state-of-the-art visitor attraction featuring an immersive Guinness Experience as well as three bars and a retail store. The Irish business community, as well as Guinness’ own staff, are able to use the Guinness Storehouse’s extensive facilities for corporate training and events, while the building’s purpose-built gallery and exhibition area will host an eclectic mix of one-off artistic, musical and cultural events designed to attract a local as well as an international audience. The building is also home to the Guinness Archive, which contains 250 years of brewing and social history.
The emphasis on attracting local visitors as well as the tourist market was a key element of Imagination’s vision for the Guinness Storehouse. The company collaborated with Dublin-based architectural practice Robinson Keefe Devane in the conversion of the building, whose most distinctive feature is its 102ft high atrium, in the
On 1st February 2001, PLASA went online with its brand new website at www.plasa.org. The new site is the latest development in the six-year history of PLASA’s online presence, and continues the organisation’s aim to provide the premier online resource for the entertainment, presentation and event technology industry worldwide.
The new site further develops the extensive and freely-available information resources offered to the industry by PLASA. Now available are fully-searchable databases allowing fast, easy and flexible access to the full listing of 450+ PLASA members; 1,500 industry news items in the online news archive; a comprehensive calendar of industry events, and over 100 titles in PLASA’s Technical Book Service.
PLASA’s Managing Director Matthew Griffiths comments: "Aside from the great new look of the site, I’m especially pleased with the new keyword-search facilities. We provide the opportunity - for free, and within a matter of seconds - to find every news item that a particular company has appeared in on the PLASA News website over the past 18 months. The same applies for searching the membership database for companies, products and services, or for finding details of worldwide industry events. This is what the industry has been demanding from a website like ours, and we’re pleased to be offering such a truly beneficial service."
In addition to providing a valuable resource to the global industry, the new site has been designed to represent all the diverse aspects of PLASA as an organisation - including the A
Avanti Television, one of the largest-growing independent production companies in Wales, has recently launched an all-digital facility - The Pop Factory.
The new operation, located in Porth near Cardiff, is sited in the former Corona Pop Works and will become home to a weekly live music programme that will be seen on the digital platform BBC Choice Wales. It also houses A3 Records and a brand new 48 track recording studio and rehearsal complex, complete with on-line and off-line editing facilities, called The Welsh Hills Works.
The multi-purpose broadcast centre is, according to Avanti’s founder and MD Emyr Afan, the most important development in Welsh broadcasting this decade. "There is a new confidence in Wales. More and more high-tech companies are locating here. With The Pop Factory, we are proud to be bringing London-quality facilities to South Wales and creating a focus for media businesses in the region."
The centrepiece of the audio system is the new Sony DMX-R100 which was chosen to fulfil a busy and varied schedule in the Pop Factory’s hectic programme, which includes the production of a music magazine series for BBC2 as well as ‘Sesiwn Hwyr’ (the ‘Late Session’) - a live welsh-language programme for S4C. Programming was already underway when the building was officially opened by Welsh music icons Tom Jones, Cerys Matthews and Kelly Jones of the Stereophonics in the latter part of last year. "In fact, the moment the console power was switched on, we were editing on it!" recalled Owen Thomas, head of sou
The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) saw the five year Centenary Project of redevelopment and refurbishment come to fruition at the end of last year when the new facility was opened by HM The Queen alongside a host of celebrity guests, politicians and past students. Andy Wood talks to head of sound Colin Brown.
The scheme for the re-development of RADA - one of the premier training establishments for theatre arts and technology - was made possible thanks to a £22.7m grant from the Arts Council Lottery Board, along with £8m of self-generated capital donations. RADA includes a new Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre, George Bernard Shaw (GBS) Theatre, John Gielgud Studio Theatre, a recording studio and three control rooms, all of which are linked by a state-of-the-art sound, video and communications systems which allow complete synergy between the performance spaces.
Education is naturally the major emphasis, however, RADA also doubles up as a public performance venue with 16 full productions a year and as such its infrastructure needs to be flexible. For Colin Brown, head of sound and a RADA technical staff member since 1974, the new work involved co-ordinating with the BBC, Theatre Projects, the Oxford Sound Company, builders Laing and project managers Buro Four Project Services, to create work spaces that would allow both practical production and instruction in the same area. The same criteria applied to head of lighting Neil Fraser. The new Jerwood Vanbrugh theatre therefore is the first space in London to use a high-tension steel wire grid, which both lighting and sound
A disused soap factory formerly owned by Kone Ab lies in the heart of the old city of Helsinki. Not unattractive, the factory building, though squat and angular, is made from softly textured sandstone. It is barely a hundred years old, yet has just recently undergone extensive renovation.
The reason? It’s been taken over as the new home for the State Theatre School. A major project, the fifth floor of the North Wing is home to 11 large dance studios, while downstairs, surrounding two sides of a roofed courtyard, are five separate, though admittedly small, theatres. Other facilities include lecture halls, a gym, make-up room - just about every possible theatrical discipline is catered for - as well as admin functions being contained within the factory’s ample interior. The funding is all from the government, as is the full digital TV studio just installed at the Helsinki University of Technology.
Although these facilities are decidedly state-of-the-art, they don’t appear profligate; the equipment is there, but not in excessive quantities. On the day of my visit, 300 new students were enrolling at the State Theatre School. These will swell the ranks of an existing 600 second and third year students who were previously trained at various locations around the city and further afield. The department of Lighting and Sound Design, for example, was housed at Tampere, 200km away.
For that reason alone, this new central unitary facility will save the school immense amounts of money. And what do the students have to contribute towards all this? "Just 400 F
The planned auction of the Dome’s contents may possibly die before it even gets going if Legacy plc’s bid for the site is not concluded on 14 February as intended. It appears that the Government and Legacy cannot agree terms, and, as a result, the New Millennium Experience Company has reviewed plans to postpone indefinitely the £10m auction, which is scheduled to start at the end of February. We understand that they may, however, proceed with the sale of some of the site’s assets. If the Legacy bid does fall through, it will mean that other potential bidders, including the Dome's chief executive, Pierre-Yves Gerbeau, who has struck an alliance with James Palumbo, property firm Pilton Group and the pop impresario Harvey Goldsmith, may have their wish to keep the venue entertainment-based rather than the business park proposal that was at the heart of the Legacy plan.
Several new projects have been given the green light this month. Dunfermline Athletic has won planning permission for a business enterprise centre, 60-bedroom hotel, swimming pool and leisure facility at its football stadium in Fife. Meanwhile, maintaining a sporting theme, Grimsby Town is expected to start work on a new football stadium at Great Coates in September, having won the go-ahead from North East Lincolnshire Council. Travel giant Stagecoach has submitted plans for the development of a multiplex cinema and entertainment centre at the bus station site in Exeter, and the BBC has begun recruiting 80 staff for a new £4m TV and radio news broadcasting facility in Sevenoaks.
Details courtesy of UK Business Park.
Simon Woodroffe’s new ‘Yo! Land’ in London’s Farringdon Road, Clerkenwell, is the new home for the company’s HQ, as well as the site of the latest Yo! Sushi (featuring a 2,100ft-long conveyor belt which carries dishes to up to 200 diners) and Yo! Below operations.Yo! Below, situated behind Yo! Sushi, provides punters with a rather unusual blend of food, live DJs, Manga videos, massage and singing waitresses. This strongly entertainment-led venue, designed by John Isted, has sourced its show technology from the newly-created Marquee Installations, with MI’s Mark Brown responsible for the design and supply of the system.
"Farringdon combines the best elements of previous sites we’ve worked on, with visuals becoming an ever-increasing part of the landscape. For instance, we’ve now upgraded to the superior quality of plasma displays," said Brown, adding: "It was clear that they wanted the best technology available and the key element is that since the entire trading area in Yo! Below is a performance stage, we needed to achieve even sound coverage."
The components of the system, therefore, had to be carefully selected for their effect on the soundscape. Sennheiser radio microphones are supplied to the performers who strut down catwalks between diners, while Sabine feedback exterminators ensure a clear signal, and a combination of QSC amplification and six tried and trusted RCF Monitor 8s handle the delivery, sourced either from the Technics SL1210 decks, minidsic or Numark CD players at the DJ station, or f
A major overhaul of the sound system in one of Britain's most famous cathedrals has been achieved with the help of Audio-Technica microphones. Sound designer Michael Hyland and installers Northern Light opted for a range of Audio-Technica mics as part of a complete revamp of York Minster's sound system, which included an induction loop to aid the hard of hearing and new video facilities. Unobtrusive AT935QMRX miniature gooseneck condenser mics, AT961-RH condenser boundary mics and the popular high output, low impedance MB2000 mic, with its MagnaLock silent switch, were all used in the new system which covers a number of zones in the Cathedral of St Peter. A central 'status panel' is set out to represent the Gothic building's layout. The status panel incorporates the 29 loudspeaker zones and 23 microphone positions and allows the user to set up the sound system before an event.
DARE Professional Audio has released a shielded version of its highly successful Micro 12 loudspeaker. The Micro 12 is passive as standard, handles 650W and has a dispersion of 90 by 60 degrees. The speaker has seven integral flying points, the horn can rotate for horizontal installations, and there is also a wall/ceiling bracket available. The Micro 12 provides a high powered compact solution for audio visual applications where a quality audio performance is expected. It is also available in portable weatherised versions.
Hayden Laboratories report continuing sales of the Rolec hard drive background and foreground music systems into a variety of venues and installations. Le Petit Blanc in Oxford, one of the renowned brasserie brand of chef Raymond Blanc, now has a Rolec DHD-200C onboard, supplied by Installation Technology. Recent retail environments with Rolec systems include Boots stores in Milton Keynes and Kensington, both via Reflex Systems and fashion store Envy at the Bluewater shopping experience in Kent, via Music Marketing Services. Hocken Sound and Music Marketing Services are installing Rolec hard drives into Litten Tree pub venues for Surrey Free Inns. Restaurant Bazaar is a Chinese restaurant roll-out, expanding rapidly in the Greater London area, owned by Taipan Taverns. All sites are including Rolec hard drives for music, installed by HTL from Blackpool. Other HTL Rolec installs include the Marriott Hotel in Swansea and more with Forte and Posthouse hotel installations through Balance Audio. Liverpool-based Orritt Electronic Services now always supply the Rolec system over multi-CD machines. Recent examples are Edwards, a Bass Leisure young person’s destination venue, O’Neill’s Irish bars and Bass’s City Town bars and Arena venues.
PLASA (the Professional Lighting and Sound Association) has recently introduced its latest addition to the range of benefits which it offers to members. PLASA’s new Human Resources service, set up in conjunction with CP Associates HR Consultancy, provides PLASA members with access to professional help and advice with personnel issues. The service is designed to offer practical, independent advice, based on the latest factual information available, and covers areas including contracts & terms of employment; disciplinary and grievance procedures; employee benefits; employment legislation; pay reviews; recruitment and selection; risk assessment; redundancy and absence control.
To use the service, members simply call the PLASA office, and are then given the telephone, fax or e-mail address of CP Associates. They are then entitled to 15 minutes of free advice on any one subject. Where a more detailed or specific consultation is required, PLASA has negotiated highly preferential rates for its members. These might include personnel procedure audits, contracts of employment and staff handbooks, setting a human resource strategy, and new personnel policies or systems. To safeguard the viability of the service, it can only be used by a member company’s PLASA contact or managing director.
PLASA’s Membership Services Manager, Norah Phillips, comments: “We aim to offer our members real advantages in the areas of business and information, and this is the latest in a series of new services which we have introduced with this in mind. We believe that this new fac
London-based pro-audio distributor Autograph Sales, has announced the supply of a Clear-Com Matrix Plus 3 digital point-to-point intercom system to the Royal National Theatre. The fully-progammable intercom system will be installed in the 890-seater Lyttelton Theatre in April 2001. At the heart of the communications system will be a Clear-Com Compact 72 mainframe, expandable up to 72-ports. Various system interfaces will allow the RNT to incorporate its existing complement of Clear-Com Party-Line equipment - including over 30 beltpacks and four master stations. As part of the Matrix Plus system, Autograph Sales has also supplied more than 14 Clear-Com ICS-92 9-key switch stations, all featuring electronic labelling of the destination keys.
Janet Garner, managing director of Wembley (London) Ltd, was appointed Executive Secretary of the European Arenas Association (EAA) at its recent meeting in Barcelona. The EAA is the largest European co-operative association of arenas with 13 members spread across 12 countries and further expansion is expected. From a new base in a majestic canal-side house in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, the EAA aims to help the arenas to think and act as a group and to exchange information with each other. 2001 will be the EAA’s tenth anniversary.