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.
The Arches in Glasgow has reopened recently following a refurbishment of this hybrid club/theatre venue. A new entrance and box office have appeared on Argyle Street (the club entrance will still be on Midland Street), alongside a spectacular new split level cafe-bar, a long overdue new heating and ventilation system, and, for the first time in the building’s history . . . daylight! In addition to the main venue, a complex of workshops and training spaces have also been added.
Edwin Shirley Staging has won the contract to supply all the staging for President-elect George W Bush's Inauguration ceremony this weekend (20 January) on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. ESS is supplying 150 tonnes of staging, including the staging equipment originally erected in Austin, Texas for Bush's acceptance speech. This will form the staging for the swearing-in ceremony, including the main stage on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, media platforms, network television camera platform, video supports and sound delay towers. The project, which employs a core team of eight supervisors and up to 40 local crew at any one time, requires the utmost care as it is being constructed on such a historically sensitive site.
Helmut Brähler, founder of Brähler ICS Konferenztechnik AG in Königswinter, died aged 67 last Monday, following a long and serious illness. Brähler laid the foundations for the company in 1958 in Bonn, when, as a chemistry student, he repaired electronic equipment for the University of Bonn. In 1960 he built the first simultaneous translation facility for the University, and then went on to establish his own company. Since 1972, Brähler has serviced every Olympic Games, numerous World Bank conferences, the Environment Summit in Rio and more than half of all World Economic Summits. It has also equipped more than 90,000 conferences with professional technology. In 1994, Brähler entered a new area of business and developed ‘Digivote’, a voting and consultation system. Helmut officially handed over to his son, Michael, in 1998, but still remained, advising and supporting from the sidelines. The company currently employs over 100 at its Königswinter base and has 14 staff in the UK at its Cambridge and Edinburgh offices. The funeral took place on Saturday 13 January.
Following our feature last month on the new Tussaud’s in New York, we switch coasts to look at Tussaud’s Vegas’ debut at the $1.4billion Venetian Hotel.
The Venetian, with its indoor Grand Canal (complete with gondolas, singing gondoliers and stylish waterside cafés), is the perfect host for the Tussauds Group’s celebration of all things celebrity.
Madame Tussaud’s is to be found within the St Mark’s Library building which, of course, is a full-scale replica of the famous Venice landmark. Tussauds has created a $20million experience that showcases glamorous personalities, many of whom have ties with Vegas, in sumptuous surroundings. The design elements of the exhibits have been thoughtfully executed with talent and kit pulled in from around the globe to make this Tussaud’s a dazzling experience, even by Vegas standards. Show producer Phil Pike spent a year at the drawing board at Tussauds’ London base before relocating to Vegas for a further six months prior to opening night in mid 1999.
A striking aspect of the exhibition is the scale of the setting for the 100 or so wax figures, with the sets and interiors all designed in-house by Tussauds in London and constructed by American company WestSun Design Edge Studios who also sourced the lighting equipment, which came from a variety of manufactures. McLean Media in Toronto were responsible for the complete audio-visual installation.
LDs Mark Henderson and Stephen Wentworth lent their considerable talents to enhancing the unique environments. Both LDs have a long associ
AV specialist company Black Box AV has been busy helping Virgin Entertainment Group transform the Our Price stores into the new V.Shop music retail outlets – with 100 stores completed before the third week in November. A major part of the new-look stores is the inclusion of interactive AV technology, and Paradigm AV has supplied Black Box with rear projection screens manufactured by dnp Denmark, which will appear as front-window points of sale in all the re-profiled stores. The complete package for every store includes a BGM system capable of barring music tracks containing bad language, and listening posts where customers can access any CD in the shop via touch-screen technology. Finally, a video-server solution delivers two channels of MPEG video via in-store plasma panels and the front-line dnp rear projection screens.
PLASA Publishing has learned of the death from cancer of Playlight founder, Mike McMullan, who died peacefully at home on Tuesday 3rd January, surrounded by his family. A statement from the directors and staff of the Playlight Group said: "Mike was one of life's great characters, and will be greatly missed by all who knew him."
The funeral will take place next Wednesday 10 January at 1.00pm at the Altrincham Crematorium, Whitehouse Lane, Dunham Massey, Altrincham, Cheshire. The family has requested that instead of flowers being sent, donations be made to the following charities: St Ann's Hospice, St Ann's Road North, Heald Green, Cheshire; the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, 11 London Road, Bromley, Kent; or the Lymphoma Association, PO Box 386 Aylesbury.
Explorer of the Seas, the latest addition to Royal Caribbean International’s Voyager class cruise ships, showed the world her colours on her first cruise out of Miami on October 28th, 2000.
The Explorer, the second in the Voyager class which debuted with Voyager of the Seas in 1999, could actually be considered a destination in itself, boasting a wealth of facilities, activities and entertainment. Perhaps one of its most arresting features is a 60ft by 40ft ice skating rink (the only one at sea) which can be converted to a 900-seat concert venue or TV Studio.
At the heart of the vessel is the Royal Promenade - longer than a football field and wider than three lanes of traffic anchored by two atria that are marvels of marble, trees, greenery and sculptures. Diversions along the way include the Crown & Kettle - a traditional English Pub, a 24-hour cafe, a sports bar and more shops than you can shake a credit card at. The Palace, the main show lounge, is a four-deck-high, 1,350-seat theatre equipped with all the latest technology. There’s also a jazz bar, a contemporary sports bar, a Vegas-style casino and The Chamber, a nightclub designed to resemble a Gothic castle, with stone columns, arches and a dance floor flanked by chrome suits of armour.
And all this is just but a small part of the on-board facilities, but there isn’t time in this millennium to list the rest. Nor to cover comprehensively the technology arrayed across the ship. There are however some common denominators - on the audio side JBL, Clair Bros, EAW, Bose and Genelec speakers seem to
Daniel Carver of university specialist consultants, Section 77, has opted for the new Cerwin-Vega SUB218/T250 Intense stacks for Nottingham Trent University, following a demo of this and other leading brands by John Southee of JPS.
Thus an order for eight stacks was placed with Cerwin-Vega’s exclusive UK distributor, Lamba plc. The SUB218 is a direct-radiating twin 18" sub, featuring high-power output down to 32Hz - a combination of deep bass and high power handling. Thanks to its stainless steel bar handle and and wheels it’s also portable - which is precisely what the University wanted, since the 1,500-capacity auditorium functions as a canteen by day, and the evening conversion includes the eight stacks of T250/SUB218 being wheeled into position - four stacks either side of the stage.
The Intense! T250 mid/high box is divided into two sections which can be operated in bi-amp or passive full-range mode. The mid-bass comprises a 10" horn-loaded driver, the mid/high a large format 2" exit compression driver and the SS1 1" throat HF driver, featuring hybrid diaphragm technology, handling the top end. Personally recommended for the installation work, John Southee supplied sound - with a 16K output capability - lighting, stage and the triangular Trilite grid for the lighting suspension in a contract that was briefed, designed, commissioned and installed within a three-week period - despite the fuel crisis. To optimise the different EQ parameters and system management JPS picked the BSS FDS-366 Omnidrive Compact.
The final word comes from J