Installation News

Cirque du Soleil Unveils Battersea Plans
Friday, 15 December 2000

Canadian circus company Cirque du Soleil is planning to turn London's disused Battersea Power Station into a £500m entertainment complex, with a permanent home for its shows. Cirque du Soleil plans to convert the dilapidated building into a 2,000-seat auditorium, along with two hotels and a cinema, as one of a number of planned worldwide developments over the coming 10-15 years. Work on the site will begin within the next six months by the owners and developers of the power station, Park View.

Cirque du Soleil was formed by a troupe of street performers in 1984 and has grown to include permanent shows in Las Vegas, Florida and Berlin; it employs over 2,000 staff across the world, and has performed to more than 23 million people to date. The company has staged productions of Saltimbanco and Alegría at the Royal Albert Hall in previous years, and is this week opening a show in London, called Quidam, staged in a giant tent next to the former power station. "The complexes will be a unique fusion of drama and design, of architecture and the arts," said Cirque’s founder, Guy Laliberte. "They will be a place where technology, tourism, arts and leisure converge, and will provide a year-round base for Cirque du Soleil in the form of a permanent theatre in the host city."

Wembley Bows Out with Final Concert
Friday, 15 December 2000

Early November saw the final concert at Wembley Stadium before the venue is demolished and redeveloped. Quietly publicised, it passed off with little note in the Nationals, but nevertheless raised a substantial amount of cash for the NSPCC thanks to a host of stars.

Keith Morris, under the auspices of CSS Productions, managed the event, reassembling the team he used so successfully for the British Gas, Maritime Museum New Millennium’s Eve event (strange how little we hear of the Millennial events that succeeded). Being November and rather nippy around the towers, this dinner and music show was staged on the pitch, but under cover. Serious Structures provided its Space Building, a giant derivative of the classic Orbit roof, being a curved ‘tunnel’ 92 metres long, 40m wide, with a max height at centre of 15m. The main feature of the Space Building is the totally transparent side fabric, which meant a lavish lighting display could be staged against the backdrop of the famous Twin Towers.

"This event was always going to be very tight on time," commented Morris. "The window for the build and de-rig was only 10 days (seven-day build, three-day de-rig). Scheduling was therefore of prime importance and a lot of time was spent with suppliers and site manager William (Pitso) Pirrie going through this process.

All audio was in the hands of Capital Sound, project managed by Martin Connolly. All Martin Wavefront 8, nine cabinets were flown each side of the stage as main system, plus two sets of delays down the length of the structure to avoid hig

RSC Appoints TPC for Redevelopment
Tuesday, 21 November 2000

The Royal Shakespeare Company has announced the first appointments of professional advisors to work on the feasibility study for redevelopment of its theatres in Stratford-upon-Avon. The study is being undertaken jointly with a parallel study of local public realm and traffic issues commissioned by the District Council, Warwickshire County Council and Advantage, West Midlands. Among the list of advisors announced for the extensive redevelopment programme is Theatre Projects Consultants (TPC), which has been appointed theatre consultant, joining the design team led by the RSC’s principal architect Erick van Egeraat.

Rain Doesn’t Stop Play for TPC
Tuesday, 21 November 2000

Despite considerable amounts of unseasonable rain this summer, work has continued on the construction of a new concert hall for the Philadelphia Orchestra, designed by Theatre Projects Consultants.

The project is managed by David Taylor (pictured) from the Connecticut office of TPC, but George Ellerington of the London wing of Theatre Projects provided the unique theatre equipment package with an array of stage lifts, acoustics banners, hundreds of reverb chamber doors and a 40-ton three-piece canopy, all controlled from a custom PC-based memory system.

The concrete is complete to auditorium level in the concert hall and, to stabilise the building, the attic floor overhead is being poured at present. Despite the difficulties in construction over the summer, the site is being considered for an OSHA safety award. The second performance space, a 550-seat recital theatre is also underway. In this space, the entire auditorium floor can drop on a lift to give a flat floor. A 75ft diameter revolving stage allows for quick change around between a recital hall with a solid end wall and a full-flown dance and drama proscenium theatre. The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts completes in December of 2001.

Italian Cinema’s Intelligent Upgrade
Thursday, 16 November 2000

The multi-screen movie complex craze which swept across North America some years ago, has arrived in Italy with an added element of attention getting effect, namely Martin intelligent lighting. The Medusa multi-screen theater in Bologna is a 31,000 square foot theater complex featuring nine separate theatres. Outside the complex two Exterior 600 wash lights bathe the building in a colorful mix of yellows and blues while two PAL 1200 scanners add gobo and logo projection.Inside, in the large foyer, eight MAC 600 wash lights provide the colour wash with eight MAC 250 profile spots adding pattern and logo possibilities. All lighting is controlled from a Martin ProScenium, a DMX lighting control package for multi-media and architectural applications. Audio is provided by eight Mach Installation series M68 in-fill speakers, four Mach M208 subwoofers and four Mach M62 two way, near-field speakers.

Miss Moneypenny’s Plays DAREs
Wednesday, 15 November 2000

Miss Moneypenny’s at Bonds in Birmingham, reputed to have one of the toughest door policies of any club in the country in terms of client exclusivity, has gone digital with a £60,000 audio system refit. Birmingham-based Dare Professional Audio was responsible for the design and specification of the new system, which was installed by Stagecraft Systems from Cannock. DARE specified a custom-built system loaded exclusively with ElectroVoice components and powered by EV P Series amplifiers supplied by EV’s UK distributor, Shuttlesound. The main system comprised four DARE NX12 mid/high packs; eight DARE TC15 sub-bass cabinets delivering an impressive 1200W each, plus one DARE Bass Quake 4 sub-bass enclosure loaded with four EVX180s. Each driver prodcues a massive 1000W - delivering a total of 4kW from one box. Two DARE Micro 12v2 DJ monitors and eight DARE E18s for the bar areas, controlled by a DARE NX Digital Speaker System Controller, completed the system.

Theatre by the Lake
Tuesday, 14 November 2000

Keswick’s Theatre by the Lake has been celebrating its first year of operation. Built with a big (£4.5 million) lottery grant to replace the old Century summer touring theatre which ended its days by Derwentwater, the new theatre opened as a year-round operation, on time and within its £6.25 million budget, in August 1999.

Since then the theatre has opened 10 productions of its own, as well as welcoming touring companies and local amateurs. 75,000 tickets have been sold for over 400 performances, an overall 65% capacity, which compares very favourably with most regional theatres. What used to be a tourist attraction has become a favourite with local audiences too - the number of Cumbrian residents attending performances has increased enormously, and the theatre’s home-grown pantomime attracted a 95% capacity.

Keswick’s residents have something to be proud of in their new theatre, a low-slung, slightly Japanese-looking building (by the MEB Partnership, with Christopher Richardson primarily responsible for the design and theatre consultancy) which sits among trees just a stone’s throw from the lake, looking out across meadowland to the fells. Its least interesting elevation is the one that the visitor sees first, but a large shield bearing the legend ‘Theatre by the Lake’ alleviates the starkness of this view.

The 350-seater auditorium itself is approached from the airy first floor. At first glance, its metal balconies and side-boxes recall the courtyard theatres of Iain Mackintosh, but the normal configuration of the seating is m

African Revival
Monday, 13 November 2000

Currently wowing theatre-goers in South Africa is African Footprint - a song and dance spectacular, which is set to stride its way into the international arena.

Scheduled to tour Europe later this year, the current home of the production is in the replica of the original 19th century Globe Theatre at Gold Reef City. It was Solly and Abe Krok’s idea to copy the original Globe Theatre at Gold Reef City - a theme park recreating early Johannesburg, taking the opportunity to utilise an intended ‘mini-plex’ cinema whose backers had pulled out.

They brought in consultant Richard Loring, and his production manager Debbie Batzofin, who in turn approached lighting designer Denis Hutchinson. The roof of this intended small cinema was raised by two metres, which allowed seven metres clear over the stage and a balcony in which patrons wouldn’t have to kneel. But even so, it wasn’t possible to include a proper dome in the auditorium (much less a fly tower over the stage). The alternative was a barrel vault ceiling, in spite of the acoustic disadvantages it presented. Fortunately, it was accepted that the type of show staged in the venue would always use amplified sound. Hence acoustically absorbent tiles for the ceiling were specified as part of a scheme to make the room nearly, but not quite, acoustically dead.

Another fortunate outcome was that the control area for both lighting and sound could be incorporated as part of the auditorium. Sound equipment for the 306-seat venue includes a generous 40-channel DDA mixing desk with 64 balanced lines betw

Toxic8, Cambridge
Thursday, 9 November 2000

A major sound, lighting and video installation has just been completed at the new Toxic8 club in Cambridge. With interior design by Steve Howie of Howie Designs, the club’s visual inspiration drew on the imagery of Fritz Lang’s 1927 masterpiece movie Metropolis. But Toxic8 is anything but silent!

CP Sound won the technical design and installation contract amidst stiff competition: audio throughout was designed by CP’s Colin Pattenden with lighting by CP’s Russ Evans.

A ground-floor bar acts as a feeder area for the 500-capacity club, and features music and visuals controlled from behind the bar via a six-way switch and volume control installed by CP Sound, together with three Sony K5 televisions and six JBL Control 28 speakers. Additionally, a mobile DJ set-up is available for special events. This consists of a Denon 2000 Mk 3 twin CD player and a Citronic 10/4 mixer and mic. The first and second floors have been fused into one area: the audio spec here includes another Citronic 10/4 mixer and Denon CD player, two Technics 1210 decks in the DJ box and a customised CP 10/1050 DJ monitor. Dancefloor speakers are two twin 15" 1200W JBL i-746 cabinets, and for the mid-range, JBL 300W MS112 tops, hung in the corners of the void area.

Dancefloor lighting includes three Solar 250 projectors with red infused oil wheels and eight MADScan 411 APs in the void, pointing up and down. Control is from a Pulsar Masterpiece 216. On the second floor, fixtures include two 1500W Anytronics Megastrobes, four additional MADScans, two ITM 250 MADScans and four

The Lyric, Hammersmith
Tuesday, 7 November 2000

The famous Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith has taken a further step towards a digital future, thanks to a Lottery grant.

In addition to new sound equipment in both performance spaces, The Lyric has also purchased a GeniusPro Strand 520i desk - for use in the Main House, and also replaced the dimmers in the Studio Theatre with digital LD90s. The former was supplied by Stage Electrics and the latter ordered through White Light.

Although Strand’s 500 Series desks had been in the Lyric’s focus for around the past three years, the purchase was still made slightly earlier than expected. "We mounted a production outside, literally, in Lyric Square, with Mac moving lights running alongside conventionals," explained chief LX Clare Tattersall (inset). "It was impractical to move our existing Galaxy outside - and plotting moving lights on a Galaxy is a tedious process - so rather than hire in a board we brought forward the delivery date."

The 520i was supplied with two monitors - one displaying the cue sheets and the other the channel levels. "It’s a 350-channel desk but we expect to expand on that in the future. As we have not been able to afford to replace the Main House dimmers we have had to convert our STM dimmers for digital, but hopefully at some stage in the future we will be able to make the full changeover."

The 120-capacity Studio Theatre has complemented its new seating and sound reinforcement system with five racks of Strand LD90s (one of which contains a block of non-dims), providing 104 channels of theatrical dimming

Hacienda Nightclub to be Demolished
Friday, 27 October 2000

The contents of the world famous Hacienda nightclub in Manchester - scene of early shows by Madonna, Oasis, U2, Take That, Boy George and the 'Madchester' bands - are going under the hammer at a unique auction for charity. The lots include the revered DJ booth and interior designer Ben Kelly's hazard-striped steel columns. The venue for the auction, which will take place on Saturday November 25 at midday, is the nearby Richard Conrad building. Viewing will run from 10am to 4pm on Friday 24 and from 10am to midday on the day itself. In addition to the auctioned lots, pieces of the dance floor, coloured tiles and even bricks from the building, will be sold off at nominal sums. All proceeds from the event will go to the Greater Manchester Community Foundation which works with disadvantaged young people in the city. New owners Crosby Homes are redeveloping the Haçienda site and two neighbouring buildings into apartments.

Rolec Hard Drives in Action
Thursday, 26 October 2000

Hayden Laboratories Ltd, UK distributors for Rolec hard drive background and foreground music systems continue to supply these machines for a massive variety of venues and installations. Le Petit Blanc in Oxford, a lively restaurant 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. Birmingham-based Hocken Sound and London-based Music Marketing Services are installing Rolec hard drives into Litten Tree pub venues for Surrey Free Inns. Jim Thompson's Oriental Bar, Restaurant Bazaar is a Chinese restaurant roll-out, expanding rapidly in the Greater London area, owned by Taipan Taverns. All sites are benefiting from Rolec hard drives for music, installed by HTL from Blackpool.

Manchester's Zion
Monday, 23 October 2000

After several months of negotiations, Stagetec (UK) Ltd has been awarded the entire technical equipment supply and installation contract for the Zion Arts Centre in Manchester. The installation includes a lighting system with Compulite Micron 4D console, the new CompuDIM 2000 digital dimmer racks, Robert Juliat and Selecon luminaires fitted with Compulite colour scrollers, a sound system with Nexo speakers, Crown amplifiers and Allen & Heath mixing consoles, a full AV system with projection screens, digital projectors and monitoring equipment, curtain tracks and a communication and paging system. The project is funded by the Arts Council and is due to open towards the end of November. The project specification has been drawn up and will be overseen by technical consultant Steve Curtis from the Green Room in Manchester.

LIPA Upgrade with DAS Audio
Friday, 20 October 2000

The world-famous Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) has re-equipped its five-studio recording complex with DAS Monitor 6 close field monitors throughout. The order for 13 units includes the upgrading of studio 2 to full 5.1 surround sound production capability. The new Monitor series from DAS Audio marks the company's return to the studio market after almost 30 years of exclusively designing and manufacturing sound reinforcement systems.

Edwin Shirley Staging Brings De La Guarda to Las Vegas
Thursday, 19 October 2000

Edwin Shirley Staging (ESS), the international staging and structure specialist, is helping to bring international stars De La Guarda to audiences in Las Vegas for the first time. ESS has built the 18m high structure using ESS' successful Tower Systems that will house the acrobatic extravaganza. The $1.2million contract is the first major contract to be completed by ESS' new US office based in Austin, Texas. ESS Inc was formed in May this year when Edwin Shirley Staging took over the operations of Upfront Inc. ESS' staging will help bring the show to life with a 30m x 20m x 18m high structure. The structure forms part of the Rio Hotel complex in the heart of Las Vegas and will remain there for three years, the duration of the show. The production, called 'Villa Villa' is the same show that was performed to great acclaim in London's Roundhouse last year and still playing off Broadway in New York.

Martin On The Nile
Friday, 13 October 2000

Coco Jungle, a club/restaurant venue, is being billed as one of the first themed clubs in Egypt. Located just outside of Cairo on the shores of the Nile River, Coco Jungle is one of the country's most popular nightspots. Coco Jungle, and accompanying boat restaurant Le Pacha 1901, have installed a number of Martin Professional luminaires designed to create different moods and atmospheres. In keeping with the jungle theme, trees, bamboo and water play a major role in the interior design. Coco Jungle is equipped with four MAC 300 wash lights, four MAC 250 profile spots, two Voyagers, and a Jem TechnoFog for added effect, all controlled from a Martin LightJockey controller. Le Pacha 1901, meanwhile, features a glass-covered dance floor over a pool of water. Four RoboColor IIs and one RoboColor IIX, placed in protective glass casings in the water beneath the dance floor, provide colour changes. Outside, four Exterior 600s - again controlled via a Martin LightJockey controller - illuminate the boat's façade, which can be seen from the opposite shore of the Nile. All Martin equipment for the two venues was supplied by Media International Trading of Egypt through Martin's Middle Eastern agent, AMAC.

Oxford Sound Installs for BBC Studios
Wednesday, 4 October 2000

The Oxford Sound Company recently completed the installation of two BBC studios designed for Voice Captioning, based around AMS-Neve Libra digital mixing consoles and AMS-Neve Audiofile digital editing workstations. The two identical studios will be used for making trailers for programmes and adding soundtracks to pictures for the introduction and conclusion of television programmes. The project, designed by BBC Resources Consulting and Projects under the management of BBC's Peter Newbury, took 16 weeks to complete. It was designed around the AMS control surfaces with an impressive line up of outboard processing from Calrec, Focusright, Yamaha, AMS, TC Electronic and Drawmer, with loudspeaker monitors from ATC. The apparatus room was designed to service the two control studios with VCR and routing facilities being set up via touch-screen monitors from this point. The studios are fully digital for both sound and vision. All of the studio furniture was designed and supplied by the Oxford Sound Company with wiring schedules and time planning being designed at their Kingham HQ.

Audio Aboard SS Ausonia
Friday, 29 September 2000

The SS Ausonia, a recently-refurbished luxury cruise ship contracted to First Choice Holidays by Louis Cruise Lines, has had a state-of-the-art audio design specified by cruise line specialists, Fisher Marine. The equipment installation was carried out by Louis Cruise Lines' own contractors. The Halifax-based company used a wide range of Martin Audio loudspeakers as their primary sound reinforcement source in the three main zones - the main and secondary show lounges (which are multi-purpose, transforming into cabaret and late night discotheque usage) and the main deck, which also features a massive lighting rig. The system on the Ausonia, which has its audio presets stored and relayed to the different show areas by three BSS Audio Soundweb devices, will be fed from a mixture of CD and Minidisc playback sources, as well as live cabaret through a radio mic system.

THEA Awards
Monday, 25 September 2000

Themed recreation venues and attractions took centre stage on the evening of Saturday, September 16 as the Themed Entertainment Association celebrated its seventh annual THEA Awards Gala in the Grand Ballroom of the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel. The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man at Universal Studios Island, James Cameron's Titanic: The Experience, Fox Studios in Sydney, Australia and the Stone Forest in Yunnan Province, China (all of which have been featured in Lighting&Sound International) all picked up awards. Universal Studios Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida was also voted the best Theme Park. The THEA Classic award went to Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, Denmark - said to be one of the prime inspirations for Walt Disney in determining the character and quality of Disneyland. Tivoli Gardens has operated continuously since 1843. A special award recognising Breakthrough Technology was collected by Richmond Sound Design for its AudioBox system. The company developed a special version of its AudioBox for The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man at Islands of Adventure, designed to withstand shock and vibration up to 15Gs.

Music in the Classroom
Monday, 25 September 2000

Music Education Consultants of Guildford has again been busy working with schools in order to bring music facilities up to current specifications for teaching KS2 and KS3 curriculum music and GCSE, A Level and HE Music Technology Courses. One of the most challenging projects for the company was designing the functionality of the new Recording and Music ICT facilities at The Academy of Contemporary Music's new centre, The Rodboro Buildings, which opened on September 22. The new ACM building incorporates a dedicated Music ICT suite based on PCs running Cubase VST 5, Wavelab 3.0, Recycle and Rebirth, Roland Keyboards and Yamaha Samplers all connected to a flexible monitoring and recording system. Five highly-specified studios were designed, ranging from small post rooms to a large 30-seat capacity teaching studio. A control-room based on twin Yamaha 02Rs and a host of other state-of-the-art digital equipment faces the main teaching control room. In-between the teaching control room and the 02R are four live rooms that can be accessed from either studio allowing maximum flexibility.

New RCF System for Gateshead Stadium
Friday, 22 September 2000

Clockwork AV has recently installed an RCF sound system at the Gateshead International Athletic Stadium. Following a number of demonstrations, the stadium's local council chose the RCF system for its melodic feel - which was an important factor for the project. Clockwork AV specified a Vision system comprising 14 Vision PA121s and two Vision PA180 SWs situated in the main grandstand, five Vision PA261s in the East stand and 15 pairs of waterproof Monitor 4Ts located in the North and South seating areas.

London Astoria Refits Under New Management
Tuesday, 19 September 2000

One of London's most famous live music venues, The Astoria, is currently undergoing an extensive technical refit, having been acquired by The Mean Fiddler Organisation, a dominant force in the British entertainment scene. In addition to raising the specification for visiting sound crews, the objective was to make the Astoria's infrastructure more broadcast and TV-friendly, including the addition of a new 48-way patchbay, according to long-time resident technician Erik Sanderson-Evans. Tarsin Entertainments was awarded the contract after a competitive tender, with the new inventory of kit mostly supplied by Marquee Audio. LA 1, the main performance venue which has a capacity of nearly 2,500, takes delivery of a Soundcraft Series FIVE (48 channel plus 4 stereo groups) plus a Soundcraft 324 digital mixer for returning the effects, an ASS loudspeaker system, as well as a substantial batch of BSS proprietary processing equipment. A new 44:24 Soundcraft Series FIVE Monitor console is added to the stage monitoring system.

Police Launch Fraud Inquiry at Dome
Tuesday, 19 September 2000

The fuel crisis must have come as a blessed relief to the Dome, but it hasn't taken the attraction long to be back in the media spotlight. Just a week after Nomura withdrew from its bid, the police are currently carrying out an investigation into fraud allegations. Apparently these centre around "irregularities" in connection with the procurement of contracts, and media reports are suggesting that the firm under investigation was one of the contractors working for the New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC). Nomura of course pulled out on the basis that they had been misled over the Dome's finances.

Martin Audio's C516s Taken to TASC
Thursday, 14 September 2000

Audio installer TASC Ltd has completed the latest in a line of Parisa Café Bars using Martin Audio's Contractor Series ceiling speakers. The development of the Newcastle Quayside venue for Nader Haghighi's Warrington-based Parisa Group follows an audio conception and design instigated by Arron Smith's company 14 venues earlier. "In the majority we have used Martin C516s, fed by our GAGA hard-drive music system," Arron explained. The design brief was for the sound source to be invisible, and so once again Arron opted for 38 of the flush-mount C516 ceiling speakers, arranged in a five zone system (across four separate feature areas), using two Cloud CX133s to route the sound, powered by Crown and QSC amplifiers. The highest profile area in the ground-floor venue is around the bar and dining area, where the low-end is reinforced with three of Martin compact CS265 twin 6.5" subs (each clustered by four C516s), also recessed back into the ceiling and painted cream to match the decor. Elsewhere in the Café Bar, the ceiling speakers operate full-range.


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