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
Henry Butcher International has been appointed to dispose of the contents, owned by NMEC, that went into creating The Millennium Dome, following the planned closure of the Dome on December 31st. The Dome houses an enormous range of assets, including lighting, audio-visual, broadcast & sound equipment, restaurant and catering equipment, stage equipment, office furniture and equipment, golf buggies, battery-powered scooters and vehicles. Even the equipment from the world famous Millennium Show, which currently employs 350 people, will be for sale, including stage and acrobatic props, costumes and circus rigging. Henry Butcher will be disposing of all assets owned by NMEC over the next three months by Private Treaty and Public Auction. The Private Treaty sale process is already underway and includes many of the themed Zones, audio-visual and broadcast equipment from some of the most sophisticated systems installed in Europe and sound and lighting equipment from one of the largest and most complex installations in the world.
The public auction is open to everyone and will take place over four days - 27-28 February and 1-2 March 2001 - and any enquiries regarding the auction will be dealt with after the Dome closes at the end of December. Viewing of the assets will be a few days prior to the auction sale.
Star Rigging has installed a new fall arrest netting system into Wembley Arena to improve safety for people working at height during events at the London venue.
The new safety system has been installed into the Wembley grid, which is the largest moving grid in the UK. Pictured is the Fall Arrest Net after being raised at The Who load-in at Wembley Arena.
Both Mark Armstrong and Phil Broad at Star Rigging have been rigging major live events, including major tours for 15 years. The net is a new innovation, which has gained popularity in the construction industry, attracting the approval of H&S executives across the country. The system ensures that a worker who falls off the grid will be caught, and there are handrails to prevent people falling outside of the grid area. Star Rigging had to adapt the net to suit indoor music applications including making it fire retardant to BS EN 1263-2 standards. The company is currently talking to several other venues about the possibility of installing similar systems.
A new music venue has opened on East London’s Brick Lane. Part of the former Trumans Brewery complex, 93 Feet East is a 500-600 capacity venue with an on-site recording studio, allowing performances to be recorded and broadcast over the internet. The music policy is alternative, and early bookings include Cold Cut and the Sneaker Pimps. The club has a Funktion One PA system, installed by Blue Box, from Sussex. The front-of-house control is provided by a new Series TWO console from Soundcraft, supplied by Marquee Audio. Technical manager and sound engineer Paul Epworth explained: “This desk has a very open sound, considering its price. It’s easy to place sounds in a mix and, like the Soundcraft K3 which I’ve used before in live situations, the EQ is very sensitive. It’s a very flexible console.”
The Dutch Parliament Building in Limburg has recently joined the list of government buildings around the world using the BSS 9088 Soundweb to provide digital voice processing and distribution. Forming the hub of a complete new audio-visual and voting network costing 500,000 Guilders, Soundweb encompasses three separate areas - the conference hall, the ballroom and a smaller conference and performance area. TM Audio were subcontracted by Heuvelman Sound and Vision BV, who won the tender for the overall design project, to specify the electro-acoustic elements and audio distribution of the system design. The conference hall includes a central loudspeaker cluster and individual peripheral speakers, distributed around the public tribune for maximum intelligibility. A Philips DCN (Digital Conference Network) discussion system, comprising a 70-piece mic/speaker station, is assigned for the purpose, with its outputs fed to the Soundweb, which supplies all the processing and distribution before arriving at the loudspeaker clusters, as well as the back-up recorders, wireless FM loop assisted hearing system, and many other rooms and offices round the building.
Cause & Effect, the organisers of the 2001 Birmingham Fringe theatre festival, are looking at the possibility of holding collaborative projects with entertainment technology companies during the 2001 festival, in order to demonstrate the contribution made by them to technical theatre. Project director Derrick G Knight told us: "My motivation is to enhance Birmingham as a host city for performing arts. This will be achieved through the development of a network of performance venues in partnership with the performers, venue owners and production companies associated with performing arts." An initial idea is to include a sound and lighting exhibition alongside the festival, which takes place in July and August 2001, and Knight is currently exploring the availability of no-cost exhibition space at a number of venues adjacent to the reserved performance spaces. For further information is available from the number below.
Audio-visual and multi-media specialist DJ Willrich has been making dreams come true recently for one of the world's leading producers of computer-animated films for entertainment simulation. The 4DEX Themeport, which is currently being built in Brighton Marina, is the brainchild of Ian Williams; designed to 'take the visitors into the next dimension of human entertainment experience', the 4DEX Themeport is the airport of the future, transporting the modern time-travelling visitor into both the past and the future. Beginning with the technical design, DJW worked with Williams to develop initial simulation solutions that would 'transport' visitors from each of the terminals to the destination of their choice. The company then introduced Haley Sharpe Designers, with whom it has worked on projects such as The Big Idea in Scotland and the Children's Museum in Sharjah, to work on the conceptual idea. DJW supplied and installed all the simulation, AV hardware, lighting and show control equipment that permits visitors to visit the genesis of the Olympic Games and the magic of the Pharaohs, among other destinations.
Tannoy speakers have been specified and installed at a brand new award-winning conference and event facility at the Royal York Hotel in York. Chosen for their high-quality sound performance, the combination of Tannoy speakers, installed by Orsett-based Creative Audio, has been chosen to provide speech and audio reinforcement for a wide range of differing applications, including conferences, presentations and live music productions. Creative Audio has designed and installed a powerful, high-quality audio system based around Tannoy Point source loudspeakers, with elements suited to the different applications. For the central paging system, Tannoy CMS 55 ICT ceiling mounted monitor systems provide discrete, high-quality sound reinforcement for speech and music. The 90° dispersion characteristics of the CMS 55 ICT allow the whole room to be covered with just four units.Four Tannoy i12 Dual Concentric loudspeakers are wall mounted at the middle and rear of the room, providing effective speech and music reinforcement. Extended bass response is provided by four Tannoy B225 15" bass speakers, which together with four Tannoy i15 speakers provide the extra impact required at front of house for larger events and live music productions. Two Tannoy TX2 controllers provide crossover and control functions and stage foldback monitoring is via four Tannoy T12 Dual Concentric speakers. All speaker systems are driven by Lab Gruppen amplifiers. The fully-equipped control room features an Allen & Heath 32-channel mixing desk, with monitoring from two Tannoy System 600 monitors.
ESS (Edwin Shirley Staging), the staging and structure specialist, has created a new joint venture with Pure Group, called ‘ESS Superstructure’ to invest in and service the growing market for small and medium-sized events. This venture is the latest in a series of strategic partnerships that enhances the range of services ESS can offer corporate clients. By combining ESS’ experience in producing highly-specified structures, with the Pure Group’s reputation for managing corporate events, the new venture will be able to provide a highly competitive offer for clients in the corporate hospitality and corporate event market. The new company will be responsible for developing and marketing arch-shaped structures up to 30m in width. Products will include the unique Superstructure mobile venue, as well as Orbit buildings. The Superstructure is ideal for a variety of uses from conferences, concerts, film premieres, balls, trade shows, fashion shows, outdoor events, corporate hospitality and product launches.
Tim Norman, managing director of ESS Holdings, said: “This is our third venture in the past three months and is a significant step in the expansion of the ESS offer to corporate clients. The new venture will be able to provide a highly competitive offer to clients in the corporate events or hospitality market, but with the same commitment to excellent service.”
The newest destination for UK clubbers is CODE, located at the aorta of Digbeth in central Birmingham. CODE is the first superclub and permanent venue owned and operated by legendary club promoters God’s Kitchen.
The stylish, contemporary interior design is by Matt Rawlinson of Raw Design, and the stunning effects lighting design is by Carl Dodds of Making Light Work (pictured with Avolites’ Azure console). All lighting fixtures for Dodds’ rig were supplied by Coe-tech to installers, Dublin-based Audio-Tek, with the Avolites Azure 2000 control console supplied directly by Avo to Audio-Tek.
The club’s main dance floor is overlooked by a balcony, with the VIP area in the ‘Gods’ at the top of the building, an atmospheric former warehouse, built in the 1930s. Dodds chose a variety of instruments for his high-impact rig, which was to be put in the hands of a specialist team of lighting operators.
The rig consists of Futurelight MH660s, MH640s and eight of the new MH 860s - the first in the UK. These formed the core of the rig and were joined by eight Futurelight SC980 scanners, 16 CC200 colour-changers, four TAS Versicolore spots and eight TAS 1500W Saetta strobes. Additionally, there are four TAS CF6 luminaires, a Coemar NAT TM 4000 and two JEM hazers.
Dodds chose an Avolites Azure 2000 controller plus a Stage Visualiser system for the installation as he needed a console with the power and speed to deal with an action-packed lighting rig and the plethora of fixtures. The Stage Visualiser is used in ‘live’ mode to enable t
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."
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
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.
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.
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 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.