Robe lights Peachy Playhouse summer season
Friday, 24 July 2020
robe-peachy-playhouseJared Greenall (left) and Philip French (photo: Louise Stickland)
UK - Like many individuals passionate about the live events and performance industry, Philip French of Aldershot, UK-based rental and technical production company Peachy Productions was badly missing shows, gigs, and the camaraderie of delivering live events.
He decided to do something about it, and with the support of the Surrey Event Professionals headed by Hannah Sheppard – which includes some of Surrey’s finest live event experts – the Peachy Playhouse was born.
It offers two weeks of socially distanced, drive-in, COVID-compliant live entertainment, encompassing comedy, music, film and children’s shows designed to appeal to all sectors of the community, staged in the leafy environs and fresh air of Loseley Park near Guildford, Surrey.
Providing the full technical production – staging, lighting, sound, and video – plus crew, Phil and lighting designer Jared Greenall, chose an all-Robe moving light rig of Pointes and LEDBeam 150s.
Phil wanted Peachy Playhouse to be “a proper theatre space” and to raise the bar in terms of production values, overall quality, and the whole audience drive-in experience. He also had to think out-of-the-box with the current situation, which suited him perfectly.
“I’m not very good at sitting around and waiting for things to happen,” he explained. “I thought that with so few events on offer over the summer and people clearly missing live entertainment badly, the time was right to be imaginative and create our own.”
With a capacity for 50 cars, each vehicle is allotted its own bay with its own park bench seat and enough room for visitors to also set up their own tables or picnics as they wish, all with good sightlines to the stage. Full on-site catering is delivered by The Tipsy Pigs from their mobile kitchen setup.
When it came to lighting, the need was to be as flexible as possible. With the light evenings, many performances are in daylight, so lighting had to enhance during these hours and look spectacular as darkness fell.
For the kids events, they also needed to be colourful, and magical in the daytime which is when those events are mostly scheduled.
Phil, his partner in the company Ryan Howard and their team installed one of their 10m-wide by 9m-deep Milos stages which has a small cantilever at the front and a forestage in front of that. A 3.9mm pitch LED screen is rigged just in front of the stage mouth leaving the forestage as the main performance space.
They wanted lights that were small in dimensions, bright in output and versatile in functionality. Pointes and LEDBeam 150s ticked all the boxes, with 12 and 18 of each fixture respectively, plus 16 x LEDBeam 100s, all rigged in the roof and on the stage deck.
Peachy Productions has committed to having an all-Robe moving light stock in recent years, but other lights on the rig included LED battens and active Sunstrips, together with the movers, all controlled from an Avolites Titan Touch console.
A pair of LEDBeam 150s were used very effectively on the downstage edges to provide crossing front key lighting.
The sound system is a d&b line array onstage, and each car bay has its own 100V line speaker.
The backstage areas include a green room marquee from Inside Outside Marquees for the talent and a covered technical area with everything – including the kitchen – running on a synced set of 100 KVA generators from Flying Hire.
Between the original planning and the realisation of the event, the government guidelines on social distancing also changed so groups of up to 30 people can congregate in one place, so the space and its layout enables Playhouse guests to mingle more widely if two or three cars worth of friends attend.

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