The Wizard of Oz at The London Palladium (photo: Marc Brenner)
UK - The spectacular production of The Wizard of Oz, directed by Nikolai Foster and with lighting design by Ben Cracknell, transferred from Leicester’s Curve Theatre to the London Palladium in the West End for a summer run.
With Martin MAC Encores and VDO Atomic Dots specified in the original design, the rig at the Palladium was expanded with additional MAC Encores and with over 50 Martin VDO Atomic Dots after the compact, high output fixtures were described by the LD as being “a revelation” at the Curve.
For the West End production, the previously specified MAC Encore Performance CLD fixtures were joined by additional MAC Encore WRM fixtures, positioned both overhead and on side ladders.
“The MAC Encore Performance CLD is my go-to," stated LD Ben Cracknell, “and by swapping out [a competitor fixture] to the MAC Encore WRMs we had just one type of fixture which was much cleaner, and with the consistency of the same colour palette. It also of course made life easier for programmer Dan Street.”
The LD classes the versatility of the MAC Encore Performance with its heavy frost option as a key factor in its success.
“Although some additional washes were used on Oz, for me the spot/wash traditional fixture line-up is now not always needed. In a workhorse rig I would generally just use MAC Encore Performance with heavy frost thanks to that versatility, capable of everything from washes to mega sharp gobo looks.”
And whilst the MAC Encore has been his tried-and-tested fixture, the Martin VDO Atomic Dot fixture was a fixture the LD trialled for the first time at Leicester’s Curve.
The Atomic Dot is a hybrid lighting and video fixture that can act as a small blinder, compact strobe, video-pixel and small spotlight. The fixtures’ compact design also gives the ability to place VDO Atomic Dots just about anywhere and deploy them in larger quantities.
“We had so many great comments from Leicester regarding the Atomic Dots that I knew we needed to expand their use in the West End,” he explained.
Consequently, 50 fixtures were distributed in the London Palladium on the pros arch and out into the audience space where they were positioned around boxes and up to Royal Box level.
“The Dots are so small but packed an unbelievable punch, creating big impact and real wow moments,” Cracknell confirmed. “They were used in all kinds of ways, from use as a strobe and blinder for lightning effects, to bringing the green glow of the Emerald City out into the audience. They brought a real immersive element to the production."

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