UK - With record attendance, PLASA Focus Leeds 2023 proved itself yet again as the go-to trade event for the entertainment technology industry in the north of the UK as it returned to Royal Armouries from 9-10 May.
This year’s show saw a strong 20% increase in attendance from 2022 and a 5% increase from 2019, confirming the rising importance of in-person connections. Furthermore, this year saw 18% more students attending – a promising sign for the long-term prospects of the live sector.
Always popular for its inclusive layout and friendly atmosphere, PLASA Focus Leeds welcomed a diverse array of visitors, with organisers reporting that one in five were business directors or owners. The most common professions represented by visitors were engineers, technicians and programmers. Moreover, a third of visitors were final decision makers.
Tony Torlini, general m

Denmark - Motor Stage Automation (MSA) is a new company based in Denmark, working internationally, specialising in the designing art of stage and show automation and movement elements and systems. The company is headed by Christian Vigsø, who used the downtime during the pandemic to launch this venture.
“More and more shows are using automation to make themselves stand out visually, and I saw a need for a company to facilitate straightforward, practical and cost-efficient solutions across all production sectors,” stated Christian.
One of Motor Stage Automation’s first investments was in Litec DST (Dynamic Stack Truss) products, some to help facilitate the fabrication of MSA’s own Touring Dolly systems.
The purchase included large quantities of Litec DST52 Truss Rail System - 3000 / 118 inch sections, and the new Litec STK52 MTD2KN, a 52cm DST heavy dut

UK/USA - Backstage Academy has rebranded as the Academy of Live Technology (ALT) and opened a second campus at Rock Lititz in the US to complement the work of the original UK site which is located in Production Park, Wakefield.
A statement from ALT reads: “Since Backstage Academy was founded in 2011, the live experience industry has changed at a rapid pace; new creative and immersive technologies are reinventing how we produce live events and experiences. We recognise that as the industry evolves, so should we.
“From May 2023, Backstage Academy is changing its name to the Academy of Live Technology. The decision to update our name and brand is part of a considered process of evolution to better align ourselves with the changing industry.
“Our new name reflects who we are for both today and tomorrow. What we teach goes beyond ‘backstage’ – we’re a

UK - When Projects Department were contracted to kit out a studio at The Bartlett School of Architecture, at UCL in Here East in Stratford, East London, they turned to Doughty Engineering to provide its Studio Rail. The room, which will be used by students for motion capture, required a solution for mounting cameras as well as curtains for both privacy and to aid with acoustic absorption.
Peter Daffarn, director Projects Department said: “In 2020 we supplied and installed a similar system at another UCL site. For projects like these our preferred supplier is Doughty as we know we can get any bespoke items made and the sales team are invaluable in listening to what we need and then suggesting alternatives that might work better. For a job like this, the products have to be high quality and operate to a high standard."
To complete the job, Projects Department specified

South Africa - With a demand for international rigging training in South Africa, DWR Distribution welcomed Ruud de Deugd, a rigging specialist, to Johannesburg. The course, attended by 22 delegates, was held in February this year and included five intensive days of theory and calculations, with the sixth day reserved for a practical examination.
This was the third annual Rigging Training presented in South Africa by Ruud, the owner of T&E Support, which was interrupted for a couple of years by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many countries are not regulated when specifically focussing on large structures. “In certain venues in the UK, riggers are only permitted to work if they have completed the NRC (National Rigging Certificate)," Ruud explains. "It's a good course but does not regulate the rest of Europe [yet]. For many places, there are no requirements." He is happy to

Germany - At Prolight+Sound 2023, TAIT will invite attendees to explore the world of opportunities for live experience automation technologies, as TAIT showcases products for automation.
The 2500kg capacity variable-speed chain hoist offers 200mm/s movement, and the capability of slowing all the way down to 0mm/s, which means that it can perform smooth motion at any intermediate speed. The hoist is accompanied by a new 7.5kW variant of the Kinesys Pulse Drive, incorporating the TAIT Navigator Infinity Panel.
TAIT has a long history of creating bespoke products for prestigious live events and entertainment installations around the world and has many decades’ experience integrating products into projects.
Also on display will be the epiQ console, with live demonstration of the seamless integration with Kinesys variable-speed chain hoists. Visitors to the stand ar

UK - TAIT is celebrating the opening of a new factory in Suffolk. Having been part of the Haverhill landscape since 1978 in the form of Delstar Engineering, supplying stage sets and machinery to many West End shows and venues, numerous Cruise Ship theatres, and worldwide theme parks, the firm has now expanded its facilities with a move from Haverhill’s Homefield Road to a new 100,000 ft2 manufacturing facility at The Ridge development on Iceni Way.
The new facility enables TAIT’s expanding team of design engineers, fabricators and industry specialists to assemble equipment for multiple projects simultaneously within the massive factory, which is equipped with four 15-ton cranes and has space for articulated lorries to load and unload within the building. TAIT employs over 100 colleagues in Haverhill, almost 500 across the UK and over 1500 globally. The company exports fr

Greece - Immex will be the new distributor in Greece for Fenix Stage, the company coming from the rebranding of Megaevent. Immex, which already distributes DAS Audio, Ayrton and Avid, will be responsible for the distribution of all Fenix product categories - lifting towers, PA towers, platforms, ground support towers, trusses and roofing.
"We trust Immex as the renewal that the sector needs to lead the sector in Greece. It is an honour for us to work with companies of such size and professionalism and we certainly believe that it will become a key partner of Fenix Stage's worldwide trading network,” says Alex Bryan, export manager.
After the incorporation of this new distributor, Fenix Stage continues to increase its number of official distributors around the world and will soon focus its efforts on growing in the Latin American market, looking for a new official dis

UK - Stage One has launched two new products - The Venturi Console and Playback Wing. Designed and manufactured in-house, the wing body is printed by sister company FluxAxis and finished by Stage One’s scenic department. The Qmotion automation system has been continuously evolving and developing for over 20 years. As part of this ongoing development, the new products will support the system’s scalability and capability.
These new additions will join an extensive catalogue of in-house automation equipment, further cementing Qmotion’s position as a leader in the automation industry. The Venturi Console is a portable operator console for controlling up to 10 axes of automation using Stage One’s MotionBase software. The console connects to the complete range of Qmotion hardware using the company’s standard Global cable, which incorporates both safety and network conne

UAE - The Dubai World Cup marks the end of the Dubai racing season. To mark this occasion, each year the Dubai Racing Club stage a lavish closing ceremony. This year, Artists in Motion (AIM), were contracted to deliver a show that was to be bigger than any ceremony to date. The show included video, lighting, sound, 1900 UAV drones, aerobatic planes & pyrotechnics. Unusual Rigging & Engineering (URE) was on hand to provide structure and rigging to support the main screen and lighting fixtures.
Liz Goodyer executive producer, AIM said: “Our brief was to support a large LED screen with minimal visually intrusive rigging but maximum safety. AIM and our team have not worked directly with URE before, however we have worked alongside them on many international events and their reputation precedes them, so we were thrilled to be able to work together on this project.”

UK - Unexpected Twist is the re-telling of the Charles Dickens classic, Oliver Twist, by one of the best-loved figures in the children’s book world, Michael Rosen. The book combines two stories in one: Rosen’s story and the Dickens classic that inspired it.
In a co-production between The Children’s Theatre Partnership and the Royal & Derngate, Northampton, it has recently been adapted for the stage by award-winning playwright Roy Williams and is currently touring the UK. The lighting designer for the show is Rory Beaton, who approached White Light (WL) to supply his lighting fixtures.
Unexpected Twist tells the story of Shona, who, along with her class, is studying the book, Oliver Twist. She’s the new girl in school and finding it hard to stay out of trouble – much like Oliver himself. When she’s given a new phone by

Denmark - Motor Stage Automation (MSA) provided automation equipment – Kinesys Elevation 1+ drives, Apex hoists and control plus three Alfa System revolves – and expertise for three set elements on the recent run of The Bodyguard The Musical produced by Lion Entertainment and staged at the China Teatern in Stockholm.
This is the first time that the popular stage version of the modern film classic showcasing Whitney Houston’s music has played in Sweden.
MSA, a new company specialising in the design and realisation of stage and show automation systems, has worked in this capacity on several other Lion Entertainment Productions, including for the Danish touring version of this show, which was on the road in 2020 and again in 2021 after some Covid interruptions.
A dynamic and eye-catching contemporary set designed by Benjamin La Cour featured three eleg

UAE - Unusual Rigging & Engineering was the rigger of choice for IDEX – the largest defence exhibition in the Middle East – when it took place at ADNEC in Abu Dhabi last month. The show attracted over 130,000 visitors from 65 countries, with more than 1350 exhibitors across 165,000sq.m of space.
For such a prestigious and sizeable event, David McKean, head of mains and rigging services at ADNEC, brought Unusual Rigging on board to assist the venue rigging team in the installation and management of rigged items throughout all 15 halls for the event.
David commented: “The Unusual team works with us numerous times each year and are well versed in our expectations. This year there were over 100 stands, and Unusual received rigging plans from the rigging manager for each individual stand. From this they were required to mark out and provide both primary and secon

Germany - The MLT Pre Rig Truss Series from HOF has a new member to complete the series: the MLT Three.
The MLT series now consists of the MLT Three, MLT Two, MLT One, MLT Zero and the MLT Frame. The MLT Three has no closed head frame and is open at the bottom. This makes it easier to mount moving lights or video modules in the truss.
In addition, the dolly of the MLT Three Pre Rig Truss has extended telescopic legs that allow the user to mount complete video modules, including the hanging frame, in the truss and leave them in the truss during transportation.
A rail system is optionally available for the MLT Three, which makes mounting the units in the pre rig truss even easier: the rail system is a double rail system.
This means that the units can be suspended on two different levels and no lowering bar is required. The rail system also allows the user

USA – The Dirty Rigger brand of workwear played a popular role in the latest Tomcat University five-day entertainment rigging training course, hosted recently at the company’s custom-designed training facility in Thousand Oaks, California.
Hosted by leading entertainment rigging specialist Tomcat USA, a part of Area Four Industries, the annual event provides ETCP (Entertainment Technician Certification Programme) renewal credits for those working in production rigging. This year’s event attracted a diverse mix of 45 attendees from across the USA and Canada, from students to seasoned touring riggers, business owners, stadium production managers and everything in between.
The course includes truss training, taught by Tomcat’s Adrian Forbes-Black and Keith Bohn, a one-day engineering focus led by Jeff Reder of Ohio-based Clark-Reder Engineering, and three days of

Europe - Sixty82 B.V has announced that it has appointed Omikron Electronics as its exclusive distributor for Greece and Cyprus.
Omikron Electronics is a well-established company with years of experience, great product portfolio and a strong customer network in the Greek market. They have already built a substantial stock of Sixty82 products in Greece to meet the quick demand of their customers. They will also organise open days together with Sixty82 to welcome customers and introduce them to their products and solutions.
"We are very excited to partner with Omikron Electronics and expand our presence in Greece and Cyprus," said Rainier Smeding, sales director of Sixty82. "Omikron Electronics shares our vision of providing high-quality products and services to our customers. They have the expertise and resources to successfully promote our brand and grow our business i

UK - The multi award-winning Broadway production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I musical is touring the UK, following its sold-out season at The London Palladium. The musical which has been captivating audiences for over six decades, is playing at a different venue every week until July 2023 and is, according to production manager Jason Culverwell “Probably the biggest musical with a weekly turnaround, touring the country right now.”
Knowing how demanding the schedule was going to be, Jason immediately brought Unusual Rigging on board to handle the rigging requirements for the tour. “My relationship with Unusual goes way back, having worked with them on shows such as War Horse, Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time and Ocean at the End of the Lane. I knew that they would have all the knowledge and skills required to pro

UK - Specialist production agency Star Live, has agreed to sell its mobile seating and stage fleet to Actavo Events for an undisclosed sum. The deal includes mobile grandstands, 10m mobile stages and a 15m mobile orbit stage. The two businesses will work closely to ensure a smooth transition for all Star Live contracts.
Having established itself in the UK in 2010, Actavo Events has steadily built a reputation as a trusted event infrastructure supplier providing Layher event scaffolding structures, fencing and barriers to a wide range of clients. The addition of the mobile business complements Actavo’s growth strategy for the UK and enhances its product offering to the market at a time when mobile stages are in high demand given the increase in shows that the industry has seen recently. It also complements its existing Layher event scaffolding products and provides greater

Germany – LiveTec GmbH, one of Germany’s leading full-service event technology and production specialists, has recently invested in 16 GEN VI power and dimming modules from Australian manufacturer LSC Control Systems, sourced via the company’s exclusive distributor for Germany, LMP Lichttechnik.
Headquartered in Munich, and with branches in Berlin and Kirchberg (near Kitzbühel, in Austria), LiveTec has over 25 years of experience in the production industry, with a focus on the corporate event sector, and has relied on LSC dimming solutions, and its sales partner LMP, for many years. The company had been using the previous model from LSC since 2015, and in 2022 decided that the time had come to upgrade to the new version. The 16 new, advanced GEN VI dimmers have been successfully deployed by LiveTec at trade fairs, film premieres, fashion shows and congresses since No

UK - Le Mark Group has introduced a new solution to limit the everyday impact of productions on the environment. Their new product, Paper-Tak, is a tough, self-adhesive, PVC-free tape which is an alternative to the hundreds of thousands of pieces of PVC tape commonly used for colour-coding, cable-coiling, identification, spiking and countless other on-site production tasks.
Made using 70% recycled paper, a core of 100% recycled cardboard and with recyclable packaging, Paper-Tak provides a viable solution for companies working in production who are serious about minimising the environmental impact of their activities. With a quick-stick, multi-surface, natural rubber-based, pressure-sensitive adhesive, Paper-Tak’s crepe paper surface is easy to tear and easy to write on, with a pen and pencil receptive surface, offering a usable solution for the vast majority of application

UK - Doughty Engineering has announced the appointment of two new directors. Dan Phillips and Mark Chorley will join the board with immediate effect. Julian Chiverton will serve as CEO, with Stephen Wright taking on the role of managing director. The new directors are current employees at Doughty and will, in time assume specific leadership roles within the company.
Dan Phillips has been a member of the Doughty team for more than 15 years, originally joining the company as a sub-contractor in assembly. In his most recent role as special projects manager, Dan has built strong client relationships as well as working within R&D to bring new and innovative products to market. “I feel very privileged to take on this role. After the past few turbulent years brought about by COVID and Brexit, the future is looking bright and I’m delighted to be joining the board at such an

UK - Unusual Rigging will join in the 2023 Olivier Awards with Mastercard at the Royal Albert Hall this year as an official sponsor of an award.
The event, which takes place on the 2 April and acknowledges the best of British theatre, will see Unusual sponsoring the Outstanding Achievement in Affiliate Theatre category. This award, introduced in 2004, recognises work produced at affiliate members of the Society of London Theatre, recognising excellence beyond the West End theatres eligible in the main theatre categories.
This is the first time that Unusual Rigging has been involved with the Olivier Awards in a sponsorship capacity. However, the event rigging has been supplied by the Unusual team in previous years.
Speaking ahead of the event, Tom Harper MD commented: “In an era of increased pressure on the UK theatre industry, Unusual recognises the importance

UK - For Bespoke Events London, the decision to invest in a QC-Check workstation from Data Strategy was a simple one that would quickly make warehouse processes more effective.
Integrated into the company’s warehouse management system, QC-Check tests and inspects the integrity of every electronic device, distribution unit and cable before its next use to ensure the highest standards of safety are maintained.
The company, which creates high-end luxury, and high-profile productions, is reliant on the highest calibre of well-maintained event technology to ensure every event is executed without a hitch.
Bespoke’s production director, Peter Hope, confirms, “QC-Check gives us great peace of mind when working with our accredited venues.” His assurance is founded upon the “…tenfold increase in testing and inspection in the warehouse,” since the integration

Germany - Starting from the middle of the year, Neumann&Müller Veranstaltungstechnik will be NürnbergMesse's new service partner for rigging and safety-related wire suspension systems.
Exhibitors and their service providers will benefit from the N&M trade fair team's many years of expertise as well as from numerous innovative services. Furthermore, trade fair clients will be able to take advantage of the fact that N&M will be able to provide the entire spectrum of media equipment needed to make a success of a trade fair appearance at the new location.

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