UK - Artists including Sir Elton John and Radiohead are putting pressure on the government to resolve the problems around post-Brexit EU touring. UK artists will face red tape and fees for visas to play in some EU countries.
Sir Elton John told The Guardian: "Either the Brexit negotiators didn't care about musicians, or didn't think about them, or weren't prepared."
But Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage said the government had "pushed" for a solution and the door was still "open". She told MPs on Monday that the government had put forward a "very straightforward" plan to allow musicians to travel without work permits, drafted "in consultation with experts from the UK to creative sectors". She added: "Quite simply the EU rejected this proposal."
Brussels has previously argued the opposite, saying it was in fact the UK that turned down its offer.
Meanwhile, a growing number of MPs and Peers are rallying behind Tim Brennan’s petition and call for visa free travel for touring artists and professionals
Brennan’s Carry on Touring campaign seeks to secure free EU movement for touring artists and professionals. Carry on Touring is calling on the Prime Minister and the UK Government to take action and re-open negotiations.
Tim’s petition which has almost 300,000 signatures. asks the UK Government to negotiate a free cultural work permit to allow touring professionals visa free travel throughout the 27 EU states and to secure a Carnet exception for touring equipment.
“Support for my petition has been phenomenal,” says
UK - Mad Dogs Television is a facilities house supplying camera equipment and crew for TV productions. When it was asked by its client Round World Studios to build a new kitchen studio for their regular cookery shows, Martin Huntley,founder of Mad Dogs TV turned to Doughty Engineering to supply some of the key equipment.
Martin explained: “Round World Studios regularly hires kitchen studios in London but had the desire to have their own studio. Through a pre-existing relationship, the company linked up with the Carbis Bay Hotel and Estate near St Ives in Cornwall, which has just been announced as the location for this year’s G7 Summit, to create a permanent television production space available for hire by television producers and other content creators.”
The studio, which is located in a shop front on the beach promenade, has been built as a box within a box consisting of three solid walls and a front glass wall. “The box is essentially the set,” explains Martin. “We built a stage, fitted a kitchen and added blackout/ green screen, sound insulation etc. To the ceiling we fitted Doughty Studio Rail 60 for the lighting rig which covers a 5.5m x 5.5m area. We also used a selection of Doughty’s rails, dollies, clamps and cable safety chains. And on the perimeter, we used the same system to put up a curtain track and hung a sound dampening curtain.”
Doughty’s Studio Rail 60 proved to be the perfect piece of kit for the studio. “A LOLER pull test can hang up to 300kg of lights on the Studio Rail easily. With today’s modern tech, lig
USA - The Behind the Scenes (BTS) Mental Health Initiative wants language about mental health and respectful workplaces “to become a part of every toolbox talk or safety briefing because psychological safety is as important as physical safety.”
BTS says: “It’s not always an easy subject to talk about, so to make it easier for those delivering these talks we are suggesting topics and providing sample language that can be used as is or tailored to fit individual needs.
“It is important to acknowledge the mental and physical stressors and challenges faced by all of us in the entertainment industry and offer your team tools to help them better manage and respond to these challenges. We know that the last months in particular have been very stressful and returning to work is bringing a new set of concerns for everyone. Many people are struggling with anxiety, grief, feeling overwhelmed, inability to concentrate, changes in appetite or sleep, changes in drinking or substance use patterns, or other issues affecting daily functioning.
“In addition to the sample language provided under each topic, we also offer a selection of brief pre-scripted talks. This information is meant to be incorporated into existing safety or toolbox talks and is not meant to replace other safety briefings.
“For those needing to gain management approval to incorporate language about mental health into their talks, we offer some key reasons why it is important to talk about mental health and psychological safety in the workplace.”
BTS has collaborated wi
Germany - Prolight+Sound, along with a number of other trade fairs planned for April and May in Frankfurt this spring, has been postponed until April 2022.
A statement from the organisers says: “Back in September 2020, a decision was reached by Messe Frankfurt and the industries involved to forgo any physical events at our home base in the first quarter of 2021. Now, following close consultation with customers, it has become necessary to postpone the international physical trade fairs planned for April and May – Prolight+Sound, the International Consumer Goods Show, Heimtextil, Techtextil and Texprocess – as a result of the regulations and travel restrictions that have been imposed.
“There is currently no end to the pandemic in sight. Events are effectively banned in Germany, and ongoing international travel restrictions mean that it is impossible to make any trade fair plans for April or May 2021.”
“The coronavirus pandemic has taken centre-stage, and our plans have not escaped its impact. In light of the current situation, it would not be possible for us to satisfy our customers’ requirements for international trade fairs in April or May,” said Detlef Braun, member of the executive board of Messe Frankfurt.
“The ongoing shutdown of retailers in our visitor countries has made relevant up-to-date information and solutions essential, and we are satisfying this demand with our digital offerings during this volatile time. As you know, we are also continuing to do everything in our power to make safe and successful trade fairs po
UK - PLASA is hosting two free webinars this week on how to apply for the second round of grants from the Culture Recovery Fund (CRF).
Taking place on Wednesday 13 January from 10am-12pm and Friday 15 January from 2pm-4pm, these webinars will be hosted by Caroline Taylor, an independent expert with a proven track record in successfully applying for £15m in Arts Council England funding, including the first round of the CRF and the ACE Emergency Fund.
During each webinar you will explore the main application questions in detail which will help you submit a strong application. You will also learn about Grantium, the new Arts Council application portal which you are encouraged to register for prior to the webinar. Additionally, each webinar will have a dedicated Q&A section to answer any specific questions you may have regarding the application process. Following the webinars, Caroline is available to review your application for a fixed fee.
PLASA is encouraging all its England-based members to attend to learn more about eligibility. These include industry manufacturers, production companies and venues, as well as freelancers who operate as a limited company and single director companies.
Reserve your free place now >> https://plasa-culture-recovery-fund.eventbrite.co.uk
UK - Stuart Gibbons, managing director at Le Mark Group Ltd, was awarded with an OBE for services to International Trade in the Queens New Year’s Honours List 2021.
Since Le Mark’s founding in 1982, Gibbons has always had a passion for exporting and expanding the company into international markets. The company has a reputation within the arts and entertainment industry for product excellence and award-winning British design and innovation. Now, in the additional role of a Department for International Trade Export Champion, Gibbons continues to encourage and advise British regional companies to embark on the path of exporting.
Gibbons’ voluntary career has encompassed the position of vice-chairman of the Global Trade Network; founding chairman of the Huntingdonshire Manufacturing Association and the GCGP Business Advisory Panel; and he is currently chairman of the Cambridge & Peterborough Apprentice Ambassador Network.
“I first heard that my name had been put forward for this honour on the 2nd of December 2020, I was utterly shocked,” says Gibbons. “To be noted and honoured for what I consider to be a personal passion of mine, was something I had never imagined.”
He concludes: “I believe I am still in shock and can only thank those that considered me worthy and worked behind the scenes to prepare a submission to the Main Honours Committee and ultimately Her Majesty the Queen. I have had the privilege to work on some amazing projects with talented people both at Le Mark and around the world. I will continue to support British
Greece - Prolyte has confirmed PA Solutions as an authorised dealer in Greece. PA Solutions is led by Kostas Tsaganos and Yiannis Benetas, who both carry more than 25 years of experience in the entertainment industry.
“We are thrilled to have PA Solutions join Prolyte’s family. We look forward to working side by side with Kostas, John and his team in Athens, and to seeing more Prolyte exposure in the South East region of Europe,” says Prolyte sales director William Voskuil.
PA Solutions CEO Kostas adds, “I was one of the first technical experts to install Prolyte products in Greece in the early 2000s. And now almost 20 years later, I’ve made my way to work side by side with Prolyte.
“I have great respect for Prolyte products. Adding Prolyte to our Portfolio, I know that I have the best trussing system and I feel very confident about providing the best solutions and products to our customers, from rental companies to big institutes.”
“One of the benefits of being under the A4I branch is the collaboration within the group, to come up stronger than any other manufacturer in the industry. Having Prolyte always one step ahead of the competition,” says Area Four Industries CEO František Zykan.
"We are confident that PA Solutions will provide the Greece market with the sufficient knowledge and experience for the best trussing solutions,” concludes William Voskuil.
PA Solutions started in 2002 and its goal is ‘to continually grow and build meaningful relationships of trust with their customers, suppliers and pa
UK - PLASA is hosting two sessions on Brexit during December to help PLASA members prepare for the new trading rules which will come into play from Friday 1 January 2021.
The first session on Friday 11 December at 2pm is a 30-minute introductory Q&A which will allow members to ask questions on the new rules and how they should prepare. This session is free, but numbers are limited to 20 to allow everyone to ask their questions. Pre-registration is required via the link below.
The next session will take place on Thursday 17 December and will run from 2pm to 4:30pm, allowing for a detailed look at exporting and importing post-Brexit. This workshop will help you prepare for the new rules of moving goods between the UK and Europe and will consider the process and cost obligations of navigating through new borders and the implications of procedures for both seller and buyer. This session is again limited to 20 people to allow for a more personalised approach.
Both sessions will be hosted by Business Training Ltd who have provided export-import training for public and private companies, Chambers of Commerce, UK Trade and Investment since 1975. The host will be owner Peter Thompson who has 20 years commercial experience in the logistics and financial aspects of international trade in the building services, civil engineering and energy sectors.
Find out more and register for the events via the links below:
11 December Q&A: https://plasa_brexit_qa.eventbrite.co.uk/
UK - Technical entertainment charity Backup has announced Round 2 of applications for its Hardship Fund is now open.
The fund was launched in October with the aim to provide limited financial assistance to production crew and those working in the technical supply chain across the UK entertainment sector. Set up just ahead of the then-concluding Self-Employment Income Support and Job Retention schemes, it originally targeted those in the community who had been unable to receive any state or charitable assistance.
But Round 2 will be open to workers who have been awarded up to £5,000 in funding between 1 April and 30 November.
“The application uptake for Round 1 of the Hardship Fund reaffirmed to us how dire it is financially and that this help could not come soon enough for many or our colleagues,” comments Backup chairman John Simpson. “It has been heartbreaking to read the messages applicants included and we are thankful that Backup has been able to provide some small level of financial support to help keep our colleagues afloat.”
He adds: “With Round 1, the Hardship Fund was able to help over 100 colleagues that have not previously had any help. However, we are also aware that there is another larger group of people that have had some form of small support from government grants, but this is not enough to meet their day-to-day basic requirements and thus also find themselves in financial difficulty. This is why Backup is opening the Hardship Fund to for a Round 2, targeting these individuals with a widening of the criteria.”
USA - Custom safety netting specialist InCord recently made their annual donation to Behind the Scenes reflecting a percentage of profits from sales of its Theatrical Safety Netting Systems.
Joe Menhart, InCord’s theatre division sales manager, comments: “We are delighted to provide this support to BTS especially when so many more are in need due to the ongoing global pandemic. Our hearts go out to all those who benefit from the grants and resources provided by BTS.”
Rick Rudolph, the Chair of Behind the Scenes, says: “InCord’s obvious commitment to safety through their netting systems, is further demonstrated by their desire to provide a financial safety net for their colleagues who are ill or injured. We thank them for their ongoing commitment and, in particular, for honoring that commitment during this difficult time for so many in our industry.”
For more information about Behind the Scenes visit www.behindthescenescharity.org.
UK - Apparel and tech brand STNDBY has launched its flagship range of sustainable clothes and accessories, designed for crew and creatives.
STNDBY (www.STNDBYworld.com) was conceived by lighting and production designer Tom Campbell and host, producer and entrepreneur James Murden to offer clothing and accessories that are ‘as functional as they are fashionable’. With partnerships in place with companies such as Avolites and Dirty Rigger and offering customisation, gifting options and tour swag, STNDBY’s products are designed ‘to work and built to last’.
“We’ve spent almost two years researching the problems crew face finding work gear and developing these products to solve those problems,” said Campbell. "We’re so proud of the incredible feedback we’ve had throughout our testing phase and can’t wait to start seeing STNDBY out in the world.”
STNDBY’s flagship range includes T-shirts, rigging gloves, power banks and digital storage solutions, as well as their signature launch product, the Leitch Security Backpack. Named after the late lighting designer Bryan Leitch, this travel-friendly bag embodies the STNDBY philosophy by packing in hidden compartments, charging ports, water resistance and even a stab-proof protective layer.
“With STNDBY we set out to create clothes and accessories that are fit-for-purpose but still look good in the bar after the show,” says Murden. "In our industry, 'stand-by' means “get ready for action”, so it was the perfect name for us - a bran
UK - In celebration of their upcoming new album For Those That Wish To Exist, Architects performed an exclusive livestream show at The Royal Albert Hall on 21 November.
PRG supplied all lighting, rigging, media server (D3) and LED for the live performance which was streamed globally via the streaming service Veeps.
Production designer Paul McAdams utilised the space, creating a high energy design to showcase the venue and ensure viewers watching the stream could experience that same live energy from behind their screens.
“The team at PRG were extremely professional and supportive as always, constantly coming up with creative and effective solutions to any issue that arose on this show,” explained McAdams. “It was great to call on all members of the team’s vast wealth of knowledge to help deliver the design as intended. The shoot went off without a hitch.”
Martin Sceptron LED fixtures were used to create a flown triangular set-piece which was situated above the band. These were also used to edge the band’s risers.
To complete the look, PRG supplied the lighting floor package, which comprised of; Icon Edge, GLP JDC-1, MagicBlade R and Solaris Flares, and the ROE CB5mm video wall.
PRG music account manager, Gemma Oldfield said: “It was fantastic to work with the band and team again on what was a truly special show. Using this iconic venue as the surrounding for the livestream at a time when it is empty meant that the different spaces could be used to help create both intimate acoustic moments and big rock n roll
UK - IPS has announced the appointment of experienced staging specialist Phil Addyman as a project manager.
The company has added "some exciting new outdoor structures" and following extensive infrastructure investment in this area, Addyman will be helping to lead the deployment of Outdoor Roof Systems and Staging projects across the broad IPS customer base.
He has extensive experience, having spent many years working for Star Live (known previously as Star Events) and been involved with many different projects all over the UK and further afield. IPS has completed a range of Staging & Structure projects over the last few months, and IPS MD James Mason is excited to welcome the new recruit to the team, saying "the structures side of our business has helped keep everything running through what has been a very tricky 2020, and with our product range expanding with increasingly larger structures, Phil is the ideal person to help us continue to grow in what looks set to be a busy season next year and beyond".
Addyman will be based remotely from the IPS office and will support projects both in the design phases and as part of the established IPS onsite delivery team.
UK - Carallon Limited, an R&D company responsible for creating innovative control products, has announced it has become an employee owned business.
Carallon was founded in 2004 by seven colleagues who enjoyed working together creating new control products for the entertainment industry. All seven of those original founders still work for Carallon today, including Nick Archdale, Chris Hunt and Richard Mead who remain its board of directors.
Over 16 years, it has gone from strength to strength, growing substantially from seven to over 70 employees, and spawning spin-off companies Pharos Architectural Controls, Brompton Technology, and new start-up SixEye. Pharos and Brompton have both been regular winners of high-profile awards for their innovative products, with Brompton Technology recently winning the Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2020: International Trade.
As of May 2020, Carallon is now owned by an Employee Ownership Trust, which acts for the benefit of all current and future employees, and through elected employee trustees gives all staff a say in major strategic decisions.
Managing director Richard Mead explains, “On day one, Carallon was set up as a business owned and run by its original seven employees. Although we’ve got bigger, we wanted to make sure that ethos was preserved and that there was a clear structure in place for the long-term future of Carallon. Employee ownership fosters a spirit of teamwork and less hierarchical management structures, so it fits with our style very well.”
“While the other directors and
South Africa - MJ Event Gear has created an outdoor music concert environment at The Local Bar and Kitchen in Kyalami, no. 66 on the R55 Main Road, for those who want to enjoy good music in a space that strictly complies to the COVID-19 safety regulations. MJ has also set up a venue incorporating sound and lighting at the Bryanston Country Club.
The Local has JOC approval and has been given the green light by the SAPS and the fire marshal. The venue has various seating options available and includes paramedics on-site in case of an emergency, while all tables and chairs are sprayed and sanitized by Gary Love and the Viral Shield team. Patrons entering the venue will walk through a humidifier tunnel (not spray) and endure the usual hand sanitization and a temperature check, while face masks are sold on site.
Mike Jones, the owner of Johannesburg technical supply company MJ Event Gear, explains how the projects came about. “I’ve always wanted to build an outdoor concert venue and it’s something I’ve thought about for the past two or three years. Sven Hansen of 4 Plus 3 Productions and I had been looking at different venues where we could put up a roof on a more permanent basis, and then lockdown happened, and nobody could work.”
When President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in September that South Africa would move to Level 1 in regard to eased restrictions to allow 500 people at outdoor gatherings and 250 people at indoor gatherings, at a 50% capacity. Mike approached the Bryanston Country Club. “They allowed me access to build a venue to comf
UAE - The long-awaited Ain Dubai will be a world first, when it begins spinning as the world’s tallest observation wheel, at more than 200m high. Unusual Rigging and Engineering LLC was brought on board to install each of the 48 capsules that will give passengers spectacular 360° views of Dubai's landmarks.
Hyundai Engineering and Construction awarded the contract for the engineering, procurement, construction and installation of the capsules to POMA who in turn called on the expertise and knowledge of Unusual Rigging & Engineering LLC to set up a winch system and install the capsules onto the wheel.
Unusual project manager Alex Taylor explained: "We began the project back in August with the installation of the first pod. Ahead of this however we spent time installing the lifting frames and winches and carrying out load tests. Working together with POMA, we devised an effective method of installing these giant capsules."
This method involved a truck driving into a precise location at the bottom of the wheel, where part of the boarding area ceiling had been left open for the lifting and installation process. Four x 10 tonne friction winches, which were then double reeved to give even more capacity and control, were attached to the lifting eyes on the capsule before being lifted up to its correct location.
Alex continued: "Each capsule weighs 27 tonnes – the six VIP capsules weigh in at 27.8 tonnes. There are four locking pins that the capsule sits on and because of the unique shape of the capsule, the challenge was trying to get each p
UK - Britannia Row Productions Training (BRPT) has been awarded £152,000 as part of the UK government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) announced by the Culture Secretary to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future.
Britannia Row Productions Training is one of 2,049 cultural and creative organisations across the country to have been awarded £409m of urgently needed support (up to 24 October 2020). The Culture Recovery Fund grants programme is being administered by the Arts Council England on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Further rounds of funding in the cultural and heritage sector are due to be announced over the coming weeks.
BRPT was founded in 2012 to provide holistic training for those wanting to enter the live events industry as live audio technicians. Courses available from colleges and universities are not targeted enough for this niche sector, making it hard for graduates to enter the workplace as invariably a certain amount of re-training is required. Furthermore, these institutions tend to lag behind with teaching the latest technologies, equipment and working practices.
All BRPT training courses are written, kept up-to-date and delivered by tutors who are industry practitioners working at the top tier of the industry. BRPT has developed and offered a range of courses which have allowed for part-time study through to intensive full-time courses and
UK - Arts Council England has opened its £18m Developing your Creative Practice (DYCP) fund to a wider pool of creative practitioners in light of the COVID-19 effects on the workforce.
Able to apply for a grant this year will be DJs, performer/creators, arts and cultural educators, community practitioners/engagement specialists, movement directors, cultural conservators, creative enablers and creative technicians.
“We know that COVID-19 has had a significant impact for individuals, and many will need to develop themselves and their work to respond to the new environment,” says the Arts Council. “We want to support as many people as possible to reshape and redefine their work and continue to make a positive impact on creativity and culture.”
The grants, ranging from for £2,000 to £10,000, will be awarded for development activities from practitioners working across music, theatre, dance, visual arts, literature, libraries, combined arts, and museums practice. This includes professional development or researching or creating new work.
The money will be allocated in four rounds running until October 2021, with the first round now open to applicants. To be eligible, practitioners need to have one year’s experience, be based in England, have a UK bank account, and be aged 18 or over.
The first round closes at noon on 5 November, with decisions announced in the week commencing 21 December.
To apply, visit artscouncil.org.uk/DYCP.
Japan - Established in 1995, All Creation is a professional construction team that provides stage setup, LED assembly, lighting installation, TV, movie set assembly, and other event services.
The collaboration between All Creation and Prolyte dates back to 15 years ago. At that time, bolts were the mainstream for connecting truss flange surfaces, and work would not progress without an impact driver. “However, Prolyte truss is easy to be connected by a hammer, and I was surprised and interested in the overwhelmingly fast assembly speed without worrying about forgetting to tighten the bolts,” says Koichi Okajima, CEO of All Creation.
Back in the day, there was a concern about the lack of experienced engineers in Japan. Safety issues and personnel training were the most discussed topics in All Creation. More importantly, they are the present and future subjects to be taken care of. "Using Prolyte products, I realised that not only can these problems be solved, but also the construction time can be shortened. Partnering with Prolyte helps us reduce cost; the costs in all perspectives. This is one of the reasons I choose Prolyte.
“In addition, next to the outstanding product that drives this partnership, the biggest reason is the close communication between Eddie and all the staff in Prolyte. They answered all our questions and fulfilled our requests sincerely and patiently by conducting multiple meetings. I look forward to continuing to improve my knowledge of products and expand Prolyte’s market presence in Japan.”
Eddie Slotboom, proj
UK - A new, Generation 3 shackle from Broadweigh is set to be released this week. It will incorporate a Smart Sleep mode, which protects battery life and bandwidth by only kicking into fast transmission when it detects an anomaly.
Tom Lilly, applications engineer at Broadweigh says: "With the new Smart Sleep, you can optimise your battery life and still monitor the load. If the load is stable, there is often no reason to monitor at a fast rate. You only really need to know when something changes. Smart Sleep monitors at a slow rate and compares the current reading with the last. If the difference is greater than the level set, then it will switch into fast mode until the load stabilises again.
“However, if you want to monitor at the fast rate you can still wake the modules using LOG100 or a handheld. This allows you to monitor at the fast rate when you know that something is going to chance, such as when a lift is happening."
The third-generation shackle is also paired with a Broadweigh designed bow which has undergone rigorous testing over the summer. The bow comes in black as standard and has been treated in a process called Tufftride which is a surface heat treatment involving a salt bath nitrocarburising treatment carried out at around 580°C for short periods of time. This produces a hard-wearing surface which increases corrosion resistance, increases wear resistance and improves fatigue strength.
The shackle also features a ‘one- swipe’ power cycle which completely removes the need to open the battery enclosure when hard pairing.
Europe - Registration is now open for Prolyte’s first free webinar. Taking placer next Wednesday 21 October (11:00 CEST), Eric Laanstra outlines the strengths of Prolyte trusses with the focus on multipurpose series.
Eric will also cover in his 60 minutes webinar topics about truss in all its aspects; from strength in connection methods, forces, design methods and interpretation of numbers.
Says Prolyte, “To achieve the number one customer satisfaction is always part of our philosophy. Save your seat and invite your friends and partners for the first Prolyte webinar. We will provide you the first-class education in the field of trussing and rigging.”
Europe - Prolyte has appointed Sound light and system (SLS), a sales partner for the company since 2014, as its new distributor in Portugal.
Established in 2014, SLS provides complete solutions for the professional audio and lighting market in Portugal.
“With the development of the market during these uncertain times, it is reassuring to have a strong trustable partner to further deliver high-end quality products and structural solutions that are in increasing demand in Portugal,” says Prolyte manager William Voskuil.
Rui Nunes, SLS CEO, comments: "We’ve worked with Prolyte for years now and we firmly believe that Prolyte is in fact the best truss solution for the Portuguese market. Being a well-recognised and known brand, Prolyte is ahead of its game in the market, as it is not only used and trusted by everyone but also recognized for its potential to lead. Prolyte has always offered us an excellent, tech-savvy product line, and we’re more than excited to be an official distributor of the Prolyte family. We at SLS look forward to working together with Prolyte and create amazing things together.”
Voskuil adds: "It is always a pleasure to work with SLS, and the growth of this relationship is publicly recognised with this transition up the ladder. SLS being our latest official distributor in Portugal strengthens our worldwide network, while increasing the availability of Prolyte's wide ranges of products across Portugal and the world.
“Rui Nunes is an industry professional and we are delighted to continue our magnificent work
UK - British manufacturer Le Mark has focused its resources on developing products that can help studios and cultural institutions adhere to social distancing guidelines through the use of clear protective screens.
The company released in the summer a vinyl screen that is suitable for enclosed spaces and provides protection against sneeze and cough droplets. Known now as the GIG-Screen, it has found use in rehearsal spaces and with the reopening of universities, demand for the product has only increased.
Stuart Gibbons, MD of Le Mark, explains: “Like many others, we had to turn our hands to the development of many new and unexpected products, to both sustain and keep employed as many of our ‘stitchers and sewing’ team as we could. We started to produce a simple self-assembly use and demount clear screen, now known as the GIG-Screen. From a small amount leaving Le Mark in the summer, we are now producing 60-70 a week, many destined for schools and drama studios and recently, the excellent Central School of Speech and Drama.”
Designed for smaller venues where space is limited, the GIG-Screen has an easy-to-clean transparent PVC screen, which is attached to durable metal frame that is placed on lockable castor wheels for ease of transport. The product can be assembled in two minutes according to the company and measures 122.5cm x 188.5cm (4ft x 6’2).
Gibbons concludes: “We will continue to do our bit for our wonderful industry - the GIG-Screen is heavily price-supported to make it as affordable as possible. For larger clients that wan
South Africa - Rokunda Netshiluvhi of DirectorRo has managed to ride the COVID-19 wave and come out tops, using this time to learn, establish himself as a lighting designer and set up a virtual platform at Vision View Productions based in Cosmo Business Park, Johannesburg.
Rokunda resigned from full-time employment at rental company Murangi Productions and started his own company as a freelancer in November 2019. “I decided to register myself as a business so that I could be accountable in everything I do,” he explains. “If freelancers pay attention, they can do what I’m doing. It starts off by thinking of yourself as a business instead of living hand-to-mouth.
“Many freelancers rely on receiving a phone call and being booked for an event. They think that to get work, someone has to call, instead of thinking let me try and make something myself, let me pitch an idea to people, let me do something for myself. If work can’t come to you, find work. For people to trust and take you seriously, present yourself as a business, ensure you have a business profile and have a voice outside your personal self that will enable you to work for a company or event.”
With gratitude to his former employer, Murangi Productions, where Rokunda worked since 2016 as an audio engineer and a self-taught lighting designer with an interest in technical directing, Rokunda established DirectorRo.
Working as hard as possible to make an income, Rokunda pushed hard. More work trickled through in January, and then, just as his calendar started filling up with bo