Ireland - Load cell company Broadweigh will support the Wires Crossed tightrope event in Galway, Ireland by supplying Monkey Rigging with the necessary kit to monitor the loads. The event, which was originally scheduled for August 2020, but has now been postponed due to COVID-19, is a European wide community participation project revolving around 'funambulism' - the art of tight-wire walking using a balancing pole. During the event, 400 tightrope walkers from all over Europe will cross the Galway River for a duration of 2020 minutes.
Andrea Mamolenti, founder of Monkey Rigging, comments: “Monkey Rigging is working with Andrea Loreni - the only funambulist in Italy on the measurement of the tightrope walker setups. We are also collaborating with him for the technical design of the preparations for the Italian team for the event. The kind donation of the Broadweigh kit will give us peace of mind that the safety of the performers is taken care of from a load monitoring perspective.”
Andrea and his team at Monkey Rigging rely on Broadweigh load cells for all the work they carry out for contemporary circus and aerial performers. Sometimes they are used as part of the hanging system for the performers and in cases where continuous monitoring of the loads on the structures is needed.
Andrea explains: “We are very loyal Broadweigh customers. In situations where the structure has sufficient but limited carrying capacity, it is vital that we monitor the loads and have continuous feedback, with the data collected by cells ensuring that these limits are r
UK - The damage across the UK culture, media, sports and digital sectors caused by the coronavirus outbreak has been laid bare in a government survey published this week.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has released the results of its Business Survey, showing the impact of coronavirus on organisations across the four sectors. The survey received 3,936 responses submitted between 23 April and 22 May.
Headline findings reveal the devastating impact of the pandemic on businesses, with more than a third (1,646) of respondents reporting their revenue has decreased by 100% year-on-year, whilst just 97 have seen an increase during the period.
In terms of how long businesses can continue to operate viably, the majority (1,156) of respondents selected ‘up to six months’, whilst 1,102 indicated that they could stay afloat beyond six months. However, 202 respondents said their businesses were already no longer trading; 155 stated they could only carry on trading for less than a month, and 902 reported they could only trade viably for up to three months. The remaining 408 selected ‘don’t know’. An overwhelming 2,668 respondents also indicated their business’ ability to trade was under threat due to the pandemic, with just 1,070 stating the opposite.
More than half (2,146) of respondents said they had accessed government support during the survey period, but nearly half (1,790) hadn’t. The headline findings can be found test
UK - "Keeping ladder users safe now means protecting them from coronavirus as well as falls," says The Ladder Association, as they release new guidance for health and safety managers.
New guidance from the Ladder Association is helping managers keep ladder users safe during the coronavirus outbreak, whether they're attending a ladder training course or using ladders in the workplace.
The industry body has offered its advice on the challenges being faced by those responsible for the health and safety of ladder users as they plan a return to work. In a new guidance document released free-of-charge to the industry, the Ladder Association delves into issues such as how long the virus lasts on ladders, how rescue plans will be affected and how workers can minimise the risk of the virus spreading through proper cleaning of equipment and materials, particularly if they have been handled by multiple people.
Importantly, it includes advice on how workers can maintain physical distancing while using ladders, with a focus on two activities that need to be considered carefully: stabilising a ladder and raising a ladder.
As Ladder Association training starts to resume in some areas, they have also addressed the need for people to be protected from coronavirus during their course. They remind us of the importance of Ladder Association training and reassure managers of the protective measures they can expect to be in place during a course, from e-learning options to minimise time spent at the training centre to increased hygiene and cleaning. They also expl
South Africa - DWR Distribution, the South African distributor of Prolyte, is now able to offer and maintain Litec, Tomcat and James Thomas Engineering trussing products, thanks to new partnerships between Area Four Industries and Prolyte.
“For South African Prolyte distributor, DWR Distribution, this means the opportunity to offer an additional service to our industry,” said Robert Izzett from DWR. “With access to the full Area Four Industries truss product range, which includes Litec, Tomcat and James Thomas Engineering brands (expect for Milos which has a different distributor), we can assist the African market with any new products or spare parts they may require which includes a variety of modernized motors within Exe Technology brand, also part of Area Four product portfolio.”
“DWR is not only a distributor for us at Area Four, but a serious and professional partner,” said Area Four sales and marketing director, Fabio Prada. “We are confident that the partnership will enable us to share projects that do not stop with the distribution of products to the South African market, but which can act as a platform for a more capillary presence on the entire African continent.”
“While Prolyte has the lion’s share of the South African market, DWR looks forward to extending our service and assistance to those who have Litec, Tomcat and James Thomas Engineering trussing in their inventory,” Robert concludes.
UK - A new company specialising in immersive technologies for theatre, performance and live events has won funding from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency. Copper Candle will use the funding to develop a platform to help the grassroots of the UK theatre and music industry, both in the short-term during the COVID-19 crisis and far beyond.
Copper Candle’s innovative Break A Leg platform will help community theatre, choirs and schools to continue collaborating while under pandemic restrictions. But that’s not all: it will also open possibilities for more widespread online collaborations among creative communities in the future.
“This funding enables us to build a platform which will allow anyone, but particularly community theatre groups, to easily navigate through technology to create collaborative performances and turn them into shareable content,” explains founder James Simpson, a pioneer of the use of virtual and augmented reality technologies in live entertainment production.
“Keeping theatre alive means supporting amateur and community groups who will help to deliver the next generation of performers, artists and technicians,” adds Simpson, whose own career began in community theatre. “It’s an essential training ground for new talent in professional theatre and live events, both on-stage and behind the scenes. In future, Break A Leg will also enable technical crews and designers to add to the creative mix.”
Break A Leg will enable users to choose a song or piece of music, follow the backing track and lyrics and reco
UK - Working to support government officials in understanding the unique issues facing the events industry due to COVID-19, PLASA has produced two infographics illustrating how the events supply chain will be impacted without further government support.
The graphics reflect the number of people it takes to deliver just one performance - on average 443 professionals, spanning planning, design, preparation, warehouse and venue staff. Additionally, the graphics show how valuable the sector is, delivering £100 billion to the UK economy and employing approx. 589,000 people.
It is hoped that information contained in the graphics will help highlight to government officials how many jobs are at risk in the events industry without support beyond October.
PLASA says in a statement: “Whilst many industries will be looking to return to some normality from July onwards, experts are predicting that with continued social distancing rules, many events won’t be able to fully return until spring next year, which will put a tremendous financial strain on companies and professionals working in the industry.
“The events sector has suffered enormously due to the worldwide shut-down of live events caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, when cash grants worth up to £51,000 were made available to ‘Leisure, Hospitality and Retail’ businesses, they weren’t extended to the events supply chain, and many of the 72% of freelancers working in the industry fell through the gaps of receiving any income support, due to them either working as limited c
USA - Four draft standards have been posted for public review on ESTA's Technical Standards Programme website. Materially affected parties are invited to review them at http://estalink.us/pr.
BSR E1.6-1, Powered Rigging Systems. ANSI E1.6-1 – 2019 is being opened for limited revision, with the scope of revisions applying only to section 6.6 of the standard. The revisions are necessary to correct errata in that section only. No other revisions will be considered or made at this time. Comments are due no later than 28 June.
BSR E1.39, Entertainment Technology - Selection and Use of Personal Fall Arrest Systems on Portable Structures Used in the Entertainment Industry. This standard establishes minimum requirements for the selection and use of personal fall arrest systems (PFAS) on portable structures in the entertainment industry. In addition, the standard establishes minimum requirements for products and portable structures used in the service of PFAS. The requirements for other methods used to protect workers from fall hazards such as safety nets, guard rails, and rope access techniques are not included in this standard. Comments are due no later than 28 June.
BSR E1.54, ESTA Standard for Colour Communication in Entertainment Lighting. The draft standard is a revision of the existing ANSI E1.54. It specifies a standardized way of specifying colour to facilitate the communications between lighting controllers and color-changing luminaires. The method is generic and is neither manufacturer-specific nor colour technology-specific
UK - A recent prosecution at Luton Crown Court has highlighted both the human and financial cost when work at height is not properly planned and managed, the Ladder Association reports.
The court heard that on 5 September 2016, an engineer testing a sprinkler system for leaks at a site in Hemel Hempstead, fell almost 3m after the extension ladder he was using slipped away from him. The engineer fell into the gap between the internal roof and the external wall resulting in a fractured vertebrae, soft tissue damage and severe blood loss - amounting to around half of his bloodstream - and led to him requiring a blood transfusion and 14 stitches to the head.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that reasonably practicable measures had not been taken to prevent a fall from the internal roof for both the engineer and other contractors working on the roof. The investigation further found that the principal contractor had failed to discharge its duty to ensure those not in their employment were not exposed to risks, in particular that of falling from height.
The company was found guilty of breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and fined £1.1 million with costs of almost £69,000 - one of the highest fines seen in recent years.
In response to this prosecution, the Ladder Association - a not-for-profit industry body dedicated to promoting the safe use of ladders and stepladders - is urging all those responsible for managing the use of ladders to take the necessary measures so, as far as is rea
UK - New guidance from PASMA is helping managers keep scaffold tower users safe during the coronavirus outbreak, whether they're off on a training course or using towers in the workplace.
The industry body has offered its advice on the challenges being faced by those responsible for the health and safety of tower users as they plan a return to work. In a new guidance document released free to the industry, PASMA delves into issues such as how long the virus lasts on aluminium, how rescue plans will be affected and how workers can avoid passing instruction manuals around.
The body shares recommend ways to assemble a tower while keeping your distance from everyone else, suggesting that the most reliable method could be buying or hiring one-person towers, which are specially designed to be built and dismantled by one individual working alone.
As PASMA training starts to resume in some areas, they have also addressed the need for people to be protected from coronavirus during their course. They remind us of the importance of PASMA training and reassure managers of the protective measures they can expect to be in place during a course, from e-learning to increased hygiene and cleaning. They also explain how PASMA cardholders can get an extension if their qualification is due to expire before it's safe for them to visit a training centre.
Roger Verallo, PASMA chairman and managing director of Euro Towers
UK - As Unusual Rigging's managing director Tom Harper prepares to moderate an ABTT seminar on Sustainability in Theatres on 11 June, the company is releasing a series of short videos on its social media channels and its website to stir the debate.
Harper is passionate about making positive change in the live production industry's ecosystem - especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and will argue the need for companies to move on from the sustainability argument and to think more circularly instead.
He says: “For years, under the sustainability model, companies have been looking at how they can do 'less bad', whereas what we really need to be doing is looking at how we can actually 'do better' and the circular economy model really captures the essence of this.
“As we face arguably the toughest crisis the industry has ever encountered, I strongly believe that becoming more circular will give us a fighting chance of surviving. As a company, Unusual is leading the way in becoming more circular in its practices and is keen to work with other businesses within the industry to make this standard practice.
“The ABTT seminar on Sustainability in Theatres next week will certainly provoke some interesting debate and conversation which I hope will drive us forward to make more progress. The videos we will release over the coming week will provide just a taster of some of the issues we will look to discuss. We would invite anyone who wa
Russia - Scena has joined the Prolyte family as the latest authorised dealer in Russia.
Founded in 2016 by specialists with more than 10 years of experience in the culture, social, and entertainment industry, Scena is recognised for its involvement in the development of European projects, brands and theatre complexes.
“When searching for a partner, Prolyte asks a couple of important questions: can they be our friends? Can they be a part of our family? Do they share the same values of loyalty, honesty, competence, and quality? When the answer to all these questions is a yes, then we jump right into that relationship,” says Eddie Slotboom.
Nikita Safonov and Alexey Barkovski already have a high level of experience with Prolyte over many years. Slotboom adds: “We are convinced that there is an experienced team at Scena with a lot of knowledge. Henry did a great job with this deal. We at Prolyte look forward to this constructive partnership.”
“We at Scena tend to favour brands that provide the world high-quality, reliable, and safe products and work with them without intermediaries in between to offer the best conditions to our clients,” says Nikita Safonov.
UK - White Light managing director Bryan Raven has written an open letter asking for support for the supply chain to the live events industry. The London-based supplier, in conjunction with a number of industry colleagues, has outlined a 10 point plan for help needed from the UK Government.
“The live events industry - which includes music, theatre, corporate events, festivals and live broadcasts - was amongst the first to be closed down by the COVID-19 pandemic and will be the last to return to normality,” writes Raven. “This is global issue and I would ask you to take the time to watch this video from the Live Events Coalition in the US which graphically represents the issue for the whole world.”
He continues: “Both the producers of live events but also the suppliers to live events need help. It is critical to consider the entire ecology of the live events supply chain when designing business support mechanisms.”
The key points listed by Raven in the letter are:
“1. Live events are pretty much impossible until the 2m Social Distancing rule is either unnecessary or relaxed - 2m distance needs to be advisory in conjunction with face covering and hygiene (in combination with testing) NOT compulsory. Until the 2m distancing requirement is reduced or, eventually, removed, many live events will not be financially viable.
2. Need to recognise the supply chain to industries/sectors that are still closed – and therefore offer support especially in those sectors that use theatres and live music venues which will be closed until th
UK - Technical entertainment charity Backup will be holding a virtual pub quiz on Friday 15 May to raise money for the charity.
Backup provides financial support to industry technical professionals working in live events, theatre, TV and film who have fallen ill, been injured or are suffering from mental health problems. The charity provides a range of services including financial support, advice and re-training, and the organisation is working harder than ever to support those in need during the COVID-19 crisis.
Tom Wilkes of Collaborative Creations will be hosting the quiz at 8pm on Friday 15 May, which will be taking place via Zoom, and all industry members, friends and family are welcome to take part and compete for some fantastic prizes.
Backup Trustee Lee Dennison said: “Unfortunately due to the coronavirus outbreak our annual fundraising extravaganza Kartfest can’t take place in July, so this quiz and other similar events in the coming months will make a huge difference to the charity.
“Those who know me will testify to the fact that I take all forms of fun extremely seriously, and I’m sure Tom will treat this quiz with the same level of respect and maturity that we have all come to expect.”
Tom added: “We understand this is a hard time for everyone, so entry fees and donations are encouraged but at your discretion, there’s no pressure to donate if you’re not in a position to. Having said that, if we raise enough money I will have to shave my head.”
White Light Systems Manager Jamie Wells will be runnin
UK - Following the death of Alan Jacobi in April, Unusual Rigging has announced that Jacobi’s son Tom Harper will take on the role of managing director, with Jacobi’s wife Peta appointed as chairwoman. Beyond this change, the Board will continue to lead the Unusual team, directing the overall strategy of the business and assessing how best to respond to all future opportunities and challenges.
“The consequences of losing AJ are great,” says Harper, “and his absence will be felt, both by his family, colleagues, and the industry as a whole for many years to come. As a business, there are obvious implications that need to be addressed which in turn, honour AJ’s wishes regarding succession. AJ shared with Peta and myself that after he was gone, Peta would become the company Chairman, and I would become the MD”.
This strategy was recently reviewed and approved by the Board, which was formed in 2018 when Unusual was faced with exponential growth, and was enhanced by further directors – Simon Stone, Steve Porter, Simon Tiernan and Tom Harper, who each took on specific leadership roles within the organisation.
Jacobi said at the time: “We needed to regenerate the thread of continuity as we move forward and continue to grow, and the Board needs to reflect this intention in the management and governance of the company. We needed a solid and secure base to guide us into the future where responsibilities are growing ever more demanding”.
“And now”, says Harper, “our industry is facing challenges never before contemplated. Yet d
USA - ESTA reports that two standards have been revised, and are being offered for public review.
BSR E1.6 - 1 - 202x, Powered Rigging Systems has been revised to correct errata in section 6.6, which addresses design factors for certain system elements. The public review only covers the revisions made in that section, and no comments regarding other sections are being solicited at this time.
BSR E1.39 - 202x, Entertainment Technology - Selection and Use of Personal Fall Arrest Systems on Portable Structures Used in the Entertainment Industry, is a revision of ANSI E1.39-2015, which is being updated for consistency with current industry practice and technologies. This standard establishes minimum requirements for the selection and use of personal fall arrest systems (PFAS) on portable structures in the entertainment industry. In addition, the standard establishes minimum requirements for products and portable structures used in the service of PFAS.
The public review period for both draft standards runs through 28 June 2020. The draft revisions, review instructions, and pubic review forms for each document are now available for download at https://tsp.esta.org/tsp/documents/public_review_docs.php.
UK - Acting & Theatre Production students at London’s prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) rigged a dynamic scene change using an Electro Kabuki drop in a recent performance of Oscar’s Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.
The play calls for a scene change between Act 1, based in the Piccadilly rooms of character Algernon Moncrief and Act 2, set in the garden of the Manor House in Woolton belonging to character Jack Worthing (aka. Earnest). In this lively and engaging production, the creative team came up with a novel idea to mark the transition.
With Electro Kabuki dropper modules rigged to the grid high above the production in a cargo net configuration, several hundred flower heads were dropped to the stage, bang on cue with accompanying sound effects, as the actor playing Miss Prism took her seat at the garden table. Marked by appreciative gasps, the audience was left in no doubt that the setting of the play had shifted.
Cargo net applications are just one of many Electro Kabuki configurations that can be deployed for staged drops and theatrical reveals, and are often used for balloons, artificial snowflakes or poppy petals. Members of the Electro Kabuki team were invited to the RADA performance as VIP guests. They have huge experience of all sorts of kabuki drops and concluded that this was the first known instance of dropping full flower heads.
The entire production of The Importance of Being Earnest was a resounding success, with the only disappointment being that its run in RADA’s Jerwood Vanbrug
UK - Load cell company Broadweigh has passed its final audit to be granted full membership of the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association.
LEEA is a representative body for all those involved in the lifting industry worldwide. It has taken three years to achieve full LEEA membership which is only available to companies that are ‘engaged for profit in the verification of lifting equipment’, and which, in the opinion of the LEEA directors, is competent and can give adequate service.
Tom Lilly, application engineer at Broadweigh comments: “Three years ago, Broadweigh joined LEEA as an associate member because we strive to be the best – not only in the quality of product we offer but also in the role that we take within the entertainment industry. We then decided last year that we should be including a thorough examination in our recalibration and refurbishment service. We control the manufacture of almost every part of the Broadweigh load shackle which means that we are best placed to perform these checks.
“This last year has been busy, with production engineer Alex Maruschat and I going through a series of training and development courses. We now both hold our LEEA Team cards showing that we have passed our exams following the training. This then placed us well to have our full membership audit which is now fully signed off.”
Kelly Voysey, marketing manager explains: “These aren’t just ‘turn up and pass’ types of courses. A lot of work goes into getting the qualifications and we are extremely proud of the efforts of Tom and
UK - PASMA’s new Safety Practitioner Zone and its partnerships with the Association for Project Safety, British Safety Council, IIRSM and RoSPA aim to help workers stay safe on scaffold towers.
From 1 May 2020, members of these associations get access to a library of PASMA resources for updating their tower knowledge and sharing good practice. The library includes toolbox talks, tower reference guides, bitesize safety videos and details of upcoming changes to EN 1004, the design standard for mobile access towers.
In the lead-up to launch, PASMA is celebrating by releasing a series of Toolbox Talks on social media, freely available to anyone who wants them. These one-page documents contain the content needed to deliver a safety briefing on five tower-related topics, reinforcing key messages that are taught on PASMA training courses: Monday: Never stand on an unprotected platform; Tuesday: Using scaffold towers in windy conditions; Wednesday: How to safely move a mobile access tower; Thursday: No instruction manual means no scaffold tower, and Friday: Inspecting scaffold towers.
A new Toolbox Talk will be released at 11am each day this week (on PASMA’s Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn pages. Each one will be available for only 24 hours. After the time is up, the series, along other material, will be available in the Safety Practitioner Zone.
Jason Carlton, head of strategic engagement at PASMA, states, "We’re delighted to have partnered with leading safety associations on this initiative becau
South Africa - The SOS Charity Fund was established in December 2016, and from the start was met with generous support from the entertainment industry. The charity is now pleased to donate R50,000 to Feed our Crew, a non-governmental organization (NGO) that is providing temporary support through food vouchers to the technical and casual event crews during the Covid-19 lockdown period.
While DWR Distribution established, administer and are a contributor to the SOS Charity Fund, the entertainment industry has fully participated in fundraising events. “Although DWR Distribution is also going through a tough time, the money we’ve raised for the SOS belongs to the people and not to us,” said Duncan Riley of DWR. “The SOS was established to help people in times like these, this is what it’s all about.”
When all events were abruptly shut down due to Covid-19, Tamsyn Strydom, co-founder of Feed our Crew, was active on a couple of groups and forums aimed at technicians.
“The message that kept coming through was that people needed help,” Tamsyn recalls. “Initially, I started communicating with Kagiso Moima Wa Masimini, and together our aim was to put together an appeal to the President of South Africa.” Tamsyn and KG asked people in the industry to make videos to be sent to the presidency in order to illustrate the struggle that the entertainment world is facing.
Marcia Alves , a seasoned technical manager, also reached out to Tamsyn regarding the video appeal and as the videos came in, Tamsyn, KG and Marcia knew they had to do mor
USA - Eligible candidates who have received a notification of acceptance from one of the four examinations offered by the Entertainment Technician Certification Programme (ETCP) may begin scheduling appointments at PSI’s owned and operated testing centres.
ETCP is also still accepting applications from eligible riggers, entertainment electricians and portable power distribution technicians. The ‘rush fee’ has been waived and those who are accepted will be processed as quickly as possible.
PSI has recognised the impact that ETCP’ Certified Technicians are making by dedicating their equipment and knowledge to this critical initiative. The ETCP Programme has been added to the list of credentialing programmes that certify essential personnel. as they will be allowed to work alongside healthcare workers, law enforcement, and first responders charged with building field hospitals to aid in the fight against COVID-19. Currently, PSI’s testing centres are available to only those deemed as essential personnel. Interested candidates will be provided with testing centre locations.
“PSI was honoured to serve ETCP and their stakeholders, by ensuring that testing for professional technicians was made possible in this difficult time,” says Rory McCorkle, senior vice president, certification and education services, PSI. “We’re confident that the necessary knowledge, skills, and experience required of certificants confirms their deep desire to provide for the health and safety of the public. Every day, ETCP certificants prove that they’re the
The Netherlands - Prolyte has published a new edition of its Blackbook, featuring technical information about trusses and complementary products.
The new edition includes: Compositions and design of aluminium trusses, Different types of connections, Forces within trusses and the different types of loading, Stages, roof systems, hoisting of truss, lifting people, truss maintenance, and more.
Available as a free download, the Blackbook has gained a reputation of an “on the road and beyond” reference guide, offering extensive theoretical background knowledge, as well as practical tips.
You can request a free copy from Prolyte's website.
USA - TAIT is now offering free online training courses for iQ Powered by Navigator to the live event community. By providing these courses, everyone interested in participating is given an opportunity to learn, engage and prepare for future automation experiences, says the company.
Whether a first-time learner or an experienced show operator, the iQ Training Video Series is tailored to all levels of entertainment automation. After watching the series, viewers will know how to operate machines using a variety of methods, add windows to workspaces, create time saving pre-sets, program a show using various cue lines and organizational helpers, as well as stop and restart cues.
“iQ is designed to make the power of our Navigator platform accessible to all users of entertainment automation,” shared Scott Chalfant, director of product management for TAIT Navigator.
“If you’re new to automation, these courses will help you quickly understand how to use iQ to programme and move axes in a show. If you're a more experienced user, these videos will introduce you to new ways to do more with less of your time. We welcome you to visit our courses online and see for yourself,”
In addition to the launch of TAIT’s online training, Scott Chalfant co-hosted USITT’s News @ Noon webinar on Thursday, 16 April dedicated to iQ Powered by Navigator.
The training videos will be offered at no charge until 15 May. New releases may be made avai
South Africa - Just before touching down in South Africa to host DWR Distribution’s annual Rigging Training Course, Ruud de Deugd, an internationally renowned rigger and training presenter, had a role to play in building the largest chocolate bar - by area - and setting an official Guinness World Record, with all profits going to Mercy Ships.
“Mercy Ships is a floating hospital that gives surgeries to some of the poorest people in the world,” said Ruud. “The organisation is coming up with a new ship for the East Coast of Africa, which is how I got involved as a sponsor for their chocolate project. If you speak to the people who work on the ships, you realise how difficult the situation is.” The good news is that the team provides medical procedures to people who would ordinarily not be helped. “They can fix the eyes of a vision impaired child in fifteen minutes and then for the rest of his life he will see. Without the ship, the chances of him ever seeing would be unlikely.”
The floating hospitals efficiently bring safe, sterile operating rooms and hospital beds directly to people in need so that the volunteer medical staff can provide free surgeries. Mercy Ship also builds medical capacity in every port they reach, training doctors, providing equipment and opening medical facilities so that improved healthcare continues in their wake.
To bring awareness to Mercy Ships, chocolatier Frits van Noppen broke the Guinness World Record by creating the largest chocolate bar measuring 383.24sq.m and weighing thirteen tonnes! Ruud in turn spons
USA/Europe - James ‘Graham’ Thomas, founding partner of James Thomas Engineering, has died. The industry has been paying tribute to Graham who retired from the business in 2014 when JTE became part of Area Four Industries.
“All of us at JTE were saddened to hear that Graham ‘James’ Thomas, original founding partner of James Thomas Engineering passed away overnight,” says JTE’s website. “Graham and his partner, John Walters, started JTE in Worcestershire, England in 1977 and their designs became synonymous with the growth and look of rock ‘n’ roll productions throughout the 80s & 90s, in the U.K., in the United States and across the world.
“Graham Thomas and John Walters pioneered the Thomas Spun Aluminum PAR Can and Thomas Pre Rigged Truss, making both widely available for the entire industry globally. The name Thomas is synonymous with trussing and lighting fixtures.
“Graham truly was one of the founding fathers of the truss and rigging entertainment technology industry that we know today. All of us at JTE and Area Four Industries would like to pass on our condolences to Graham’s friends and family.”
John and Graham were both in other industries and began making spun aluminium Par cans on the side, at a time when the steel Altman was the industry standard. Other UK firms were engaged and involved in the early days, but once John and Graham began mass producing PARs, James Thomas Engineering took off.
Dizzy Gosnell (then of Meteorlites) and Ronan Wilson worked with John and Graham to come up with the origi