UAE - Unusual Rigging & Engineering won an award for exceptional delivery and contribution to EXPO 2020 Dubai. At a ceremony at Grosvenor House, Dubai Marina, last month, the company was recognised for its contribution to health and safety at the event which took place between 1 October 2021 and 31 March 2022.
Denis Bramhall, managing director at Unusual Rigging & Engineering commented: “We are extremely proud to have won this award. There were over 3,500 subcontractors working on EXPO 2020, so for us to be one of the final 3 in the health and safety category was completely unexpected and to then come first is a huge honour. We really were up against some big companies – some of which employ ten or eleven thousand people, whereas in contrast we are an extremely small team. But good things come in small packages, and our team here at URE, really did pull out all the stops to deliver several successful projects for EXPO 2020.”
As well as working on numerous areas of the venue and providing rigging solutions for several of the pavilions at EXPO 2020, URE was contracted directly by EXPO to work on two of its main stages – the Jubilee Stage and the DMA Stage. Here they supplied all the rigging solutions for production requirements across these stages, which also included uplift requirements for IP acts.
Richard Hoare, senior project manager at URE commented: “We started work on site on July 21, with rehearsals and test events taking place in September, working with a variety of acts from the pavilions themselves to international Ips. Fo
France - Naostage has announced the appointment of experienced pro-AV professional Alexis Reymond as its new sales manager.
Reymond has worked as a freelance audio engineer, electro-acoustic consultant, sound designer and music producer for more than 20 years, most recently in a sales engineering capacity with fellow Nantes-based company Arbane Groupe (APG/Active Audio). His other experience includes spells with event specialists Videlio and Magnum, where he worked as a sound engineer for 17 years, and Disneyland Paris, where he served as a freelance AV technician.
In his new role, Reymond – who is tasked with developing Naostage’s commercial strategy and overseeing its development, both domestically and internationally – will initially focus on building relationships with major industry players in the EMEA region and showcasing the benefits of the Naostage product. He explains that he sees live shows, corporate events, performing artists, and attraction venues as priority markets for Naostage.
“My ambition is for Naostage to become, over the next three years, a major worldwide provider of automated tracking solutions by establishing ourselves as the market leader in France and establishing a distribution network across Europe, the Middle East and Asia,” states Reymond.
At Naostage, Reymond joins a team that includes the company’s founder and CEO, Paul Cales, as well as partners Olivier Le Doeuff (CTO) and Nathan Van De Hel (COO).
UK - In May 2022, Burning Man Artist, David Best, in conjunction with Artichoke UK created Sanctuary – a public artwork and COVID memorial for the nation, to pay tribute to those lost during the pandemic.
It was also a moment to mark rebirth, recovery, and regeneration. Built by Best and his crew, together with the local community, in the Miners’ Welfare Park in Bedworth, North Warwickshire, individuals from the local community took part in the project, employed to assist with the build and volunteering as Sanctuary guardians and guides once it was open to the public.
Unusual Rigging was contracted to provide production management and rigging services, to survey the site, provide condition reports, plan the build layout and production compound as well as manage the structural build and post event clean up.
Kate Harvey, director of projects at Artichoke UK commented: “We began work with the Unusual team on Sanctuary in 2020 at the very start of the project, enlisting their expertise to provide logistics and oversight of the entire project including advice on site condition, engineering of the timber sculpture, directing structural build and contribution to production reports including SAG reports. They were involved in everything from the initial assessment of the site right through to the burn and clear up as well as plans for re-landscaping, post event.”
As Covid-19 continued to tighten its grip, the project was delayed a number of times with ongoing restrictions pushing the project back until a date of May 2022 was set.
USA - ESTA will host a Midwest Rigging Intensive course on 25-27 August in Chicago. The weekend-long event will feature a curriculum developed by a group of dedicated instructors, all of whom are ETCP recognised trainers.
With a focus on practical learning for entertainment riggers, the sessions will feature Ben Brian (Reed Rigging), Tyler DeLong (DeLong Rigging Solutions), Brent ‘Mickey’ Henry (ETC), Ed Leahy (Chicago Flyhouse), Tracy Nunnally (Vertigo), Patrick Stewart (ETC), Shane Kelly (DePaul University), Rebecca Knipfer (ETC), and Verda Beth Martell (DLR Group). This event will provide enough hours to fulfil a technician’s ETCP Education Renewal Credits requirement.
Education sessions will include topics such as fall protection, hoists, loading by math, hardware, and more. The event will comprise two days of classroom training starting at 1 pm on Thursday at The Theatre School at DePaul University, followed by a day of theatre inspection training at DePaul’s Merle Reskin Theatre in downtown Chicago, ending at 6pm. There will also be some social events, including drinks with TDs on Thursday night.
Early Bird tickets are $500 for members of ESTA, USITT, URTA, ITA, IATSE, EdTA, CiTT, and Aerial Arts America, as well as ETCP certified technicians; $550 for non-members; and $300 for students. Member and non-member prices will increase on 3 August 3 (student prices will remain the same). Registration is at esta.org/mri.
UK - The Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA) will hold a webinar for end-users in the entertainment industry.
Held live at 10am BST on 7 July 2022 via Zoom, the one-hour webinar aims to initiate conversations between LEEA members and end users, particularly those further up the supply chain. The webinar will explore how having the right lifting equipment and safe working loads in the entertainment sector is vital for successful productions and concerts - ensuring they run smoothly, efficiently and safely.
Furthermore, sourcing and training staff and contracting for ‘thorough examinations’ with LEEA members will give entertainment sector companies the confidence they seek, as members of the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association conform to its ‘gold standard’ when it comes to excellence in the Lifting Industry.
Attendees to this webinar will gain an overview of legislative frameworks, training and best practices applicable to owners and end users of lifting equipment in the Entertainment industry.
Representing the Entertainment sector will be speakers Paul Fulcher, managing director, Rigging Services and Sean Pagel, director of Production Services Ireland & chairman of the National Rigging Advisory Group. LEEA experts presenting will be Keith Tonge, technical services and Dave Tucker, senior training specialist at LEEA.
For more information, visit the link below.
UK - Flooring, tapes and labels specialist Le Mark Group has expanded its offering with a new line of British-made Sausage and T-bar markers from Dirty Rigger.
The new products deliver practical marking and rigging solutions for outdoor events and filming, as well as for busy theatre environments. Le Mark’s Jeff Demain explains: “We’re specialists in tapes for marking out stages but, as we all know, you can’t put tape on grass, or sand, or gravel, for example. So, this is a solution that has immediate appeal for the outdoor film, TV and event markets, and more besides.” That solution is a flexible, hard-wearing, colour-coded Sausage marker made from tough webbing and weighted with stainless steel shot. Robust but soft to the touch, its design includes a sturdy brass eyelet at one end, which can be quickly - and securely - spiked in precisely the right spot.
Durable, colourful and reusable, the new range offers practical solutions to more than just outdoor builds. Theatre riggers can use them as spot lines to drop from the grid, or roof, to line up positions of dead-hung rigging points, motorised flying points or anything that needs to be accurately positioned in keeping with the stage plan. Unlike a solid plumb-bob, the Sausages are kinder to walk into, being flexible by design, which is an added benefit for packing and transportation.
Demain continues: “We also saw other applications in theatre, particularly when multiple shows are rigged in the same space, as with rep’ theatre or touring opera shows, where they can be used to ident
UK - Specialist set designer Diagon has created a new 40,000sq.ft workshop in Erith, southeast London. The facility doubles the company's indoor footprint and will house specialist departments for carpentry, engineering, paint and CAD.
A provider of bespoke scenic build and installation services for the retail, exhibition and event sectors, Diagon works with clients including Christie's auction house, George P Johnson, the BRIT Awards and artist and stage designer, Es Devlin.
Tom Sabin, managing director, comments: “This fabulous new facility marks a huge milestone for Diagon. Coming just after our 21st anniversary, we have doubled our fabrication capacity, created a new studio department with incredible draughting and design capability and added some fantastic staff to the team. With a busy summer ahead, we now have the ability to further step up the scale and quantity of projects we can take on.”
Diagon has expanded each workshop department and invested in new equipment, machinery and storage including a new dedicated assembly area of 120sq.m where clients can see work in progress or full test builds with tech integration.
The workshop’s internal height of 7.5m gives Diagon space for large scale builds with the addition of another 20,000sq.ft of hardstanding yard area for easy truck access and outdoor test build space. Within the facility there is a dedicated area of 5000sq.ft for client storage where sets and installations can be kept in a secure, dry area in pristine condition for future use.
Other improvements include larg
UK - PLASA Show is returning to West London from 4-6 September, and those wishing to attend can now register via the event's website.
Taking place at Olympia London’s Grand Hall, the entertainment technology tradeshow promises to deliver some of the latest technology, product demos, and delve into key industry issues. There will also be four showfloor theatres running over 60 sessions on a range of topics across the three days.
The event will provide plenty of opportunities for networking with leading companies from audio, AV, lighting, rigging and staging, each one showcasing popular products and new releases. Some of the brands returning this year include Robe, Ambersphere, ETC, AC-ET, Adam Hall, L-Acoustics, Sennheiser, Chauvet Professional, Leisuretec, Highlite, Polar and SFL Group.
Meanwhile, the seminar programme will offer valuable business advice, unpack technical topics, and present the latest creative achievements. Interactive workshops will also return to provide visitors with the chance to try the latest tech - from live audio demonstrations, to lighting console training, and much more.
The widely respected PLASA Awards for Innovation will also return to recognise and reward next-generation products and the people behind them. The awards are proudly run in association with LSi magazine - keep an eye on our website for more information regarding how to enter this year’s awards.
Free registration for PLASA Show 2022 has now opene
Europe - NEXT Truss has announced the acquisition of Dutch truss manufacturer Interal T.C. All Interal T.C. employees will remain onboard in the new organisation, the company reports.
Interal T.C. has been manufacturing truss structures for the events industry since 2003 and offers standard and custom-made systems, with “plenty of potential for future growth within Interal T.C. as well as for expanding NEXT Truss,” says a statement.
The Interal T.C. rental business will in future be operated by AED Rent, which will supply both new and existing customers with dry hire rental of trussing and rigging equipment from the local hub in Venray. Over time, the rental business could be expanded even further, with the addition of other AV products (such as stage and trade show lighting) from AED group, to support the local market.
The staff and contacts will remain unchanged at both companies, retaining all the skills and experience. NEXT Truss and Interal T.C. will operate under one roof, where management and operations will be integrated to achieve economies of scale for both customers and suppliers.
The Netherlands - HOF has appointed Podiumtechniek as a distribution partner in the Netherlands. Podiumtechniek specialises in custom-made stage technology solutions.
Bob Ages, co-founder of Podiumtechniek, comments: “We believe that with creativity there are no limits to what is possible on stage and at events and that there is a solution to everything - either with regular products or with tailor made solutions - and often a combination of both. HOF is one of the rare companies that offers both and we are glad to have the HOF products in our portfolio now and a manufacturer in our network that can design and deliver custom made solutions.”
Edwin Duivelaar, export & sales manager at HOF, adds: “With Podiumtechniek we share the same philosophy which is that no project is impossible and the crazier the idea the better. We are impressed by the creativity of Podiumtechniek and are delighted to enlarge our distribution network in the Netherlands with such a dynamic partner.”
Europe - HOF has announced Treti as a new distribution partner for Italy. Treti has more than 40 years of experience in live events, trade shows, theatres and the film industry, and disposes of a distribution and service network throughout Italy.
Daniele Melis, managing director at Treti, comments: “We always carefully research the products that we choose to distribute in order to ensure we fully satisfy our customer needs. Therefore, it came as a natural choice to add the HOF brand and their trussing portfolio to our range of products.”
Edwin Duivelaar, export & sales manager at HOF, adds: “We are delighted to enlarge our European footprint with a very well established and recognized partner for the Italian market and look forward to a very successful cooperation and partnership with Treti.”
Europe - Sixty82 has launched Arena Frame, a new stage concept designed for venues which value the benefits of a quick and easy-to-build stage system.
The straightforward design allows big stages to be built ‘in the blink of an eye’ - a 200m2 stage, for example, can be built in just 90 minutes with a crew of four and a forklift.
The system has a very small storage footprint due to its foldable frames, while it also offers the ability to build the stage and rig at the same time, greatly reducing the time needed to build any stage set.
The Arena Frame system allows every second frame to be omitted, allowing the creation of corridors underneath the stage in both directions without any loss of its load bearing capacity. For standard decking 2x1m elements are used.
The system is equipped with robust swivel castors and an internal lever system which allows the castors to be raised once the stage is in position and rests on its screw jacks. Accessories like stairs, guardrails and transport dollies are also available.
UK - HOF has announced that Entedi is now a distribution partner of HOF in the UK and Ireland.
Marcel Wijnberger, technical manager at Entedi comments, “Another innovative brand to add to our portfolio. Reviewing MLT Prerig truss showed me how small differences can have a big impact on real world use. Our customers are going to be very happy. As customers who have already invested in this pre-rig truss can testify.”
Edwin Duivelaar, export & sales manager at HOF, adds: "Entedi joining the HOF Family is another important step in the internationalisation of the HOF brand, especially considering that the UK and Ireland are very important markets for the European event industry and many European tours will be planned and executed from the UK even after Brexit."
Entedi will distribute the HOF brands HOF trusses including the MLT2 and CJS clamps.
UK - 5 Star Cases has announced the appointment of Allen Smith as quality assurance manager, to set product and process quality standards across its range of products and provide quality related guidance to 5 Star’s staff and management.
5 Star Cases services multiple industries from entertainment, medical, telecoms and robotics, to motorsport. Longstanding clients include Terry Tew Sound & Light, Universal Studios, Allen & Heath, Power Maxed racing, DiGiCo and Arden Motorsport. The company’s ambitious growth strategy and ever-increasing product portfolio, including a new range of wooden packing crates, prompted the search for a quality assurance manager.
“As part our long-term strategy, we have been investing in state-of-the-art equipment to ensure we can serve our customers with products that are manufactured to the highest quality standards,” says Ingus Lasinskis, operations director at 5 Star Cases. “The investment in technology goes hand in hand with the investment in our team, which is the backbone of 5 Star’s philosophy. With the growing demand for flight cases and our latest addition - wooden packing crates - we felt that quality assurance manager position was necessary to maintain the high product standards our customers expect from us.”
“Allan has over 30 years of experience in the manufacturing industry. He has sound commercial awareness and a proven track record in multi-site, people, performance and project management,” shares 5 Star’s accounts & HR manager Kirsty Locks.
Europe - Prolight + Sound 2022 attracted 20,000 visitors from 93 countries, according to the organisers.
After a break of two years, the Frankfurt event brought together companies and professionals from all segments of the industry. Wolfgang Marzin, president and chief executive officer of Messe Frankfurt, reflects: “By all pulling together, we have achieved something that, at the beginning of the year, many people thought would be impossible: the companies and associations of the event and media technology sector joined forces with us to show once again how much life and positive energy is to be found in this industry.”
“We are delighted we have succeeded with Prolight + Sound in triggering this important restart and that we can once again all come together with no restrictions. Both exhibitors and visitors were hungry for spontaneous meetings,” adds Linda Residovic, managing director of the German Media and Event Technology Association, VPLT. “The high quality of the fair is also reflected by the sales figures reported by our members. In other words, the fair is the ideal starting place to recapture the all-important trust in our industry for the future.”
Prolight + Sound 2022 was underpinned by the organisers’ commitment to a greener future for the event industry, and new products at the show included technologies boasting a high level of energy efficiency; solutions for reducing logistical difficulties, and products made of environmentally friendly materials. At the première of the Green Event Day, a programme of lectures revolvi
UK - Harlequin Floors has launched a pioneering new floor system. Harlequin Liberty Switch is a professional multi-use floor that can be switched from a rigid theatrical floor to a sprung dance floor at the touch of a button.
This innovative and versatile floor has been designed for venues who regularly put on both dance and theatrical performances and so require both a sprung and a rigid floor in the same performance or rehearsal space.
Harlequin Liberty Switch is a modular multi-use floor system comprised of a base unit with the drive and control mechanism topped with a Harlequin Liberty sprung floor. The base units house a series of moving carriages connected by rods running on high-strength carrier rails powered by electric actuators located at the ends of each row. Each actuator and associated controller are linked to a master control unit located off-stage.
The upper surfaces of the base units are fitted with wooden battens which align with the sprung elastomer pads of the Harlequin Liberty panel above. The upper panels are standard Harlequin Liberty with the addition of UHMWPE (ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene) low-friction blocks on the underside.
This new approach has many benefits over the old approach of swapping floors between shows. It transforms between a sprung floor to a rigid floor in minutes, is more cost effective than an equivalent ballet wagon, there are no labour costs in laying and removing a temporary floor and no storage costs.
Harlequin Liberty Switch is a modular system that can be modified to meet an
UK - Area Four Industries UK continues to expand its operations with the appointment of Matthew Millward as head of automation to manage its EXE Technology brands.
Millward comments: “To be finally working with the world’s largest manufacturer of truss, staging and automation products has a great sense of achievement and pride. It is an extremely exciting phase for EXE Technology with the introduction of the All In One / One for All smart solutions.”
Sales & marketing director Glen Brown adds: “I am delighted with Matt joining the A4i UK team at this time. He is the perfect plug & play solution for this new role and joins with a vast knowledge and practical experience of entertainment / theatrical environments. Our customers and users will feel the benefits immediately with his level of professionalism and empathy.”
Germany - Kinesys product engineering and Tait Navigator control technology will introduce new products at Frankfurt in Hall 12.0, stand C96.
Tait will reveal three adaptable winches: suitable for scenic movement, and with the requisite SIL3-rated safety features now mandated for performer flying. The team will also introduce new drives optimised for installation requirements and providing an impressive powerhouse for precision position control.
Visitors to the stand can enjoy a hands-on experience with Tait’s latest automation console, epiQ.
Joining the new machines on the stand will be the tour-proven Kinesys Apex hoist system, the Kinesys Vector control console, and the Kinesys Libra range of load monitoring safety tools that ensure all static and dynamic loads are continually and precisely measured in real-time.
The Kinesys DigiHoist fixed speed chain motor controller and the Kinesys Elevation drive for hoists and trollies will also be featured on the stand.
Germany - HOF will launch its new Post Dolly at Prolight+Sound 2022. The Post Dolly offers a variety of possibilities to create different structures and layouts on stage. It can be used for single lamps, but also as a stacked dolly with, for example, 1m standard conical tubes between the dollies to create different levels.
The components can be mounted standing or hanging on the 15mm plate. Further, the user can mount 2-point, 3-point or 4-point trusses in sizes 290mm or 400mm on the dolly in different positions, using the optional adapter plate.
Likewise, the MLT trusses can be positioned upright in centre or off-centre positions. Multiple Post dollies can be combined to create various constructions. The components remain in place during the show and during transport, saving a lot of time. The wheels are black & grey and therefore almost invisible on stage.
The stacking connector is included and fits many standard conical tubes. The dimensions of the dolly are 1200mm x 600mm. Customised versions are available on request.
Europe - Prolight Concepts Group has added Robolights IWB components to its product portfolio. These modular installation solutions are now in stock and ready to ship directly from the Prolight warehouse.
The new addition “bolsters our product offering in the stage, theatre and installation sectors”, says Prolight.
Robolights’ Julian Baycock comments: “Robolights are delighted that Prolight will be distributing our products, their ethos of holding stock on the shelf for same day dispatch allows installers to access the product range without delay.”
USA/UK - ESTA and PLASA have announced the release of an updated Version 2.0 of the International Code of Practice for Entertainment Rigging (ICOPER), which is available as a free download at www.esta.org/icoper or www.plasa.org/icoper.
Submissions from the international rigging community were received in response to a call for comments in late 2021. The document’s authors, Nick Barnfield (New Zealand), Tiny Good (Australia), Chris Higgs (UK), Ed Kish (United States), Bill Sapsis (United States), and Roy Schilderman (The Netherlands) praised the commentors for their thoughtful consideration and the obvious expertise they brought to the task.
Chris Higgs notes, “Each comment was discussed at length in our zoom calls, which were facilitated by Lori Rubinstein from ESTA. Some comments acted as a catalyst, causing us to rethink and rewrite the language in the code, while in other cases, comments led us to closely examine and reaffirm the existing statements. In my view the industry is aware of our lead and I believe ICOPER is already influencing other codes/working practice so now is the opportunity to get it spot on.”
Tiny Good comments on the process, “Four years down the road from the creation of the original document it was great to come back to it with fresh eyes and re-evaluate the work we had done. It was enjoyable to get back together as a group again, and we quickly found the old working rhythm we developed while crafting the original document. It was nice to see that much of our original content held up over time. All of us were grate
Italy - When Spazio Bizzarro, a red and white big top circus tent in Casatenovo, Milan, launched its latest project In The Air, it turned to BroadWeigh for its load monitoring requirements. The project, which was conceived in 2012, is a cultural sports and social centre, offering annual courses and workshops in contemporary circus and performative arts, including street art, music, theatre and dance.
Nicola Bruni, director of Spazio Bizzarro explains: “We knew we would need a reputable partner for this venture and selected Monkey Rigging to help us devise a rigging structure for our new indoor space, Il Delado. Working with Monkey Rigging’s Andrea Mammolenti, we came up with a solution that would give us a safe system for both the big top and Il Delado - the training spaces for this project.”
Andrea adds: “The challenge was to design a structure for the hangings in the Il Deladospace and verify the general safety of the hangers in the different spaces. It was also important that those using the system understood the importance of correct evaluation in the design phase of the hanging system through the demonstration of how much a performer of aerial disciplines can actually achieve in terms of a dynamic load.”
Andrea recommended the use of BroadWeigh 2.4 wireless load cells to carry out preliminary testing before using the new structure of Il Delado. The kit was also invaluable during a series of three safety events that Monkey Rigging conducted.
“We used 2.4 wireless load cells because, having to deal with ‘live’ loads
UK - When Matt Strigden of SRD Projects was looking for a track solution for a new drama venue at Channing School in Highgate, North London, he turned to Doughty Engineering.
Having worked with the Doughty team for years, Strigden, who heads up the projects department at SRD, knew that they were the right team for the job. He said: “I know Doughty well - the people and the products. I have known sales managers, Dan Phillips and Laurence Dyer for nearly 20 years. Both are extremely helpful whenever I have a design question and are really good at providing the answers we need.”
SRD Projects works across all sorts of sectors; theatres, education, fitness, houses of worship and retail, providing lighting and audio solutions in these spaces and so regularly find themselves turning to Doughty for the right kit. This project at Channing School involved restoring one of the school halls - Founders Hall into a new performance space.
Strigden continues: “The hall had been converted into classrooms about 10 years ago and been used for numerous things including music, drama, PE etc and there was a lot of infrastructure in place that didn’t really work. We had conversations with the school over a period of 18 months to two years and were finally ready to start work when COVID hit, and everything got put on hold.”
The scope of the job was to turn the space into a drama and teaching space, designed so it could be split into two studios with concertina wall folds down the middle and connected to a Dante network so that musicians can play from Founde
UAE - Fantek Industrial, part of the Equipson Group, is playing a key role at Expo Dubai 2020 by supplying all the rigging and structures needed to create audiovisual displays and performance stages in both the Spanish and Angola Pavilions.
The Angola Pavilion pays tribute to its indigenous traditions by taking inspiration from Sona geometry, the ancient art of sand drawing that has been used by generations of its citizens to transfer knowledge. Using interactive spaces and a multimedia show that combines different audiovisual technologies, the Pavilion highlights how traditional wisdom can be used as a starting point to develop innovative solutions to local and global problems. The Angola Pavilion’s central square also features a Fantek stage where leading African artists host daily performances.
Spanish company Eikonos was responsible for designing and installing the Pavilion's technical and audiovisual infrastructure. Project manager, Andrés Aguerri, says: "Having the direct support of the manufacturer from the early stages of the project allowed us to develop customized solutions that undoubtedly make the whole assembly easier."
His view was reinforced by Eikonos head rigger Justin Abio who adds: "As well as Fantek's light and resistant trusses, the company's range of accessories and components allowed us to place each element, each projector and each spotlight in exactly the right place."
Fantek products are also used in the Spanish Pavilion, which highlights sustainability and the historical connection between Spain and the Eastern