Total Structures has announced the addition of Peter Hind to its team in Ventura CA. Hind is a professional structural engineer of some note and has 20 years experience in the entertainment industry. His early experience came with M A Richards and partners of London, and included the engineering of roof systems for the likes of Genesis, Bowie, McCartney and Clapton amongst others. For the past six years he’s been employed by sister company, Total Fabrications, in the UK and has been a significant contributor to the ESTA Technical Standards Committee responsible for writing ANSI standard E1.2 2000 Entertainment Technology Design, Manufacture and Use of Aluminum Truss and Towers Entertainment, as well as contributing to the development of a number of British standards. Last year saw the publication of his book ‘Aluminum Structures in the Entertainment Industry’, the fastest selling of a series published by the Entertainment Technology Press.
Ian Coles, president of Total Structures, told us: "I am delighted that Peter has chosen to join our team. His experience and professional qualifications will undoubtedly contribute to the company’s growing reputation as a leading temporary structures expert. His expertise will not simply be of benefit to the company, as I’m sure he will continue to make a significant contribution to the industry as a whole and will be keen to extend his role within ESTA’s Technical Standards Committee."
Late February, Summit Steel abandoned the typically dull, British weather and took off for Cannes in the South of France. The company was called in by Adam Proto, producer for Turquoise Blue, to rig a party at the Radisson SAS Montfleury Hotel, for Lucent Technologies’ guests, as part of the 3GSM World Congress. Summit’s principal task was to rig large, white, gauze sails between the palm trees around the pool which were to be used as projection screens.
Since there was no flying equipment from roof trusses on this job, this proved to be open air rigging with a difference. "It made a change from climbing roof beams," explained Summit’s Jon Bray. "We actually used the pool-side Palm trees to rig the sails, fixing guy wires and using diverters in the palms to ensure we did not cause any damage. The end result looked great. The sails created an outside auditorium, the perfect backdrop to the stages."
Designed by Philippe Brandt using ‘art’ as the theme, the party also kept Summit busy within the hotel. This included creating a 12m x 10m music lounge using a ground-supported Superlight truss system. The Star Cloth Walls, along with a variety of truss structures supporting the lights and sound, created a unique performance space. The local production manager was Alex Gorman, video imaging by Atomic Arts and lighting design by Andy Gardner, with lights supplied by Arpege Son et Lumière.
S Club 7 have recently completed a UK arena tour. Considering it’s only a matter of months since their last outing, it’s to the band’s credit that they decided to create a whole new image for this tour. The impressive set, designed by Hattie Spice (no relation to the Girls) and co-ordinated by Charlie Kail, included not only a series of lifts and moving elements, but a massive over-audience catwalk. To rig the show, rigging contractors Summit Steel used 220m of James Thomas trussing, along with 55 CM Lodestar hoists. These were used to provide backdrop, side screen, tracking screen and catwalk support trussing, as well as cable bridges and hoists used during daily fit-up for the scenic elements.
Total Fabrications Ltd were called in to manufacture the catwalk deck and handrail to fit the truss structure supplied by Summit Steel. "The catwalk was suspended using 26 Summit hoists fitted with position encoders and our remote load monitoring system," commented Summit’s Jon Bray. "By using QMotion’s K10s computer hoist command system we were able to ensure safe, accurate and repeatable positioning of the catwalk."
A massive 70sq.m LED screen, supplied by XL Video, dominated centre stage, made up of Generale Location 25mm modules. This split in two, with each half moving sideways to form a dramatic upstage entrance. The screen tracking was controlled by QMotion, again supplied through Summit. The system, designed and built by QMotion to Chris Walker of Summit’s specifications, is driven by a QMotion custom tailored &lsqu
PCM is planning to host the first Advanced CM Lodestar Motor Course. This will run on 29 and 30 May at PCM’s HQ in Prenton, Wirral. The Advanced course will be preceded by a standard Motor School, run on 27 and 28 May.
PCM’s John Jones explained the background to the decision: "Whilst everyone benefits from the standard school, some clients who work on motors as their main job, need extra information and guidance in repair procedures and the more advanced principles." The Advanced school is open to anyone who has attended a standard PCM Motor School, and is free of charge. However, for practical reasons, it is restricted to 15 participants to give each individual the chance to work on their own hoists.
This course will be the first advanced Motor School held anywhere in the world. It’s specially designed to offer more comprehensive instruction and experience to those working in-depth with Lodestar Chain Motors. Areas covered will include operational theory, design philosophy, safety aspects, internal workings and trouble shooting methods for Lodestar motors.
Overnight accommodation for the course is co-ordinated by PCM, and includes the option of a great night out for all attendees, courtesy of PCM, where everyone can exchange knowledge and experiences with fellow course members and PCM staff in a relaxed social setting.The Package also includes: Lunches for 2 days; Light refreshments during course hours; All training and instruction materials; Overnight hotel accommodation for £45 a night; Certificate of Attendance.
Trussing manufacturer Slick, part of the Outback Group, has launched a new website at www.trussing.com - featuring full details of the company’s recently-increased product lines. To aid customer service, the new website also includes a ringback facility, which enables customers to receive a telephone call from a member of the Slick team while they browse the site online.
Slick has also recently introduced a brand new catalogue, in which the updated product ranges are divided for the first time into Architectural and Professional ranges - the former for architectural, retail and display applications and the latter for touring and heavier duty exhibition applications.
Following the successful launch of the Dynaglide winches in December, Hall Stage has launched a new range of Grid and General Purpose Pulleys. With safe working loads of up to 500kg, the Dynaline pulleys use a new composite, lubricated nylon sheave design and profile. The range features three diameters - 100mm, 150mm and 200mm - suitable for most stage applications and operations.
All units have shielded ball bearing sets for silent running and the new design allows a customer or specifier to pick any sheave combination with any fixing option. The Dynaline range is available from stock in any of the three sizes, with a safe working load of up to 500kg in the 200mm units - with any sheave/fittings combination.
Star Hire (Event Services) has added a new safety feature to its award-winning VerTech staging system. From now on all of the company’s 20m span and 25m span roofs will be fitted as standard with fall-arrest safety nets.
The new net system is a result of the experience gained on Star Rigging’s successful installation of similar permanent nets on the grid at Wembley Arena. These nets are the preferred choice of the HSE, as a net installation is the only ‘passive’ system that does not require a positive action by workers to remain safe, and the nets also allow for self-rescue in the event of a fall.
The nets meet all relevant British Standards, being fully fire retardant, with a mesh size suitable to pass chain hooks through. Satisfactory installation at each event will be an additional item added to Star Hire’s inspection and hand-over documentation and they will be issuing new guidelines to all users to ensure the highest possible standards of safety. The net is an additional safety feature as all crew working in the roof still require a full harness, both for connection to an inertia reel device to access the roof in the first place and for subsequent work place positioning.
Another important element to Star Hire’s commitment to safety is its annual training programme, undertaken by managing director Maddy Sheals and managers Jake Piper (HRM for VerTech crew) and Graham Thomas (project manager for mobile StarStages). The focus of this year’s training is on crew boss responsibilities on site, which includes health and safety,
The 17th National Heritage Festival at al-Janadriyah (situated just outside Riyadh in Saudi Arabia) was the most successful yet. The cream of British production and design talent ensured that the creative elements of this year’s specially commissioned opera provided an unforgettable wow factor for the 1,000 assembled VIPs from across the Middle East, as the nine scenes of the pageant blended together to form an hour-long spectacular.
Organized by the Kingdom of Saudi, this is one of the most important annual cultural festivals in the Arab calendar. The festival has become a crossroads where poetry, intellect, culture, art, theatre, heritage and history meet, and is a fitting tribute to King Fahd of Saudi Arabia and Crown Prince Abdullah.
The lynchpin this year was the partnership forged by Najdat Anzour, one of the most eminent and creative producer/directors in the Middle East and Christopher George, whose contribution to British TV scenic design has constantly expanded the boundaries of expectation.
The two men first met on a production called ‘Searching for Salah-al-Deen’, a series of 30 one-hour episodes, about the reclamation of the Holy Lands from the occupied forces of the Crusaders, which blended and paralleled 12th century period scenes with the modern day conflict in the Middle East. On that occasion George helped the director by providing various Crusader props and armouries, and designing a giant catapult, which was fabricated in Syria within 10 days.
Anzour had been asked for a number of years to direct Janadriyah, and when he finally
Maltbury has unveiled Metrodeck Ultra, its new lightweight modular staging system. The Ultra is based on Maltbury’s popular mid-weight staging system, Metrodeck, with which it is also fully compatible. The lightest and simplest to assemble of all the Maltbury systems, Metrodeck Ultra is particularly suitable for use by schools, hire companies and in the conference and exhibitions industry.
Weighing a mere 10kg for a 1x1m unit, Metrodeck Ultra consists of a lightweight top, constructed from a speciality ply sandwich board with a foam filling, and a durable aluminium frame. For construction, Velcro straps are used to connect adjacent units, with smaller straps joining the decks and larger ones securing leg to leg connections. In addition, eliminating the need for a spanner, T-bars can be used to secure, by hand, the legs of individual modules. With detachable alloy legs of varying heights, Metrodeck Ultra is a practical staging system: it also comes with a wide range of accessories, including treads, handrails, tier connectors, castors and a selection of surfaces and inter-frame links.
Sheffield company Gripple Ltd expanded both its productivity and its workforce earlier this month when new recruit Chris Middleton came on board as divisional director. The company has recently split into two divisions - agriculture and industry - to cope with increasing demand for Gripple goods. The new role means Chris is responsible for industrial operations, heading up the management and sales of product group Gripple Hang-Fast.
Previously employed as managing director of Rotherham-based Brooke Tools, Middleton brings to Gripple a vast and varied knowledge of the industrial market. He will focus on driving the industrial business into previously untapped sales sectors, maximizing opportunities for the Hang-Fast range.
Following increased demand for its rental products in and around the capital, trussing and staging specialist Litestructures has opened a new hire operation based in Wanstead, East London. Strategically positioned close to the City and the newer docklands venues of Excel and the Arena, the location also allows easy access to the north circular and M25, offering excellent links to the wider region.
The operation is being fronted by Emma Church, who re-joins the company after a two year break, and who has a wealth of product knowledge gained from the three years she spent working at Litestructures’ head office in Wakefield.
The key products available for hire include the Astralite Original 3 truss range, the Litedeck stage units/system and the Litedeck rolling risers, which are proving increasingly popular thanks to the fact that they greatly reduce set-up times at gigs where several bands appear on the same stage. These rolling risers are also very useful during load-ins, doubling as ‘dollies’ for transporting equipment between truck and stage.
Litestructures London can be contacted at Unit 2 Kubrick Business Centre, Station Approach, Wanstead Park, London, E7 0HU, UK. Telephone: +44 208 221 1196.
Alun Edwards has been promoted to take over the responsibility for sales in all areas of TeleStage’s sales activities. The move is part of the continued strategy within the company, which specializes in theatre engineering and control systems, to improve its service and response to clients in all areas of its business. Edwards will be responsible for sales activities at home and overseas, and will work closely with TeleStage's parent company Waagner Biro Buhnentechnik to secure major projects worldwide.
Edwin Shirley Staging (ESS) rounded off the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in a mood not dissimilar to the British Women's Curling team, jubilant. Working with Imagination's New York office ESS produced the Olympic Rendezvous @ Samsung pavilion for one of the Games' main sponsors, Samsung. The two-storey pavilion was created for the Olympic Square site in Salt Lake City for Samsung to use as an Olympic HQ. The building included a visitor experience dedicated to Samsung's products and it also provided recreational facilities for athletes and the public. Imagination estimated 8,500 visitors per day used the facility during the Games and subsequently declared the project a success.
ESS worked closely with Imagination's design team to make the building an integral part of the experience. Both companies have received praise from visitors, members of the Salt Lake City Olympic Organising Committee and the International Olympic Committee, for adding value to the Games. The building, planned to be completed prior to the anticipated snow falls of mid-December 2001, was built in a blizzard as the snow arrived earlier than the forecasters had expected. With the Games now over there is much speculation about the building being re-sited at another destination. Stephen Court of ESS commented: "We started to talk with Imagination's New York team several months ago about incorporating our structures across a whole range of applications. We're delighted that we have jointly produced something so successful this early into the discussions. ESS has a strong relationship with Imaginatio
Kent College, Pembury, is the latest in a long line of educational establishments to recognise the potential of Maltbury's Metrodeck, having recently bought 68 units of the versatile staging system towards the conversion of the main hall into a £1m state-of-the-art theatre facility intended for use by Kent College and the local community. Working closely with Philip Sparkes, managing director of Maltbury, was Chris Hinks, bursar of Kent College. According to Hinks, the decision to use Maltbury staging was based on a number of factors: "I have read several articles about the company and its various installations and I know that it has an excellent reputation for top quality service and products. Having used Maltbury before, I am aware of the wide range of staging systems it has, which meant it was able to offer me a bespoke solution to my brief."
For the multi-purpose complex, Maltbury was briefed to equip the hall with staging components that will enable the venue to be used as a theatre or as an open area for exhibitions and events. To meet the brief, Maltbury customised the staging modules to create maple tongue-and-groove topped decks, which cover the orchestra pit, blending in with the surrounding floor. When the pit is open, carpeted decks create tiers inside it and additional standard painted decks can be used elsewhere.
On Tuesday 19 March, students of the college are marking the opening of the facility, which will be known as The Judi Dench Theatre, with a Royal Gala Performance of the musical Camelot. The show will be attended by their Royal H
Autograph Sales Ltd, the European distributor for ATM Fly-Ware, has had an active few months supplying loudspeaker flying hardware systems across the continent, to rental companies as well as a selection of loudspeaker manufacturers. Show Presentation Services in the UK, and Letusa in Spain are eminent rental companies in their own field and devoted ATM Fly-Ware users. Both companies have recently purchased product from the highly-acclaimed MEGS series of loudspeaker flying hardware. The MEGS series is ATM's answer to a standard side-mounted loudspeaker flying system. It is ideally suited for large-sized loudspeakers and clusters, but works equally well in smaller applications.
Wema Elektronik, Kling & Freitag, Fohhn Audio and GAE are all European loudspeaker manufacturers who have also purchased product from the MEGS series. Mackie, who now manufacture EAW loudspeakers, have been purchasing the ATM AF series track fittings from Autograph Sales, which are used on the current range of EAW loudspeaker cabinets. The latest ATM news from the UK, is the use of a rather large ATM Fly Ware system at the latest Les Misérables Belfast Concert. This was the first time Autograph's sister rental company, Autograph Sound Recording, have used an ATM hardware system of this size and tested it rigorously for its flexibility, at their HQ in North London before sending it to Belfast's new Odyssey indoor arena. The tests proved to be most satisfactory and the concerts a resounding success, say Autograph.
The newest property in Las Vegas, the Palms Hotel and Casino, celebrated its grand opening 15 November 2001. The 265 million dollar property with 447 rooms in the 42-story hotel tower is also home to one of the hottest new nightclubs: Rain in the Desert. This multi-level nightclub/concert venue consists of an array of special effects and custom equipment made possible in part by Tomcat USA and Kelly Communications. From the private booths with water sofas and skyboxes with private balconies to the lagoon-shaped dancefloor, Rain has been a big hit with locals and tourists alike. Lavish special effects throughout the club include intelligent lighting and an amazing play of water, fog and pyrotechnics. A state-of-the-art lighting rig contains a computerized intelligent lighting system, as well as the means to create effects like fog, haze, 16ft fire plumes and 3ft fireballs. Above the dance floor sit two concentric truss circles with 17ft and 10ft diameters. They incorporate 20ft rotating wing trusses attached through custom ‘hub’ blocks. The ‘hub’ blocks incorporate motor drive to rotate the rounded wing trusses. All the equipment is rigged with high-speed Columbus McKinnon chain hoists and controlled by the first permanent installation in the US of a batalpha modular control. The wing trusses are capable of traversing the room at incredible speeds and a computer-programmed river of water surrounds the bamboo dance floor with multiple features including dancing jets and fountains - a truly unique experience.
Star Hire (Event Services) Ltd has been awarded the contract to provide all of the technical facilities for the evening celebrations throughout the Queen’s Jubilee Baton Relay. The Baton Relay is scheduled to visit 500 towns in 50 days with the last town on each day hosting an evening celebration; culminating in the final show being the opening ceremony of the Manchester 2002 Commonwealth Games.
Having been selected from 23 competing tenders, Star Hire has been contracted to provide their Mobile 11-09 StarStage along with video screen, sound, lights and power. They will also be responsible for the design, manufacture and fitting of all branded imagery on the stage and all the associated vehicles. "The logistics of setting up 50 events consecutively is challenging but not unfamiliar territory," said Star Hire’s technical director Roger Barrett. "The combination of the fast set up times of the mobile stage, modern production equipment and the logistical expertise of our trained crews mean that both ourselves and the organisers are confident this will be a successful series of events."
A similar relay was held in Australia before the Olympic Games but nothing like it has been attempted in the UK before. Roger Barrett, Star Hire’s technical director said: "We are delighted to have been awarded this contract. It seems that Star Hire was the only company that actually owned the hardware and had the in-house management and service support to fulfil the tender requirements."
Built in 1805 as stables for the Prince of Wales, the Brighton Dome has since established itself, in conjunction with the Corn Exchange and the Pavilion Theatre, as one of the country’s leading music venues. But for the last three years it has been in the dark, during which time it has been entirely gutted, undergone a £22m refurbishment programme. The refurbishment has equipped the venue with an adjustable stage area, increased storage space, improved front of house facilities, additional seating and a state-of-the-art acoustic system, together with four different sets of lighting and sound.
Technical Planning International, the consultants responsible for the stage engineering during the refurbishment, commissioned Centre Stage Engineering and Delstar Engineering to handle the overstage and understage developments respectively. Motion control specialist AVW Controls was sub-contracted by Delstar to design and install all the understage control systems. A new orchestra elevator provides the Dome with greater flexibility than ever before. Driven by a Serapid chain, it can be used at a number of levels via programmable controls from AVW. Unusually for a specialist stage contractor, AVW was responsible for all the electrical containment of the elevator, as well as the electrical installation and commissioning. The choir riser also provides the facility to augment the stage. When deployed this is tiered and forms seating for a 50-strong choir; in order to create a larger stage area, Delstar designed, built and installed it so that the motorised seating folds up agains
Stagetec is supplying a custom-built show relay and paging system for the prestigious new state-of-the-art Laban contemporary dance centre on Deptford Creek. The £22 million project is due for completion in autumn this year, and will be the largest purpose-built contemporary dance centre in the world. The huge 7,800sq.m building, designed by architects Herzog & de Meuron, includes 12 dance studios and a 300-seat theatre. There’s also a community studio/meeting room for local schools and community groups - a media information resource centre, 100-seat lecture theatre, café and public gardens.
The project specification was put together by theatre consultants Carr & Angier, with whom Stagetec have worked on numerous other projects around the country. For Stagetec, the Laban project involves the supply and installation of the equipment, plus the design of the system and project management, including liaising with other contractors, producing working drawings and a complete set of operation and maintenance manuals. The Stagetec installation incorporates 14 speakers mounted around the building, which are fed from three paging points via a switching matrix. The system incorporates show relay and background music from a Marantz CC3000 multiplay CD machine.
Stagetec is also supplying components of the show relay CCTV system including a camera pointing at the stage and monitor mounted on the stage manager’s desk. A video distribution amplifier enables the signal to be patched from here to other locations around the building, so the show can be recorded or additional
Vertigo Rigging - specialist in the art of events and entertainment rigging – has now completed on its new, larger, high-tech premises in Deptford, London. Sited between Surrey Quays and Greenwich, Deptford is ideal for accessing central London and the West End. The premises consist of 14,500sq.ft of purpose-built warehousing. Vertigo has specially designed offices for project management and administration, and staff amenities have been given a priority, to account for the ever-increasing requirement for the provision of out-of-hours rigging services.
Vertigo Rigging director Rebecca Loughran is delighted with the new premises, and comments: "We now have the capacity to expand our equipment inventory and hold the largest stock of quality truss, motors and associated rigging in the UK. This will allow us to offer clients more choice and flexibility in the world of increasingly competitive tendering."
As from 15 April, the company’s contact details will be:
Vertigo Rigging, Unit 1 Deptford Trading Estate, Blackhorse Road, Deptford, LondonSE8 3HY
Tel: 07071 2000 99
Fax: 07071 2000 77
A new face on the international trade show circuit is Le Mark's Rebecca Lace. She has joined the company as project manager with the task of expanding sales and the product profile of Le Mark’s reusable PAL Roadcase Label and accessory range within the US. One of Rebecca’s first outings came at the recent NAMM show held at the Anaheim (Los Angeles) Convention Centre in January, where Le Mark shared a stand with Penn Fabrication.
Penn has developed a unique range of steel dishes for Le Mark's label range. The dish can be specified by clients and can be built in as original equipment for all new roadcases. It is available on a worldwide basis through Penn and its extensive Dealer network.
Marking 10 years of in-depth industry training courses, another successful Hoist and Rigging Workshop was recently hosted by Tomcat USA in Midland, Texas. Leading instructors were joined by nearly 50 industry professional participants from all over the United States and Mexico.
Instructor, Don Dimitroff from Columbus McKinnon, as well as Tomcat’s own Dave Beard, worked participants through the Lodestar electric chain hoist. Rocky Paulson of Stage Rigging and Morgan Neff of Mine Safety Appliances stressed safety in rigging techniques and fall protection equipment while Keith Bohn, Tomcat design manager, wrapped up with truss theory and design. Participants were treated to not only four days of informative classes, but also four nights of fun and the traditional factory night at Tomcat USA with extensive tours, demonstrations, contests and a graduation ceremony.
Show Presentation Services has appointed Tim Brewster as its new head of scenic construction, following a review of operations taken in January this year. Brewster joins SPS after working with Set and Stage for three years as a project manager, following 11 years as construction director for Lewis Productions. During his career, Brewster has worked on staging and sets for a huge variety of shows from the Conservative Party Conference and trade union events to exhibitions in Azerbaijan.
He first became interested in set design and construction after building Doctor Who sets, amongst others, for the BBC following a five year apprenticeship as a pattern maker for British Aerospace. "This is a challenging role," said Brewster. "My focus is to integrate our scenic business fully into the rest of the company and to raise the department profile both internally and externally." SPS's scenic construction department achieved business growth of 241% in 2000-2001, confirming its position as one of the leading independent AV rental and staging companies in the UK.
Blackout Triple E recently supplied two striking theatrical backdrops for the St. James’s Place Group’s one day annual company meeting held at The Royal Albert Hall. Attended by nearly 2,500 employees, the event successfully fused the annual meeting with St. James’s Place’ tenth anniversary celebrations.
Blackout Triple E’s creative team worked closely with the show producers Creating Sunshine, to realize the creative effect of the complex stage design. A stunning 16 x 6 metre fine grey gauze drape was custom designed, manufactured and hand painted at Blackout’s South London facility, to work as a semi-opaque screen in the foreground. This also provided a canvas onto which a light show, designed by Quentin Jarman, was projected from both sides. In addition Blackout supplied 30 metres of starcloth as the backdrop to achieve a galaxy-like effect.