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.
New features of the latest version of the rental management software package include a whole set of new clear icons, built-in support for backup and restore of data and reports, saving of the last used sort-order and sorted column in all List-tabs and Finder-windows, a new facility for multiple contacts per company, default country and telephone settings and much more.
For a full run-down of all the latest features from RMS22, visit the company website at the address below.
As Star Hire (Event Services) Limited celebrates its 25th Anniversary, the staging and engineering support company is expanding to accommodate a full events diary for 2002.
Recent projects, which included supplying stages for numerous New Year’s Eve celebrations across the country, several media company shows and major international events, have led the company to expand its business. "We have experienced an ever-increasing demand for our specialized engineering and staging expertise from music promoters, media companies and event management companies," said technical director, Roger Barrett. "I am delighted that as events in general have become more professional with regards to safety and quality, the depth of skills and knowledge throughout the team at Star Hire is standing us in good stead."
As the summer approaches, Star Hire’s itinerary already indicates that this is going to be their busiest year; the line up of projects includes the provision of mobile stages for the Queen’s Jubilee Baton Relay which is why the company is currently looking to recruit new staff.
The Met Arts Centre in Manchester, one of a rich selection of theatres and music halls in the city, has had a new staging system fitted in its main theatre. As a variety of musical events take place in the main theatre, ranging from large-scale orchestral concerts and the famous Blues Festival to children's days, the staging had to be as multi-purpose as the hall itself, not to mention suitable for outside use also.
Maltbury supplied 25 Ambideck staging units with legs to variable heights, measuring 32 x 24ft. With variable leg height, the staging can be easily raised and lowered to suit a variety of needs and with ramp access to the rear of the stage, people with disabilities will be able to enjoy the theatre's facilities.
There’s no doubt that S Club 7’s second UK tour will be highly successful, thanks to the expertise of Summit Steel, who were called in by CV Production’s Chris Vaughan, the tour’s production manager.
"As with all things, the key to success lies in good forward planning and design. The rigging design involved a great deal of CAD drawing," said Summit Steel’s Chris Walker. "Having been awarded the contract on 1 November, by the time the tour went into rehearsal on Jan 10, we were already working with draft 8 of the rigging plot. Our extensive touring experience allowed us to co-ordinate all the rigging information from the tour’s various designers and suppliers," continued Walker. "We then liaised extensively with all the venues and their house rigging contractors to ensure that load-ins would run smoothly."
To rig the show, Summit 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. "From an early stage, Total Fabrications and Summit worked closely together to produce an excellent result that is safe, looks great and is easy to tour and rig," commented Charlie Kail, the set construction co-ordinator.
"The catwalk is suspended using 26 Summit hoists fitted wit
Ashwin Shah, chairman of the Myriad Group, has announced that, as part of the recent re-structuring of the Group, Richard Crowe has been appointed managing director of its Creative Staging subsidiary. Crowe, who was previously the sales and marketing director of the company, has been with Creative Staging for the past seven years, working in senior positions in the AV presentation industry since 1978. As well as fulfilling a full-time role at Creative Staging, Crowe will also play an active part in the future development of the whole Myriad Group. The Group recently restructured its nine business areas under the four main names of Myriad, Creative Staging, MAP and Visual Systems, offering a range of services for AV and IT communication and presentation.
South London-based Blackout Triple E, specialists in the design and manufacture of drapes, starcloths, tracking and production rigging equipment, has recently appointed Warren Connolly as hire and sales manager. He joins the busy rental department with 15 years’ sales and marketing experience, and will be promoting the company’s extensive product portfolio and range of production services to new and existing clients.
Warren will be liaising with producers, production companies and event organisers from the early planning stages of a project. He will be presenting creative and practical solutions for the most challenging special events, theatre productions, exhibitions, installations and conferences. Working closely with the company’s in house design, project management and technical support teams, he will help transform the most complex needs and ideas into reality. Warren Connelly explained: "I’m delighted to join Blackout Triple E. Having previously worked within blue chip organisations, I’m particularly impressed with their committed approach and with the team spirit that permeates the company. I’m looking forward to channelling my marketing experience into expanding Blackout Triple E’s market share."
At the end of last year, Maltbury Ltd moved to new offices in Brighton. Since 1995, the staging specialist has supplied its popular range of demountable staging systems to a wide array of organizations and venues including theatres, schools, arenas, film and TV studios and concert halls. With products ranging from the lightweight Aerodeck, versatile Metrodeck and Ambideck to Steeldeck 7.5, currently the strongest demountable staging system on the market, Maltbury also offers a bespoke service and an impressive range of accessories to complement its staging systems.
To coincide with the move to new premises, managing director Philip Sparkes has re-launched the company’s website, which is now easier to navigate and more user friendly. The improved site also gives better access to a wide range of the most up-to-date Maltbury press releases and, complementing the website, the new look will now be used in all corporate material.
The move came at the end of a busy year for the company: during 2001 it provided staging for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, The Budweiser House Party, St. Johns College School, Cambridge, BITE: 01 at the Barbican and The Met Arts Centre, Manchester.
The new address is 11 Hollingbury Terrace, Brighton BN1 7JE. Tel: +44 (0) 845 130 8881.
The Royal Festival Hall production team gave blood, sweat and tears to stage the 2001 festive ballet season, featuring the renowned Moscow Stanislavky Ballet.
The team, led by head of production Nigel March, and in collaboration with the venue’s riggers Vertigo Rigging, transformed the concert hall into a proscenium arch theatre, with all the expected rigging and flying facilities, ready to stage The Snow Maiden and Swan Lake.
This was the most ambitious set and lighting design ever staged at the South Bank, as well as one of the tightest timeframes. The initial task of the Vertigo team, headed by Paddy Burnside, was to install an 18 x 12 metre mother grid in the roof of the Hall. Below this was hung a trussing sub-grid to hold all the lighting and scenery bars and tab tracks. Because the changeover between shows was so tight, scenery and cloths for both had to be rigged at the outset - leaving just 40mm between each bar!
Vertigo also built a fly gallery off to stage right, and two over-stage followspot positions. The orchestra pit was created by adding an 8ft thrust to the front of stage and removing six rows of seats. This created a space just large enough to accommodate the 36-piece Stanislavsky orchestra. To enable a 40ft x 40ft dance platform to be installed for the performers, at a stage height of 7ft, the hall’s upstage choir stalls were removed. The pros arch was constructed from trussing and clad with flats and drapes. Lighting design (by Ildar Bederdimov for The Snow Maiden and Anatoli Remizov for Swan Lake, operated by James Tapping) uses much
Devon-based rock trio Muse appeared at a wide variety of UK and European venues at the tail end of 2001; Mike Mann saw them in the cavernous London Docklands Arena.
Lighting designer Oli Metcalf has seen his system squeezed into small clubs and stretched to fill a full arena stage - and has managed to keep the CAV-supplied rig intact along the way. Metcalf is using CAV for the first time, a decision, prompted by their stock of up-to-date High End product. "I’m using 16 Studio Color washlights and the same number of Studio Spot CMYs," he revealed. There are also 14 AF1000 strobes in his design and a quartet of modified Cyberlight Turbos - their rear cable entries have been removed to allow them to stand vertically under four fabric cones which form an important part of the set. "CAV seemed to have all the new High End kit I needed, and they had no problem with me wanting to work with my usual crew," said Metcalf, who also brought in Total Fabrications to build top plates for his truss towers, allowing moving lights to be attached to a standard length of well-secured barrel.
To drive the Pars, ACLs and Source Four profiles, Metcalf specified 72 channels of Avolites ART 4000 dimmers. "They have an amazing DMX response time," he said, adding that his console of choice was the Avo Sapphire 2000. "It’s a very busy show - it’s all about timing - so a quick response is really important." Metcalf’s system shared projection screens with a fast-moving video design, necessitating accurate focusing and luminance control
Tomcat UK has announced that they are now stocking an increased range of Columbus McKinnon Prostar electric theatrical chain hoists. The popular lower capacity hoist range, which already included 136kg and 272kg s.w.l. models are now complemented by 226kg and 452kg s.w.l. units. The new models have the same features as the original versions and also boast the extra capacity without an increase in external size. A variety of different speeds and voltage options are available, including extra fast 10m/min versions. The products are available directly from Tomcat UK or from any of the company’s UK and European distributors.
Hall Stage has announced the launch of the brand new DynaGlide winch range. The range includes a new concept in 'semi-manual' winches, the DGM system, which provides working loads up to 1000kg, can be driven manually or with an electric hand-drill via a secondary gearbox input, saving time and a lot of effort! The DGH curtain winches now come with a variable speed control system as standard. Full data sheets are available for all products in the range now and will also be available in .pdf format on the Harkness Hall website soon.
CIE-Audio has been appointed exclusive UK distributor for the newly launched ‘Euromet’ range of professional stands, trussing and audio/lighting hardware. The new product range is CIE-Audio’s latest move in its plans to develop a new ‘leisure-based’ music range which will complement CIE-Group’s existing portfolio of integrated product solutions (currently comprising installed sound, data & telecommunications and CCTV & security).
Chris Edwards, CIE-Group marketing manager told us: "These new products will give our existing customers a complete hardware range, from audio and lighting stands, brackets and fittings, to staging and event technology such as trussing and portable staging. Euromet will also form a vital part of our new ‘leisure’ product range, which will see CIE-Audio moving further into the AV, events and lighting markets over the next 12 months."
CIE-Audio’s leisure range already includes a whole host of new amplification and music processing products from Inter-M, the Wharfedale ‘Pro’ loudspeaker range and a number of new NXT-based flat panel speaker products from Amina.
All eyes were on Frankfurt this December where the 'For The Troops MTV-USO Show' was held, giving German-based American military personnel the opportunity to let their hair down in an evening of music and entertainment. Held in an aircraft hanger, the high profile event included acts such as J-Lo and Kid Rock.
Blackout Triple E was commissioned by Field Services to supply a three-dimensional American flag, two drapes painted with the MTV-USO logo and a white filled cloth Kabuki drop for this event, with project manager Tom Lambert working in conjunction with designer Mark Fisher to create the striking 3D flag. As the centrepiece for the event, the three-dimensional version of the Stars and Stripes was hung from a grid measuring 9.3m x 3.4m. An 8.4m white gauze drape created the background to the flag and was fronted by seven individual red cloth stripes, each of which was rigged on curved tube to form a wave and hung independently of the trussing. To complete the 3D effect, 50 white MDF stars were hung at an angle in front of a blue backdrop.
PCM supplied leading rigging rental company Outback Rigging Ltd with special FX Star high-speed Lodestar motors to lift the central rear LED screen at the recent Smash Hits Poll Winners extravaganza at the London Arena. The screen - over 5 tonnes of Screenco 15 mm pixel pitch modules measuring 11.4 metres wide by 7.2 metres high - was a vital part of the stunning set designed by Bill Lazlett.
It showed video playback and live camera action, but also allowed for quick between-band changes by raising and lowering very rapidly. The hire to Outback is the first of PCM's new Motion Control division, which has been set up to serve all the rigging rental companies, and carries a stock of non-standard equipment, available for specialist requirements.
PCM's John Jones explains that the decision to launch the division was to "Explore other areas of the market, and also to help our clients to do things they can't normally do, equipment-wise, at the moment." He says that there's not currently the demand for any one company to keep a full range of non-standard gear. Now they can come to PCM and have easy access to the technology as and when they need it for special projects.
For Smash Hits, Outback hired eight Columbus McKinnon FX Star motors which are variable speed with ramped start and stop, and a top velocity of 12 meters a minute. The FX Stars also offer all the strict German VBG Standard safety features, including a double safety braking system, special overload protection and load sensing. PCM has devised and built a computer control system for the FX Star motors,
PCM, the company responsible for establishing the Columbus McKinnon Lodestar electric chain hoist at the forefront of the UK and European professional entertainment and touring industry, has formed a new division to handle the installation of set piece equipment on special projects. Heading up the division is Tony Griffiths, formerly with Harkness Hall, who joined the company in October.
Visual act, winner of both Awards for Product Excellence in Stage Engineering at PLASA 2001, will present their stage wagons at showcases in Oslo on 23 January, 2002 and in Amsterdam on 8 February, 2002. Anyone interested in attending either of these showcases should submit their interest to Jim Fainberg at firstname.lastname@example.org before 17 January for Oslo and 30 January for Amsterdam.
For more details, including product information, technical specifications and pictures of the company’s award-winning products, visit the Visual act website at the address below.
The Entech 2002 Conference program features workshops and seminars in areas of lighting, design, rigging, audio, projection and even the business needs of a DJ. Sessions includeIntroducing the Line Array; The Future of Systems Integration and ProAV Technology; Venue Design Forum; Digital Live Sound Mixing; Lighting Designer Forum; Rigging Workshop; Stacks and Racks; Motor Training School; Location Sound Recording; Trends in Facilities; The Art of Designing with Moving Lights; We Are Surrounded (Surround Sound); and The Changing Face of Post Production.
Entech 2002, Australasia’s leading entertainment technology trade show, will be held in Sydney’s Darling Harbour from 4-6 February 2002. For further details on the conference programme and exhibits, visit the web address below:
Trussing, aluminium and ground support specialists James Thomas Engineering has designed an integrated Trussing module - on its safe use and handling - for PCM's renowned Lodestar two-day Motor School. An extended version of the trussing module is also run at PCM's five-day-Rigging School. James Thomas's Trussing course was devised by project manager Paul Young, who says: "There's more than meets the eye with trussing and its associated safety issues, and also the wider ones generally across in the rigging industry. Anyone interested in furthering their knowledge of motors and rigging also needs to know all about trussing. People are often surprised at the complexity of the subject!"
Like the Motor School, the Trussing module is presented in a hands-on, practical manner. For the two-day Motor School - run free of charge by PCM - the Trussing section takes up half a day. At the longer five-day Rigging School, it occupies a full day and includes a practical session. Here students have the opportunity of getting their hands dirty and assembling and disassembling a full ground support system and a box truss from start to finish. JTE's course provides a comprehensive overview of the trussing manufacturing process and the options, materials and manufacturing methods available. It will familiarize owners, users and specifiers of trussing with the different choices for the application, and also covers the make up, design philosophy, operational theory and safety aspects of the products. Trouble-shooting is also discussed.
Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone has already received great critical and popular acclaim and is expected to become the biggest grossing film ever for Time Warner. Vertigo Rigging, Spirit Design and Fourth Phase were amongst those who helped supply the magic for the recent World Première at London’s famous Odeon Cinema, Leicester Square.
Vertigo, working for production company West Design, show producer Lucy Smail and production manager Andy Cheesman, transformed the front of the building into Hogwarts School of Wizardry & Witchcraft for the evening of 4 November.
With a seven-day get in, the event required over 22 tonnes of equipment, 12 tonnes of which was hung off the side of the building - representing a huge logistical and practical challenge for Vertigo. Work began on 29 October, when project manager Paddy Burnside and his team of riggers supervised a 60 tonne crane to lift over 10 tonnes of pre-built RMD (prefabricated Rapid Metal Decking) superstructure onto the roof of the Odeon.
The superstructure’s purpose was to support two sections of truss framework - the lower main roof - measuring 22m wide by 8.5m deep, and the tower section - 8m wide by 31 metres high. The tower section of superstructure was anchored to its own two top floors using six M20 studding rods, drilled through the floors for maximum stability. The next four days were spent installing the truss and attaching the set to it. The trussing statistics were equally impressive - with a total of 190m of 52cm Thomas Supertruss and 200m of Thomas Superlite used. The 52cm form
Stage Technologies has announced its decision to become Gold sponsor for the forthcoming international conference on Theatre Engineering and Architecture 2002 taking take place in London next June. The theatre event of 2002 will examine technology and architecture for the performing arts. Presented in a hotel venue in London's Theatreland, the conference will bring together theatre technicians, architects, consultants, scenographers, lighting designers, stage and building services engineers, acousticians, fire prevention specialists as well as building owners, cost consultants, new clients and project managers.
The conference will be followed by the ABTT Theatre Show. Stage Technologies' commercial director Nikki Scott said: "We are delighted to sponsor this landmark international event. It is an important opportunity to discuss with industry colleagues and theatre professionals the issues which exist today and to develop a vision for the future. Stage engineering continues to benefit enormously from technological advances and we must work together to ensure that the improved facilities these advances provide become accessible to the theatre world as a whole."
OPTI, the lighting effects and trussing supplier, has appointed Idunn Rodziewicz to its domestic sales team as regional sales manager. Rodziewicz brings with her 17 years of experience in the retail and exhibition market with Marler Haley. OPTI chairman Neil Rice told PLASA Media: "We're very pleased to have her on board. She has a great track record with clients here in the UK and internationally, as well as the experience to identify what they need and how to provide it."
Rodziewicz will initially concentrate on the OPTI Trilite side of the business, cementing links with clients across the retail and exhibition markets. She commented: "I'm really looking forward to it. OPTI is a leader in its field, and has great products as well as a fantastic range of support services. I think a lot of our clients, new and existing, are going to be pleasantly surprised at what OPTI can offer them."
The Monte Carlo Ballet is set to take on a new choreographic adventure, La Belle. Created to the music of Tchaikovsky, La Belle has an exceptional artistic team, put together by Scena Productions. Scena has become a regular client of AVW Controls, most recently on a project for Aston Martin in Tokyo where AVW was commissioned to work on two areas of the show. In rehearsal throughout November and December before hitting the stage for a tour beginning 27 December 2001, La Belle requires six motorized rotating doors, three on each side of the stage plus a radio-controlled stage truck.
AVW has created similar designs before, including a radio-controlled birthday cake and washing machine for a Ray Cooney farce at the Whitehall Theatre some years ago, plus the boat in Phantom of the Opera. AVW Controls has also taken over the maintenance of scenery control for Phantom at Her Majesty's Theatre in London. Having worked on the show in Holland, Switzerland and London, managing director Anton Woodward and AVW project manager John McBryde, who previously worked as chief electrician at Her Majesty's Theatre, ensured the smooth-running of what has become the most successful musical ever produced. Grossing more than $3 billion worldwide and still rising, Phantom features some strikingly melodramatic effects, including the famous falling of the chandelier, and, having premiered in 1986, the show continues to play to packed houses in London's West End.
And from Monte Carlo to Rochdale. At the beginning of November, on behalf of PMC Stage Service