Rigging and Staging News

Tomcat's Money Spinner
Wednesday, 4 October 2000

Motor chain bags has been put to many good uses over the years, but it was deposits of a different kind that poured into the chain bag hung out on the joint Tomcat/Brilliant Stages stand at this year's PLASA exhibition. Visitors drawn to the stand by the stunning 'Whirly-Gig' spinning truss effect were asked to make a contribution to the fund in return for a Tomcat lanyard. The sister companies raised £175 on behalf of the PSA Welfare and Benevolent Fund. On the final day of the show Tomcat UK general manager, Adrian Forbes-Black, handed over the collection to Brian Croft of VLPS, chairman of the fund's Trustees. Forbes-Black commented: "Each year we give away thousands of lanyards on the trade show circuit. By asking for donations on this occasion, I hope we have helped to raise the profile of the Welfare and Benevolent fund. We certainly raised a few quid, not to mention a few eyebrows along the way!"

Tomcat Wins NEC Trussing Contract
Tuesday, 3 October 2000

Tomcat UK won the contract to supply over 300 sections of aluminium trussing to the NEC Rigging Department, which will be used initially for the Motor Show. With a very demanding schedule, the company was required to supply over 100 Medium Duty truss sections each week for the first three weeks of August. To meet the requirements, two teams of welders worked in a US-style shift pattern - ideal for processing volume orders - at the company's Wirral base, under the guidance of production manager Trevor Abbott. Tomcat UK's general manager Adrian Forbes-Black visited the NEC in June, when he was shown modifications underway to expand the capacity of the rigging department workshops, which included the construction of a mezzanine floor to accommodate the Tomcat products. However, the equipment is unlikely to gather dust, as aside from its own busy schedule, the NEC also operates a dry hire service, which has seen their equipment taken as far afield as Dubai and Jordan.

Prolyte Party
Thursday, 28 September 2000

On the Monday of the PLASA Show, Prolyte held one of its now legendary PLASA parties. However, this year the event had a much more celebratory feel as it marked the launch of Prolyte's UK Dealer Network which led to much revelry, and not a little over indulgence (not only from the Prolyte crew). Representatives from 12 of the UK dealer companies attended the party, taking the opportunity to meet, for the first time, members of Prolyte's technical and sales departments, all of whom had been flown in from Holland especially for the event. A large number of Prolyte's worldwide distributors were also present.

ESS Announces Joint Venture with Orbit UK
Monday, 25 September 2000

Edwin Shirley Staging (ESS), the international staging and structure specialists, has bought a 50% share in the entertainment staging company Orbit (UK) Services Ltd. Paul Ladd, the founder of Orbit (UK), will continue as managing director of what will be known as ESS Orbit. This joint venture expands ESS' existing business, meaning it will now be able to service client demands for structures and staging equipment of all sizes. Customers will benefit from access to a wider variety of products. Commenting on the joint venture, Tim Norman, managing director, ESS Holdings, told PLASA Publishing: "Our joint venture with Orbit UK brings together two like-minded companies focused on delivering value for money, and the efficient supply of quality products and services. We will now be able to meet all our customers' needs for large and small structures alike. We are also pleased to be working with Paul and all the staff at Orbit (UK) to develop the business further."

New Sales Partner for Batalpha
Friday, 8 September 2000

Tomcat USA has become the exclusive distributor of Batalpha Bobach's Modular Control System in the US. The move follows a meeting between Tomcat CEO John James and Batalpha MD Lars Bobach which will see Tomcat handling the company's range of theatre automation systems.

ESTA Publishes its Second Standard
Tuesday, 5 September 2000

The American National Standards Institute has accepted the ESTA Technical Standards Program's standard for aluminium trusses and towers as an American standard. ANSI E1.2-2000, describes the design, manufacture and use of aluminium trusses, towers and associated aluminium structural components such as head blocks, sleeve blocks, bases and corner blocks. It does not cover individual, separate rigging hardware such as ½ couplers and shackles. E1.2 was one of the many projects of the Rigging Working Group which is also working on standards for manually powered and motorised rigging systems, stage house and structural requirements, flying performers, speaker enclosures.

Summit Moves Mountains
Friday, 11 August 2000

On July 1st, Summit Steel left town and relocated from London to new premises near Maidstone, Kent. Company director Jon Bray explained that as a result of the expanding business and the need for a larger distribution centre it was the only sensible option. "The increase in our company activity over the past couple of years led to the need for more storage space for the range of truss and rigging equipment we supply to the industry." However, although the company has chosen to move 'out of town', it will continue to provide a 'London-based' service for its dry hire customers. The new Kent warehouse will be used to supply all Summit's equipment, and is the dispatch point for major productions. The new warehouse capacity is four times greater than the London base, which facilitates faster servicing and turn around of gear.

Swing Wing from Tomcat
Friday, 11 August 2000

Following on from the success of the ABTT award-winning Trolley Truss, Tomcat (UK) Ltd, has launched Swing-Wing, the latest trussing technology to satisfy the concert to theatre crossover market. A lightweight, modular and portable trussing system, Swing-Wing offers increased efficiency in the fit-up and transportation of stage lighting and associated equipment. Once flown in position this dual function product transforms to create a safe focus platform, and leaves the stage below clear of cases or dollies. On first inspection Swing-Wing resembles conventional pre-rig trussing: the lamps are mounted high inside the truss, protected from the rigours of transportation. The sections are wheeled from truck to stage on integral castors and pinned together. Swing-Wing uses a spigoted connection, for optimum strength and speed of assembly. Once supported at working height, the side faces of each section of Swing-Wing are swung vertically through 180 degrees, and held rigid in this new upright position with a pair of snap braces. This simultaneously reveals the lighting fixtures within, and forms a safe working platform with handrails.

Seelite Technical Courses
Friday, 11 August 2000

Seelite has organised a series of workshops. The first covers the fundamentals of the software programme WYSIWYG. Lars Nissen and Leif Hellberg will introduce participants to WYSIWYG demonstrating how it was used on earlier projects such as the Danish Eurovision Song Contest 2000 and the Danish Grammys 2000. The briefings will take place in Aarhus on Tuesday 3 and Wednesday 4 October and in Copenhagen on Monday 9 and Tuesday 10 October. The company is also organising a rigging course, led by Martin Svane and Martin Corneliussen. Participants will become acquainted with subjects such as suspension of equipment, personal safety, choice and use of gear, and, finally, use of truss systems. The course is mainly theoretical, but includes a few practical features. This takes place on Copenhagen on Wenesday 1 November and Aarhus on Monday 2 November.

Total Puts Roof Over Masayoshi's Head
Thursday, 10 August 2000

US-based Total Structures recently delivered and commissioned a 135ft (40m) x 60ft (18m) stage roof and sound wing structure to Kanai Scene Shop, its Japanese distributor. The roof, which has a trim height of 60ft (18m) and a load capacity of 70000lbs (32000kg), was immediately used for a seven-date sell-out tour for the renowned Japanese artist Yamazaki Masayoshi, with each show attracting audiences of around 30000. The purchase of the roof represents the latest step in Kanai's huge commitment to the modern show and theatre market. Kanai has over 100 years of experience in set design and manufacture for the national Kabuki.

Numbers Change at PLASA Publishing
Friday, 4 August 2000

Our telephone numbers at PLASA Publishing have changed. The old number - 01323 642639- has now been replaced by a new number - 01323 418400. Callers to the old number will, for the time being, be redirected to the new one automatically. The PLASA office number remains 01323 410335, although each member of staff at head office will now also have a direct line. The fax number for the entire office - 01323 646905 - remains unchanged.

Star Hire Joins the Love Parade
Friday, 21 July 2000

Star Hire (Event Services) supplied two mobile stages to the Love Parade, the UK's biggest dance event this summer, attended by 250,000 people and held at Leeds' Roundhay Park. Production company Logistik turned to Star Hire for their staging requirements. Logistik's Dirk Mishendahl had worked with Star Hire previously, and knew what he wanted for the Love Parade. He said: "Star Hire's mobile stages were ideal for this event. Their speedy set-up saved us time and money, and caused minimum disruption to the local park. These stages also give us a great working environment for our artists and production crew."

PCM Motor Controllers
Thursday, 13 July 2000

PCM has introduced a range of low cost motor controllers. Constructed from standardised steel plates, the controllers are available in 4, 6, 8 or 12 channel units with both local and remote controls. 24 or 36 channel units are also available for larger venues. Local controlled units have Ceeform outlets for each hoist on the front panel, whilst the rear panel contains toggle switches for each hoist, a manual phase reversal system and an overload device all protected by a hinged cover.

James Thomas Expand and Move
Wednesday, 12 July 2000

James Thomas Engineering is moving. The move to newly-acquired high-tech 4,900 square metre premises in central Worcester - part of the UK's historic industrial heartland - is a significant one. JTE's manufacturing operation has expanded so rapidly in the last two years that the company has finally outgrown the site in Pershore that has contained them - albeit with several extensions and additional buildings - since 1984! The building, workshops and offices are part of a new, purpose-built industrial unit. The extra space and rationalisation of resources will allow James Thomas's hectic production schedules to be managed even faster and more efficiently. The company's new address is Navigation Complex, Navigation Road, Diglis Trading Estate, Worcester, WR5 3DE.

ESTA Draft Standards for Public Review
Friday, 7 July 2000

ESTA (Entertainment Services and Technology Association) in the United States has announced that the following draft standards have been made available for public review. - BSR E1.3, Entertainment Technology - Lighting Control Systems - 0 to 10V Analog Control Specification - BSR E1.7, Entertainment Technology - Recommended Practice for the Design and Use of Manual Systems for Flying Performers - BSR E1.10, Entertainment Technology - Minimum Loading requrements for Theatre Stage HousesIn each case, the review period closes on September 12, 2000.ESTA has also announced the start of a Standards-Drafting Project for Theatrical Boom & Base Assemblies.

PCM Announces Year End Motor Schools
Tuesday, 4 July 2000

PCM's CM Lodestar Motor School training sessions have been scheduled for September 18th and 19th immediately after PLASA and also on 28th and 29th November. The two-day course, which will be held at PCM's HQ in Prenton, Wirral, has now been modified and streamlined to include an operational session on the use of the Lodestar Motor in addition to the usual hands-on assembly, disassembly and troubleshooting of the hoist. Once again, the event is broadened by trussing, ground support and metalwork specialists James Thomas Engineering, who will present a half day course on truss usage and its interaction with motors.

Tony Rodber joins Stage Electrics
Tuesday, 27 June 2000

Tony Rodber is to join Stage Electrics as business development manager for Wales and the West. He brings with him a wealth of experience from the industry where he has been a well-known figure for the last 13 years, principally with Lighting Technology.

TF's Hind Elected to Council
Monday, 26 June 2000

Peter Hind of Total Fabrications Ltd has recently been appointed to the Council of the Institution of Structural Engineers. The Council - a body of 12 appointed members - is charged with the running of the Institution for a term of three years. This is proving a good year for Hind - only four months ago he was made technical director at TFL. Hind has made a wealth of contributions to the entertainment business over the years, and is a regular contributor to the ESTA Protocol publication. He has written the ESTA / ANSI standard on the Design, Manufacture and Use ofAluminum Trusses and Towers (about to be published); The revised edition of Temporary Demountable Structures by Institution of Structural Engineers - published in March 1999; and written a chapter on Structures of revised edition of the HSE's The Event Safety Guide - published October 1999.

Second Fatality at Earls Court
Monday, 26 June 2000

PLASA Publishing has learnt that there has been a second fatal accident at Earls Court. The venue owners have confirmed that the accident occurred at 7.10pm on Friday 23 June and that the individual involved was working for Unusual Rigging, who are contracted to the venue. EC management and the relevant authorities have launched an investigation into the incident. The news comes six months after the death in December last year of a rigger working on a backstage event for the Spice Girls, who fell 80 feet whilst breaking down the after-show party. An investigation into that incident is still ongoing.

Unusual Joins the Safety Elite
Wednesday, 21 June 2000

Julie Meadows, health and safety officer of Unusual Rigging in Bugbrooke, has received the prestigious British Safety Council Diploma in Safety Management in an awards ceremony in London. Meadows was among 19 safety professional who were presented with their awards.Sir Neville Purvis, Director General of the British Safety council commented: "Good safety is good business and can save firms hundreds of thousands of pounds. In achieving the Diploma in Safety Management, Julie Meadows has shown a commitment to improving health and safety in the workplace. Proper training for people at all levels of a company is vital, as accidents and illnesses at work cost this country up to £18 billion every year."

Total Structures in Central Park
Tuesday, 20 June 2000

Total Structures Inc has recently produced a unique tensioned fabric structure for general contractor Fabric Structures, based on an original concept by architects FTL Happold. What made this different from the many other rooftops produced by the company this year was its shape and proportions. As our picture shows, it is a ridged, contoured ellipse, supported on only two towers and measuring 70ft wide and 63ft deep. It was engineered to carry 7,000lbs of sound equipment and 1,000lbs of lights for the Summerstage series in New York's Central Park.

PCM - Next Motor School Dates
Tuesday, 20 June 2000

PCM is running its next two-day Columbus McKinnon Lodestar Motor Schools on 27-28 June and 29-30 June respectively. PCM has now trained over 800 owners, specifiers and users of Lodestar Motors via these invaluable hands-on workshops. PCM's Motor Schools, which are still free of charge, offers attendees a comprehensive, hands-on overview of the CM Lodestar motor. There is also a basic motor trouble shooting session. Once again, the event will be broadened by trussing, ground support and metalwork specialists James Thomas Engineering. Further Motor schools will follow throughout the year as part of PCM's on-going commitment to training.

Investing In People Reaps Dividends for Stage One
Monday, 19 June 2000

Stage One Creative Services has become the first scenic construction company to achieve the Investors in People standard. It seals a period of expansion for the Yorkshire-based firm, which was also the first in the scenic construction sector to achieve ISO 9002 accreditation. The company, which provides the scenic solutions for events ranging from international product launches to corporate conferences and television stage sets, has doubled its turnover to £5 million in the past two years alone. And since a merger with Hangar Staging in 1996, its staff has grown from around 20 to over 60. Staff at Stage One are in the final stages of preparation for their biggest project so far this year - providing extensive staging and scenic elements for the Royal Military Tattoo 2000 in June, which will be broadcast live across the country.

New Faces at Seelite
Monday, 19 June 2000

After six months in the US, Mads Hald is back at Seelite in Denmark. He will work both as a service technician and as the company's regular technician in the two big Copenhagen concert houses - Pumpehuset and Vega. Ole Helms Knudsen has also joined SeeLite as warehouse manager in Copenhagen and Jan Støiberg now takes over responsibility for all maintenance repairs and related tasks.


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