Rigging and Staging News

James Thomas Expansion
Monday, 9 July 2001

James Thomas Engineering, Inc has announced the construction of a new purpose-built facility for the Knoxville, Tennessee manufacturing company. Phase One of the 60,000sq.ft complex on a 6.28 acre site is underway, specifically designed to house the US manufacturing, administrative, sales, design and production offices. James Thomas’s Mike Garl explained that the move follows a steady increase in business in recent years, and is intended to consolidate, rationalize and further increase the efficiency of their business to their diverse client base.

James Thomas Engineering is a leading manufacturer of structural aluminum trussing, support systems and lighting fixtures for the entertainment industry, and distributes via a world-wide dealer network from its production facilities in Knoxville, Tennessee and Worcester in the UK. The Knoxville operation was founded in 1984 - initially a distributor of the James Thomas Engineering aluminum truss and lighting fixtures imported from the original manufacturing facility in the UK.

To keep pace with a rapidly-expanding customer base and growing demand for its products, in 1990 it was decided to begin manufacturing in Knoxville. Summer 2000 saw the UK operation move into a new, high-tech facility in central Worcester, in the heart of the Midlands. To continue providing the very highest level of service, James Thomas Inc is underscoring the company’s global expansion with the construction of this major new facility in Knoxville. The facility is scheduled to be operational in October 2001.

The new address details are: 10

Lodestars and Training
Friday, 6 July 2001

PCM, UK and European distributors for Columbus McKinnon Lodestar hoists, will show a selection of the many types of Lodestar motors available, including standard rigging range, VGB 70/BGV C1 type and the FX range - now available for theatrical use. The company will also highlight its renowned and highly successful hands-on Motor School and Rigging School training courses.

A new version of the compact CM Prostar motor is also being launched at the show, with increased capacities and speeds. This new higher speed version will climb at six metres a minute and 10m/min (increased from the industry standard four metres a minute). A new 500 lb SWL @ 4m per minute version is also to be launched - an increase of 200 lbs over the pervious 300 lb SWL.

PCM - Stand F18

How the West was Taught . . .How the West was Taught . . .
Friday, 6 July 2001

Tomcat’s first annual Las Vegas Hoist and Truss Workshop swept through the Western Region in mid June with Arizona, California and Nevada being represented. The sold-out event consisted of a full day of motor instruction taught by Don Dimitroff of Columbus McKinnon and a half-day of truss design, use and theory led by Keith Bohn from Tomcat USA. The Vegas Motor School comes hot on the heels of the grand opening of Tomcat’s new office in Las Vegas. The Las Vegas location serves as a distribution centre for the Western Region of the United States and stocks over 200 sections of standard truss products, 50 Columbus McKinnon lodestar motors and various rigging accessories. The next Tomcat Las Vegas Motor School will be held on September 17-18, 2001, whilst the annual Tomcat Hoist and Rigging Workshop will be hosted by Tomcat USA in Midland, Texas, January 30 - February 3, 2002. For more information contact Lisa Jebsen at 915-694-7070.

New HQ for TeleStage
Thursday, 5 July 2001

TeleStage Associates held an official opening of their new office and workshops in Bury St Edmunds on the 13 June. The new premises comprise 350sq.m of office space and 520sq.m of fabrication and warehousing space.

The expansion allows for future growth and provides room for the development of a fully-equipped electrical and electronic workshop which will facilitate the wiring of equipment racks for MCC’s audio-visual equipment racks and custom panels. The workshop will be used for the prototyping and testing of control systems used in stage rigging, AV and show control. A dedicated QA area will ensure that equipment meets all necessary standards before dispatch.

To mark the opening, the company demonstrated a number of items of stage equipment, including two scissor lifts (one using Serapid link chains and the other a single spiral drive from GALA), two of the new super-silent stage winches, operating under load to demonstrate their integral overload and slack rope detection systems. Two other stage hoists were also on display, together with a Batik/Guddland CAT computer control system.The company can now be found at 4 Kempson Way, Suffolk Business Park, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP32 7AR. Tel: +441284 755512.

£1m Mercedes to Balance On Needle Tower
Friday, 29 June 2001

As part of the Goodwood Festival of Speed, Edwin Shirley Staging, the international staging and structure specialist, has built a bespoke 30m high needle-shaped tower, from which a £1 million Mercedes Benz Gullwing car will be balanced to help celebrate the luxury car company’s Centenary. The car will be placed on its nose and will be on display to visitors during the three-day motor show.

The ESS structure has been specially designed by Gerry Judah, the renowned designer behind such projects as the model of Auschwitz in the Holocaust Galleries at the Imperial War Museum and Linkbridge 2000 in the Woolwich Dockyard Estate, as well as last year’s central display at Goodwood. Patrick Woodroffe, known worldwide as a leader in lighting design and whose recent projects include Lord of the Dance II and the Rolling Stones tours, is lighting the structure. The festival, which opens on July 6, is motor racing’s equivalent of Ascot or Wimbledon and is Europe's premier Historic Motorsports event, featuring classic roadsters from the 19th century as well as today’s ultra-modern racing cars.

BECTU Wins Fight Over Working Time Directive
Friday, 29 June 2001

The Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU) has defeated the UK Government at the European Court of Justice over the UK’s implementation of the Working Time Directive. The UK’s Working Time Regulations 1998, which implements the Directive, entitles workers to a minimum of 20 days paid leave each year. But employees are not entitled to the leave until they have completed a qualifying period of 13 continuous weeks with the same employer. This means that many freelance and contract workers who work for less than 13 weeks have been denied a right to take paid leave.

BECTU launched a legal challenge to the UK legislation and on 26 June 2001 the European Court of Justice (ECJ) accepted the opinion of the Advocate General of the ECJ, which stated that national governments may not exclude groups of workers from the rights that the directive gives them. The judgment effectively extends the entitlement to paid leave to all workers from their first day of employment. Later the same day the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), which is responsible for the Working Time Regulations, announced an urgent consultation on regulations to amend those already in place and corresponding guidance. The amended Regulations will not mean that workers will be able to take four weeks paid leave from their first day of employment, but if the employment ends during the first 13 weeks they will be able to claim for leave which has been accrued but not taken during this period. The consultation will propose a system of accrual, providing one-twelfth of the ann

New RMS Software Release at PLASA 2001
Thursday, 28 June 2001

Rental Management System (RMS), has become even faster and easier to use, and the new version of the software will be shown at the PLASA Show. With over 2000 users world-wide, RMS is a market leader in the supply of software for professional rental companies. The software is available in nine languages, including English, German, French and Spanish. New 'cut and paste' shortcuts allow users to easily move items from one job to another, or to convert a job into a (new) packaged item. The multi-sites option also has new features: from within a job, the user may see both the local stock-situation, as well as the situation at the available sites added together. With another mouse-click, all jobs (from the local or from a selection of sites) that hold an item in a given period, can be viewed. The crew-planner is a new module that allows for entering comprehensive labour details. Personnel may be freelance, full-time employees or externally hired staff. Labour may be ‘attached’ to a job, or range of jobs. The crew-planner may also be used as a separate application, and is therefore also suitable for use in theme and leisure parks. All planboards, both from RMS as from the crew-planner, are still a unique feature. Improvements include print-options, and easy navigation from the planboards directly into the underlaying jobs. RMS will be exhibiting on stand G4.http://www.rmsplanning.com

Blackout Triple E Launch Modular Track Control System
Tuesday, 26 June 2001

For the 10th year, drape, track and rigging specialist Blackout Triple E will be exhibiting at PLASA.

This year the company will be launching a modular curtain track control system with DMX protocol. The 19-inch rack-based system will control the entire range of Blackout Triple E systems and will feature DMX interface as standard to enable track systems to be integrated into a lighting and movement package. Also on display on the Blackout Triple E stand will be a variety of track, drapes, starcloths and automation equipment, as well as acoustic blind systems.

Blackout Triple E was formed when two market leaders merged in 2000 to provide the entertainment, architectural, presentation and event industries with a range of solutions for drape, track and engineering requirements. Offering a combination of specialized drape creation with an expertise in tracks, Blackout Triple E's experience stretches from opera houses and cruise ships to MTV Awards and rock 'n' roll tours.

Blackout Triple E - Stand F20

ESS’s Photo Finish
Tuesday, 26 June 2001

London-based ESS used its staging technology to help the BBC provide live, online coverage of Royal Ascot for the first time to audiences around the world, including a unique view of the famous finish. The company provided two 30m high TV towers which were positioned along the final straight of the racecourse. Each tower had to be able to take the equivalent of a 5 tonne force, the weight by the camera as it speeds along the 700m, to provide the bird’s eye view of the finish.

ECA2 at Expo 2001, Japan
Tuesday, 26 June 2001

After the success of the multimedia waterscreen shows during the world expos in both Osaka (1990) and Tottori (1996), Yves Pépin and his team at ECA2 have been asked to produce the multi-media watershow for the Yamaguchi Expo in Japan, which runs from the 14th of July through to the 30th of September 2001. For the last two years, ECA2 and its technicians have been working alongside the Japanese Expo team to ensure the success of this night-time spectacular. The show will feature images projected onto four monumental spheres, as well as onto a giant water screen; pyrotechnic and fire effects will complete the impressive show.

AVW in Control
Monday, 25 June 2001

Established in 1996, AVW Controls has a growing reputation for leading the way for affordable stage machinery automation, and this year is exhibiting at PLASA for the first time.

PLASA 2001 will see the launch of the company’s latest chain hoist controller. The six-way chain hoist controller is designed for Verlinde and CM Lodestar type hoists and can be used either in the usual way or controlled with AVW’s Impressario computer control system. AVW will also be promoting its Impressario motion control system, designed and built by AVW. In response to industry needs, Impressario offers sophisticated computerised automation for rigging and scenery, at a significantly lower price than anything else in its league. Developed primarily to control flying systems, Impressario suits any motor and is ideal for scenery changes and synchronising flying bars.

The console can be plugged in at multiple positions and operated by either one or a number of users to control the ‘maths’ of where and when to accelerate, and how quickly. Easy to both programme and use - users do not need to be technically minded - the beauty of Impressario is that, because it is not subject to third party considerations, unlike similar products in the industry it will not suddenly become obsolete.

AVW Controls - Stand N2

ESS International Concerts
Friday, 22 June 2001

Edwin Shirley Staging, the international concert staging company, has won the contract to provide staging for Tom Jones, Sting, The Beach Boys and other high profile, international pop stars as part of a UK tour this summer. The concerts will be held at Warwick Castle and Cardiff Castle towards the end of July. ESS is set to build an 18m by 18m stage in the grounds of Warwick Castle for three concerts which will feature performances from The Beach Boys and Status Quo (20 July), Van Morrison (21 July) and Tom Jones (22 July). All three concerts are already sold out and will attract audiences of more than 30,000. The staging will then be dismantled and re-assembled in time for a series of concerts the following week-end inside the grounds of Cardiff Castle, where Sting and Tom Jones will be performing in front of an audience of 10,000. The BBC will be broadcasting Tom Jones’s performance live in Wales.

Tomcat Hits the Jackpot
Wednesday, 20 June 2001

In true Vegas-style, Tomcat unveiled its new Las Vegas office in mid May. The grand opening of the new office in the Western region of the United States lasted the entire afternoon with over 40 representatives from surrounding companies and various media visiting the new facility. The new site will carry over 200 sections of standard truss products in stock at all times, as well as over 50 Columbus McKinnon Lodestar motors and various rigging accessories. The new office comes hot on the heels of the opening of Storm at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino where the Tomcat family of companies manufactured essential parts of the special effects. The new office is located in an industrial section of Las Vegas at 4020 Ali Baba Lane, Bldg D Suite A about two miles off the Southwest end of Las Vegas Boulevard. The office consists of two staff members, Sharon Ozzolek, sales assistant, and Brian Wise, hoist technician.

Blackout Triple E in Presence of Royalty
Tuesday, 19 June 2001

Late May saw the 45th anniversary of the inception of the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme commemorated at the Royal Albert Hall, an event which also formed the only official public recognition of Prince Philip's 80th birthday, televised as ‘80 Years a Royal Celebration’. Following a long-standing working relationship, Visage Television commissioned Blackout Triple E to supply a 40m x12m rental starcloth, as well as rigging from which to suspend a 1.6 ton LVP110 LED screen supplied by Creative Technology. Dominic Peissel, MD of Blackout France handled the production management of the event.

AVW in Control
Monday, 18 June 2001

AVW Controls have recently completed a couple of major projects. In less than five days, staff at the company designed, built and installed an entirely new motion control system and provided full training to the production crew for Howard Katz, which opened on 1st June at The Cottesloe, Royal National Theatre. The theatre needed to control two circular revolves, one inside the other, similar to a doughnut. As the existing house system was not able to perform the number of complex functions and movements that the production required, AVW was contracted to provide eleventh hour assistance using the company's Impressario control system. With a depleted budget, AVW agreed to effectively hire the system to the theatre. In a separate project, the company also designed and built the hydraulic power pack control system to raise and lower the stage during the ever-popular production of Joe Penhall's Blue/Orange, currently showing at London's Duchess Theatre.

Jones Heads to Cloud One
Monday, 18 June 2001

The Cloud One Group Ltd, located in Birmingham, have appointed Bill Jones as business development manager. Well known within the industry, and most recently with Lightfactor Sales, his background in sales, aligned with his vast knowledge of sound and lighting equipment, will strengthen the group’s long established position within the areas of equipment hire and event production. Installations, flight-case manufacturing and the sale of pro audio products are other areas covered by Cloud One, Stratford Acoustics - the rental arm - and Midland Custom Cases.

ABTT 2002 Dates
Monday, 11 June 2001

The ABTT has confirmed that its ABTT Theatre Show 2002 will be held at the Royal Horticultural Halls on 19 and 20 June 2002. Further details of booking arrangements will be announced shortly. Any enquiries should be directed to the ABTT Office on 020 7403 3778.

Festival of Light
Sunday, 10 June 2001

The Royal Festival Hall, arguably the UK’s highest profile multi-purpose performance space, recently celebrated its 50th anniversary in a blaze of colourful architectural lighting, basking radiantly and beacon-like on the South Bank, for two glorious weeks.

The idea was first suggested by the RFH’s head of production, Nigel March, in February. Knowing the event was approaching, he decided that it was time to take advantage of the building’s massive white marble facades by lighting it in a visually stimulating style.

"It was an unmissable opportunity," says March who worked hard to get the project approved, realised and within budget, collaborating closely with his associate and production LX Barry Waterman and team of South Bank technicians. The outdoor lighting was sponsored by Accenture (formally known as Andersen Consulting), and March’s concept involved the production of a ‘liquid’ colour fade that rotated slowly and seamlessly around the building throughout the night.

He chose 30 Studio Due City Colors as the primary colour-changing fixtures for the job. This was the first time he’s used them, but he was highly impressed with their power and punch, as well as the even beam diffusion and absence of hot spots. Being IP54-rated, they needed no additional weather protection either.

March also utilised 12 Martin MAC 600 Exteriors which he employed as specials to spot the pillars on the riverside balcony, whilst both RFH and sponsors’ gobos were projected onto the front of the building by three MAC 2000s. The

The Battle of Trafalgar
Saturday, 9 June 2001

This summer saw a free concert for 20,000 people staged in the busy heart of London. Mike Mann discovered that such a production has its logistical difficulties . . .

Before even thinking about the problems involved in bringing central London to a standstill, Star Hire’s Roger Barrett realised that the stage design for the Africa Day concert would have to be an unusual one: "We would normally have built a higher stage than this - but a major feature of the design was that the famous lions should be visible on stage." Two of the huge statues were incorporated into the stage, which was positioned just in front of Nelson’s Column, facing northwards towards the National Gallery. Flanked by the South African Embassy (who funded the entire event) and Canada House, the central area of Trafalgar Square itself also needed treatment. "One of the first things we realised was that the ornamental fountains obscure sightlines for a large part of the square," explained Barrett. "So we included 3,000sq.m of industrial flooring to raise the outer sections of the audience." This was the first rock‘n’roll outing for the Danco flooring system - a modular industrial system which has also seen service in Formula One pit areas.

The stage and audience flooring were delivered to Trafalgar Square by a total of 20 full-size trailers, each one bringing traffic to a complete standstill. In addition to this, a further three trucks for the security fencing, plus other deliveries for sound and lighting systems, meant that Londoners had to cope with

PLASA Completes First Phase of Industry Research
Friday, 8 June 2001

PLASA has completed the first phase of its major industry research project, which will provide PLASA members with an invaluable insight into their industry. As well as being able to estimate the global market size for professional lighting, sound, staging and AV products and services, the research also gives a very detailed picture of the market in the UK. For the first time, PLASA has information about the value of the product sectors, how fast they are growing and the size and growth of the various vertical sectors into which its members sell. The findings enable the Association to say some very precise things about its members collectively and the nature of the industry as a whole.

PLASA plans to repeat the exercise every 12 months, enabling it to build up ever-more accurate trend information. A quick flick through the 119-page report reveals that it estimates the respective size by revenue of PLASA’s four main product sectors: light, sound, AV and staging; gives growth figures for this year and next across the four product sectors; breaks the sectors down into sales and rental; includes information on revenue from the provision of services such as installation, design and servicing; sizes the target market sectors and indicates which are the healthiest and the fastest growing; includes information on average company size by staff, investment in training, R&D and marketing.

Members who took part in the survey will shortly receive a free 22-page copy of the overview, together with the opportunity to buy the detailed sections. Members who didn’t take part w

ESS Superstructure at Syon Park
Friday, 8 June 2001

ESS Superstructure has secured a major contract to build a vast 2,500sq.m superstructure building for a high profile, blue chip corporate event. The contract is the first for ESS Superstructure following the recent formation of a joint venture between ESS Ltd and The Pure Group. An ESS Superstructure building will be used initially by HP:ICM, one of Europe's leading live communication companies, for a client event involving a global brand. Two thousand delegates are expected to attend a one-day management conference, which will be followed by an elaborate gala dinner to be hosted in the superstructure building. The huge aluminium transparent structure, which is 100m long by 25m wide and 11m high, is based in the grounds of Syon Park in west London. Managed by The Pure Group, the Superstructure will be available for hire as a conference and corporate hospitality venue, in conjunction with a second structure, also commissioned for the site. ESS Superstructure and The Pure Group are in discussion with other sites in London to provide fully-serviced building structures ranging from 900 to 3,000sq.m for conference and corporate hospitality events. Both businesses have been approached about numerous event activities during 2001, particularly between September and December. Tim Norman, director of ESS Superstructure Ltd, said: "This contract win underlines our capability to handle major events. London is suffering from a dearth of large-scale venues. ESS Superstructure is well placed to meet this current demand by providing high quality, fully serviced, custom built venues. T

Coe-tech's Public Auction
Thursday, 7 June 2001

Coe-tech Ltd has appointed FPD Savills to hold a two-day public auction/stock clearance sale to make way for the latest range of new Coe-tech products. The auction will take place at Coe-tech’s premises in Northampton on Wednesday 25 and Thursday 26 July 2001. It will feature over 3000 lots of all types of professional sound, lighting, AV and special effects equipment. Viewing day is Tuesday 24 July 2001 from between 9am to 4pm. The diverse array of equipment for sale will include intelligent lighting; moving head luminaires; discothèque lighting; architectural colour changers; theatre lighting including followspots, profiles and fresnels; trussing; video equipment - cameras, switchers and video walls; sound processing equipment; loudspeakers; power distribution and cables. For Further Information and catalogues, please contact: FPD Savills, 4 St. Peter’s Gate, Nottingham, NG1 2JG, UK. Tel: +44 (0) 115 934 8100 Fax: +44 (0) 115 934 8003.

BBC Choose Star HireBBC Choose Star Hire
Thursday, 7 June 2001

Star Hire (Event Services) Ltd supplied its SS 15 12 mobile stage to the BBC for the Russell Watson at BBC Music Live concert, with highlights shown on BBC1 on Bank Holiday Monday to 3.7 million viewers. A sell-out audience of over 2,000 fans enjoyed the concert. The event took place in Leeds’ Millennium Square on Friday 25 May, and was the first seated concert to be hosted there. Leeds Council has invested in the region of £13million in the city centre event site, with facilities that include artists’ dressing rooms and hospitality area located beneath the stage area of the square.

The SS 15 12 stage supplied is the largest of Star Hire’s mobile fleet of stages, with over 175sq.m floor area, standing 12m high; it was flanked by its own PA wings, which supported a Wigwam PA system on this show. The time-frame for the event saw Star Hire’s staff, under newly appointed SS 15 12 crew boss Graham Drew, install the stage on the Thursday in just six hours, and more impressively, have it down and clear of the Millennium Square a mere 12 hours after the end of the show.

Performance 2001
Friday, 1 June 2001

Performance Exhibitions Ltd has announced the launch of Performance 2001 - an exhibition including conferences, seminars and workshops aimed at the live performance industry. To be staged at the Newcastle Telewest Arena on 17-18 November 2001, the exhibition will bring together manufacturers, venues, producers and promoters, plus a complete range of associated services. Colin Rowell, director of ShowBlokes, whose vast portfolio includes production stage manager of The Tube, stage director for the MTV Awards and stage manager for the Brit Awards, recently returned to the North East, and is involved in live events in the area. He says: "I feel that this exhibition will offer companies a platform for exhibiting to a large audience. It will put the North East on the exhibition circuit where it belongs for this important segment of the industry." Over 1500sq.m of exhibition space will house exhibitors displaying the latest in lighting and sound equipment, staging, studio technology, special effects, transport, catering and support services.


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