Rigging and Staging News

Metrodeck Brings Life to Touring Theatre
Thursday, 9 November 2000

Stray Theatre, a small theatre company which tours the length and breadth of Britain, has recently enhanced its performance possibilities with the addition of a Metrodeck staging system from Maltbury. As an independent organisation relying partly on its grant for support, Stray Theatre was delighted to find that it would be cheaper to buy their own Metrodeck system than to hire one. The highly-flexible staging system can be packed down in around 10 minutes, and has proved an ideal tool for the company’s varying production requirements. Stray Theatre’s David Lightbody said: “The feedback has been incredibly positive in terms of the quality added to the production.”

Stolen Truss
Wednesday, 8 November 2000

Between 7.30pm on Monday 6th November and 8.00am on Tuesday 7th November, Essex-based lighting and production company Knight International had one of their 7.5 tonne Iveco Trucks stolen, containing an entire ground support system and two covered PA wings. Amongst other things, the truck contained eight pieces of Penn Fabrications 2.4m pre rig loaded with Par 64, three pieces unloaded, 10 pieces of heavy duty ladder box truss at 3m, four at 2m, ninety degree bends, four rolling cages, four winches, six pieces of triangle truss at 3 and 4m and four three-way triangular bends. The 7.5 tonne truck was an S plate with Knight International written on the front, the doors and with the company logo on the driver’s side.If anyone has any information on this crime, or is offered large amounts of truss for very little money, please contact Knight International on 01245 362133.

PCM’s Donation to PSA Welfare Fund Tops £10,000
Wednesday, 1 November 2000

The latest cheque from PCM, European importers and distributors of the CM Lodestar hoist, to the PSA (Production Services Association) for their Welfare and Benevolent Fund, puts PCM’s contribution to this excellent cause to over £10,000. The fourth cheque, for £3,700, was presented by PCM’s John Jones to Simon Whittaker, Chair of the PSA, at PLASA 2000. The next PCM cheque will be presented during The Live Show 2001 in February.

Shaken not Stirred - Three Good Looking Riggers
Wednesday, 25 October 2000

This was the request given to Vertigo Rigging by production company Action Time TV for a special edition of Celebrity Auctions recorded at London Weekend Television! The chosen three - hard to pick from Vertigo's team of suave, slick, and ultra cool riggers - were Ken Mehmed, Paul Darby and Dave Brierly. Donning DJ', bow ties and an air of sophistication, they descended onto stage via a smooth, stylish abseil from the studio roof - half way through the show - which was presented by Sean Bean. Earlier in the day, the Vertigo Bonds - more practically clad, rigged their abseil lines in the roof, plus some custom-fabricated 'Boson's' chairs, constructed in the Vertigo workshop. The latter were fixed up in the roof to enable the Bonds to sit and wait for their cue in comfort. The feat was performed flawlessly, followed by a round of Martinis - shaken not stirred to ensure the Bond myth was faithfully adhered to. No-one is commenting on who got the beautiful girl!!

Edwin Shirley Staging Brings De La Guarda to Las Vegas
Thursday, 19 October 2000

Edwin Shirley Staging (ESS), the international staging and structure specialist, is helping to bring international stars De La Guarda to audiences in Las Vegas for the first time. ESS has built the 18m high structure using ESS' successful Tower Systems that will house the acrobatic extravaganza. The $1.2million contract is the first major contract to be completed by ESS' new US office based in Austin, Texas. ESS Inc was formed in May this year when Edwin Shirley Staging took over the operations of Upfront Inc. ESS' staging will help bring the show to life with a 30m x 20m x 18m high structure. The structure forms part of the Rio Hotel complex in the heart of Las Vegas and will remain there for three years, the duration of the show. The production, called 'Villa Villa' is the same show that was performed to great acclaim in London's Roundhouse last year and still playing off Broadway in New York.

Ocean State Rigging Ltd in Liquidation
Monday, 9 October 2000

PLASA Publishing has learned that the directors of Ocean State Rigging Systems Ltd have decided to commence liquidation proceedings. The Hertfordshire-based company is a subsidiary of Ocean State Rigging Systems Inc, which was established in the United States in 1978 to service the film, corporate and touring industries, and has offices in Rhode Island and Florida.

PCM Wraps 2000 with Motor School
Friday, 6 October 2000

PCM has announced its end-of-year CM Lodestar Motor Schools for the 28th and 29th November, to be held at PCM's HQ in Prenton, Wirral, wrapping up a busy training year for PCM. The two-day Motor School course has been modified to include an operational session on the use of the Lodestar Motor, in addition to the usual hands-on assembly, disassembly and troubleshooting. Once again, the event is broadened by trussing and ground support specialists James Thomas Engineering, who will present a half-day course on truss usage and its interaction with motors. The two-day course is free of charge to all participants - all they need to do is travel to The Wirral and cover their hotel costs.PCM's Motor School is fully compliant with the new LOLER regulations, and on completion, attendees are issued with a certificate to prove that they have been properly trained on the equipment. PCM has now trained over 900 owners, specifiers and users of Lodestar Motors, and courses are always in heavy demand, so early booking is advisable. PCM expanded its Motor School programme in 2000 and also took it to Europe. The company's fully-comprehensive, intensive five-day Rigging School, launched in 1999, is next scheduled to run in February 2001. For further details on all PCM Training initiatives please contact John Jones or Claire Williams at PCM on +44 151 609 0101 or check out the PCM website.

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.


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