Rigging and Staging News

Net Benefits
Friday, 22 December 2000

Star Rigging has installed a new fall arrest netting system into Wembley Arena to improve safety for people working at height during events at the London venue.

The new safety system has been installed into the Wembley grid, which is the largest moving grid in the UK. Pictured is the Fall Arrest Net after being raised at The Who load-in at Wembley Arena.

Both Mark Armstrong and Phil Broad at Star Rigging have been rigging major live events, including major tours for 15 years. The net is a new innovation, which has gained popularity in the construction industry, attracting the approval of H&S executives across the country. The system ensures that a worker who falls off the grid will be caught, and there are handrails to prevent people falling outside of the grid area. Star Rigging had to adapt the net to suit indoor music applications including making it fire retardant to BS EN 1263-2 standards. The company is currently talking to several other venues about the possibility of installing similar systems.

Dome Auctioneer Appointed
Friday, 22 December 2000

Henry Butcher International has been appointed to dispose of the contents, owned by NMEC, that went into creating The Millennium Dome, following the planned closure of the Dome on December 31st. The Dome houses an enormous range of assets, including lighting, audio-visual, broadcast & sound equipment, restaurant and catering equipment, stage equipment, office furniture and equipment, golf buggies, battery-powered scooters and vehicles. Even the equipment from the world famous Millennium Show, which currently employs 350 people, will be for sale, including stage and acrobatic props, costumes and circus rigging. Henry Butcher will be disposing of all assets owned by NMEC over the next three months by Private Treaty and Public Auction. The Private Treaty sale process is already underway and includes many of the themed Zones, audio-visual and broadcast equipment from some of the most sophisticated systems installed in Europe and sound and lighting equipment from one of the largest and most complex installations in the world.

The public auction is open to everyone and will take place over four days - 27-28 February and 1-2 March 2001 - and any enquiries regarding the auction will be dealt with after the Dome closes at the end of December. Viewing of the assets will be a few days prior to the auction sale.

Support for Birmingham Fringe
Thursday, 21 December 2000

Cause & Effect, the organisers of the 2001 Birmingham Fringe theatre festival, are looking at the possibility of holding collaborative projects with entertainment technology companies during the 2001 festival, in order to demonstrate the contribution made by them to technical theatre. Project director Derrick G Knight told us: "My motivation is to enhance Birmingham as a host city for performing arts. This will be achieved through the development of a network of performance venues in partnership with the performers, venue owners and production companies associated with performing arts." An initial idea is to include a sound and lighting exhibition alongside the festival, which takes place in July and August 2001, and Knight is currently exploring the availability of no-cost exhibition space at a number of venues adjacent to the reserved performance spaces. For further information is available from the number below.

Roxsett Boss Receives Eight Year Sentence
Thursday, 21 December 2000

Roxsett boss David Wilson has been sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court to eight years imprisonment for smuggling £4.27 million worth of ecstasy into Britain. Wilson, whose clients included the Spice Girls, was stopped in June this year with 125 kilos of ecstasy tablets as he drove a rental truck through customs at Dover. His young daughter was in the cab with him. In mitigation, Aidan Marron QC said Wilson was forced to smuggle the ecstasy into Britain by a "vicious" gang of "serious and professional criminals". "He was threatened with a sawn-off shotgun. He feared a loss of life if he didn't obey their orders," Mr Marron said. Wilson pleaded guilty to one count of importing Class A drugs but had smuggled the illegal cargo under duress, Mr Marron said.

Hardy Steps Down as Telestage MD
Tuesday, 19 December 2000

Telestage Associates and it parent Waagner Biro Stage Technology has announced the retirement of Qahtan Hardy as managing director of Telestage Associates. Hardy will officially step down at the end of the year but will retain his links with the company and will continue to be involved as an advisor. He has a long involvement in stage engineering and audio-visual which incorporated the purchase of Telestage in 1988. In 1997 the company was purchased by Waagner Biro and Hardy was retained as the sole executive director. A successor is expected to be appointed in 2001. In the meantime Mike Bacon has been appointed operations manager and forms part of the senior management team at Telestage.

Live! Awards Dinner Moves to Ally Pally
Wednesday, 13 December 2000

After a number of years at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, where the spiralling success of the event has seen more and more people literally squeezed into the hotel's Westbourne Suite, the 2001 Live! Awards dinner will be held in the Great Hall of Alexandra Palace. The change of venue offers the twin benefits of easily accommodating the large numbers who now wish toattend the Awards, while allowing much easier access to exhibitors and visitors to the Live! Show. The Live! Awards dinner takes place on the evening of Wednesday 7th February 2001, the first day of the Live! Show. In addition, this year, for the first time, you can register online for the Live! Show at the web address below, which also features comprehensive Show information.

Neil Darracott Joins PLASA Committee
Monday, 11 December 2000

PLASA has announced that Neil Darracott (pictured right), design engineer at Total Fabrications Ltd, has been elected to the Executive Committee of the Association following the elections which closed on 1 st December. The elections attracted 123 membership votes in total, compared with 104 last year. Mick Hannaford (Light Processor), the serving PLASA chairman, has been re-elected for his second three-year term, while PLASA Treasurer Sammy DeHavilland of Dare Pro Audio/Deco Leisure, has been re-elected for a three-year term. Newcomer Neil Darracott fills the other three-year term, while Paul Hinkly of LMC Audio, who was co-opted onto the PLASA committee last year, was elected for a further one-year term.Peter Walker of NSR, who was not re-elected, has served on the PLASA Committee for the past six years, and was for much of that time involved with membership issues, particularly related to new applications to the Association. At the December meeting of the executive committee, chairman Mick Hannaford thanked Peter for his time and hard work over the years he has served with PLASA.The remaining members of the committee are Paul Adams (PAI Group), Paul De Ville (Lightfactor Sales), Nikki Scott (Stage Technologies), David Hopkins OBE (Audio Design Services) and Diane Grant (DHA Lighting).

Star Hire Provides Support for World Record Rocket Bid
Tuesday, 14 November 2000

Bedford-based staging company Star Hire was commissioned by the Tussauds group to work on a series of ambitious firework displays at two leading theme parks. Star Hire provided the structures and stage for Alton Towers as it has for at least 10 years - and for Thorpe Park’s first major public display. The Alton Towers event set a world record for the most rockets fired in one display. A 3.5 tonne floating platform was also constructed in the centre of Alton Tower’s main lake to house the pumps for a massive water screen (supplied by Tim Fothergill of Creative Media Technology). The water screen was used for laser projection to animate the Legend of the Chained Tree spectacular, which also incorporated the sound, lights and LED images to accompany the fireworks. Star Hire also designed and constructed two 15m high towers which housed Gearhouse LED screens and a Wigwam PA - each structure contained six tonnes of water ballast.

Stolen Truss Update
Monday, 13 November 2000

Just a quick update to our news item last week (Weds Nov 8) concerning a large quantity of truss stolen from Essex-based lighting and production company Knight International. The 7.5 tonne Iveco Truck, which contained an entire ground support system and two covered PA wings, has now been found, minus all the truss! Phil Knight believes that the truss may have been stolen to order or may be sold back into the industry.Anybody with any information should contact Knight International on +44 1245 362133.

Covenant for Navigator US
Friday, 10 November 2000

Navigator Systems’ US Division has appointed Ray as Technical Director. Covenant has many years’ experience in the entertainment industry, particularly in the field of information systems. Covenant will oversee technical support for the hundreds of companies in North America currently using HireTrack Eclipse. He will also be involved in the implementation of a new application service where companies will have the option to rent software instead of purchasing new software. The users will connect to Navigator Systems server farms via the internet and run HireTrack Eclipse. Greg Smith, president of Navigator Systems US, commented, "I am so excited that Ray has joined our team. He brings many years experience working with entertainment companies and their software systems."

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.

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.


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