Vertigo Rigging's Ken Mehmed won the Rigger Of the Year Award, sponsored by PCM and presented by Ian Dury at The Live Awards 2000 at The Royal Lancaster Hotel. His rigging career started 16 years ago when he left school and went to work for Theatre Projects. Since then he has worked for top production company Imagination for two years and as a freelancer for many years, including for Vertigo when the company formed in 1995. In 1997, he joined Vertigo full time and has crew chiefed some of their most exacting and specialised undertakings. His recent rigging projects include Disney's theatrical spectacular The Lion King at The Lyceum and dealing with the unknown factors of rigging the Really Useful Group's Phantom of the Opera in Mexico!
Corporate event specialists Set 'n' Stage has completed a major set-building contract for Powerhouse Productions at Center Parc in Longleat, for a two-day convention held by Walkers Crisps. The contract included the building of a stage 40ft wide by 12ft high, as well as the supply of two front-projection 10ft by 7.5ft Fast Fold screens, which were designed into the set, as well as 5ft-wide logos for Walkers and Pringles. Production manager was Powerhouse's Phil Page, and Set 'n' Stage crew included Ron Golan and Rod Wallington.
As part of its strategic expansion plans, Tomcat has recruited four new European distributors giving it further representation throughout Europe. The new distributors are Arlecchino in Moscow, Russia; MITECH 2000 in Budapest, Hungary; ASL in Zurich, Switzerland and on home ground White Light (Electrics) of Fulham, West London. Arlecchino BSC is a well-established rental, sales and installation company; MITECH 2000 is built on the industry experience of owner Mihaly Borbas whilst ASL Electronic AG of Switzerland is headed up by David Schertz. Some of Tomcat's most innovative trussing products have been inspired by their association with White Light, and this relationship has now been formalised as the company has become a UK distributor of Tomcat products.
At the recent Live! Awards, PCM's John Jones presented the PSA (Production Services Association) with a third cheque in support of its Welfare and Benevolent Fund. The cheque, for £2,190, was presented by PCM's John Jones to Fund trustee, Mike Lethby. This third instalment refers to PCM's 'sponsorship' of the PSA's Welfare and Benevolent Fund launched in February 1999. The total donated by PCM now tops £7,000. The deal is linked directly to PCM's sale of Columbus McKinnon Lodestar hoists: for every Lodestar purchased in the UK through PCM, £10 is donated to the Welfare Fund. PSA chairman Keith Ferguson commented: "We thank PCM for their hugely motivating gesture, and hope that it will encourage others to support the Fund and ensure its future."
Andy Trevett has left Selecon UK to join Prolyte. The company, which has its headquarters in The Netherlands, with sales offices in Germany and the UK, manufactures a range of aluminium trussing systems.
After years of alternating between being supplier and client to each other, Triple E and Blackout, best known as suppliers of track and drapes respectively, have announced a merger of the two companies. The announcement, by the two managing directors David Edelstein and Steve Tuck, was made from a joint stand at the SIEL exhibition in Paris. Trading as Blackout Triple E with immediate effect, the new company offers a complete in-house design and manufacturing service for custom drapes and hardware, as well as a hire service for track, drapes and rigging. Current investment plans include dramatically expanding the rigging division with the addition of 80 CM Lodestar chain hoists.
Triple E supplied and installed its track systems for the Christmas and New Year window display schemes at Harrods in London. Designed for theatre and television applications, the tracks have found a new use in retail display, courtesy of Harrods' design team. For the display, 24 S-shaped curtains of Swarovski crystal - each with a 3m drop and weighing 25kg - were hung from the tracks to create a sparkling screen around dresses from designer Julien Macdonald. The team from Nigel Morgan Lighting used ETC Source Four Pars (50 degree) and Mad Lighting's IMPs (Image Marketing Projectors) with colour-changers and custom gobos. Further items from the Swarovski crystal range were also displayed on fibre optic 'atom tables' made and installed by Dan Tippetts and Nick Farmer of Farmer Studios. The latest display, which uses aluminium frames constructed from the UniCyc system, runs until 26 February.
The first commercial use of Gearhouse Structures' Tensile 1 structure was for the Gatecrasher 2000GC millennium celebrations, held at the Don Valley Stadium, Sheffield.The 15-hour event attracted an audience of 25,000and required 180 tonnesof sound, lighting and video production. Gearhouse also supplied LED screens for the event, including one of the largest ever Optiscreen systems ever erected - 78sq.m. Lighting was supplied by LSD, the 180-stack Nexo Alpha PA system was supplied by SSE and Laser Creations and Pyro Production were responsible for the lasers and special effects.
Star Hire (Event Services) has expanded its hire fleet with the addition of a further CS 10-08 mobile trailer stage. The trailer, which erects to form a 10m by 8m stage, is the smallest of Star Hire's mobile stages, which also include the SS 11-09 and the CS 15-12.
Stageline, the mobile stage specialist, has formed an agreement with Pitstop Barriers Ltd, in order to offer customers in the UK and Ireland a single source for the companies' combined products and services. The complete Stageline product range is now available through Pitstop Barriers for short-term hire, long-term rental or purchase. Products include the SL and SAM series of staging products, as well as the soon-to-be-launched SL100 'smart' mobile stage - a 24ft by 20ft mobile unit with multiple applications.
Penn Fabrication Inc was responsible for the 20ft diameter Christmas wreath which was installed on The White House in Washington DC. Designer Robert Isabel used Penn's 10 inch box truss system to construct a strong, rigid structure that would withstand the elements but also be relatively lightweight and easy to work with. Sapsis Rigging of Philadelphia, PA were responsible for the installation using cranes to lift the massive wreath onto the second storey portico of The White House.
A new system to enable lighting and electrical crew to gain access to overhead rigs in theatres is being manufactured by Tomcat UK. The system, called CES Trolley Truss, was designed by Colin Smith, the head of lighting for Opera North, based at the Grand Theatre in Leeds. Smith developed the system as an alternative to other methods of access, such as Tallescopes, which are the subject of further safety restrictions as well as to be a cheaper option to existing forms of flown bridge. Opera North itself changed its entire rig to the system over a year ago, and Smith says the time-saving has been remarkable. Another recent convert to the system has been Scottish Opera, who have been very pleased with the results.
Le Mark has appointed NDC as its dealer in Switzerland. The company, run by Nicholas de Courten, will handle the full range of Le Mark products. It already has strong ties with the major TV studios, theatre and production companies across Switzerland and is looking to expand into the conference and exhibition markets. NDC's appointment follows a series of new appointments by Le Mark including that of Strong In Spain.
PLASA Publishing has learnt that London-based staging specialist Maltbury has sold its hire division to Gallowglass of West London. With sales accounting for more than 70% of the company's turnover, it was felt the time was right to concentrate on the core market, say Maltbury. MD Philip Sparkes told us: "The hiring of staging is labour intensive and Gallowglass is a specialist crewing company, so it's an extremely logical deal." The two companies will continue to work together on various projects to provide the most effective solutions for clients.
David Edelstein, MD of truss and track specialist Triple E, collected the award for Widget of the Year at this year's LDI Awards ceremony. He told PLASA Publishing: "It was a complete surprise and we are absolutely delighted that UniRing has been awarded this accolade!"Created for Triple E's Royal Opera House project, UniRing is a specially designed plastic ring which enables borders and legs to be clipped directly into Triple E's own aluminium track sections. No more tying knots: to attach borders and legs on bars, staff simply twist them in, saving a great deal of time during change arounds.
PCM's next five-day Rigging School will run during the week of 21- 25 February 2000.This underscores PCM's total commitment to training and follows its very recent announcement of the expansion in its two-day Lodestar Motor School programme which is running throughout2000. Once again, it will uniquely be run on a non-profit making basis - the first such course of itskind to be constructed around this principle.PCM has been running Motor Schools to enlighten owners, users and specifies of the Columbus McKinnon Lodestar motor since 1993. PCM will team up with five other like-minded companies - Columbus McKinnon, Vertigo Rigging, James Thomas Engineering, MAN Flying Systems and Rope Assemblies, all of which will combine to offer a fully comprehensive week of tuition with hands-on participation covering all aspects of rigging. Vertigo Rigging will run the rigging section; James Thomas Engineering will conduct seminars and construction sessions on trussing and ground support systems; MAN Flying Systems will teach the basics of PA rigging; Rope Assemblies' Mike Curtis will explain health and safety regulations including LOLER. Equipment inspection, a requirement of the LOLER regulations will also be covered.For further details, please contact John Jones on 0151 609 0101
The SuperStructure from the Pure Group is a new mobile venue, designed to the highest construction standards and developed by the Group to provide another link in the chain of the Total Production Solution offered by the Company. The SuperStructure measures 65 metres long by 14 metres wide and features 14 styled arches, each with a uniformly distributed weight loading of two tonnes - more equivalent to a permanent venue specification. There is 8.5 metres of headroom at the top of the arches which have 4.8 metre centres - again far more than you'd normally expect in a tented structure. The Group turned to the engineering and design skills of James Thomas Engineering to construct the arched roof framework for the new venue. The result is the first such arched outdoor roofing system that Thomas has built.
Now in its twelfth year, the biennial Linbury Prize for Stage Design offers the UK's most promising stage design graduates an opportunity to work with some of the country's leading professional companies. An exhibition of designs by shortlisted prize contenders can currently be seen in the Lyttelton Exhibition Foyer until the 8 January 2000. Up to 12 graduates are exhibiting scale models, sketchbooks, plans and costume designs. Judges this year include Richard Hudson, who has designed extensively for productions in the UK and abroad, Tim Hatley, who has worked for theatre, opera and dance and Vicki Mortimer who has worked on a variety of productions for both the West End and Broadway.
Adlib Audio have bought 12 one-tonne Lodestar hoists from PCM that have just made their debut flying the PA on the recent, highly-successful arena tour by Scottish band Texas.The deal was completed during PLASA 99 by Adlib's Dave Kay and PCM's John Jones. Adlib also bought two PCM's four-way motor controllers. These Lodestars join Adlib's existing stock. Dave Kay comments that they went for Lodestars because they are the industry standard and he believes they are the most reliable motor on the market.Kay completed one of PCM's Motor schools three years ago which he found very useful for learning the fundamentals of the machine. However, the motors have also proved so solid and robust that Adlib have never had occasion to dismantle or repair them. On Texas, Adlib's Lodestars were used to suspend their Martin Wavefront PA system which was engineered by Andy Dockerty at front-of-house with Marc Peers on monitors.
PCM has announced its first CM Lodestar Motor School training session of 2000, to be held on January 25th and 26th at PCM's base in Wirral, UK.The course 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. There will also be a seminar on truss safety and usage and discussion on the requisite safety issues of the professional rigging industry. As usual, the two-day course will be free of charge to all participants, who will just need to travel to The Wirral and cover their hotel costs.
PCM is expanding its popular two-day Motor School training courses designed to offer attendees a comprehensive, hands-on overview of CM Lodestar motors. The company has traditionally run its annual Motor Schools in the week following the PLASA Show in September, but demand is now so high that training will be available all year round. Four Motor Schools per year will now be run at PCM's facility in Prenton, Wirral, commencing in January. PCM's drive to promote training is further enhanced by their five-day Rigging School, the first UK venture to be run on a no-profit basis. Following the first Rigging School, attended by 58 people, in July this year, bi-annual Rigging Schools are planned for 2000, with the first one scheduled for February.
A new company has been launched to enhance Denmark's position in the lighting and truss manufacturing market. SeeLite merges together the activities of three companies - Paradise Tour Production Aps, Pan & Tilt A/S and Gøgler Lys Udlejning A/S and has been set up by Søren Nørgaard, Jens Lind, Frank Paulsen, Viggo Ladekjær, Leif Hellberg, Lars Nissen and Martin Corneliussen.
PCM hit the ground running after an incredibly successful PLASA and went straight into its autumn Motor School season. Responding to feedback from recent Schools, PCM reduced class numbers on the courses to enable two people to work on each Lodestar motor. Once again, the course was strengthened by James Thomas Engineering presenting a half day course on truss usage and how it integrates with motors. PCM's Motor School is fully compliant with the new LOLER regulations and at the end attendees are issued with a Certificate of Attendance which proves that they have been properly trained on the equipment.
Vertigo Rigging has completed the rigging of an intricate and complex art installation in the newly opened Challenge of Materials Exhibition at The Science Museum in South Kensington.Sculptor and designer Tom Heatherwick was commissioned to produce 'Materials House' a large exhibit measuring 6 x 3 metres and weighing 4.3 tonnes. The huge structure required raising and suspending from the ceiling of the exhibition. Ground support towers were built over the sculpture; the front of the sculpture was lifted first, whilst the back tracked along a rail, using base jacking wheels, specially fabricated by Vertigo. At this point the back of the piece needed to slot into a specially welded base plate in the floor, a millimetre-perfect manoeuvre achieved by jacking the wheels down at the correct point and time, thus lowering the sculpture into its grooves.