Lighting designer Patrick Woodroffe first visited the BouncE Streetdance Company in Sweden in 2000, with the troupe’s management and producers, to guage the potential for a major international production of the highly-rated company’s work. Woodroffe recalls: "We saw that we could translate what they were doing into something even more exciting. Les Brotherston became involved as designer and came up with this wonderful set design for the Roundhouse, on the understanding that Bounce would first do production rehearsals in Ealing, then a six-week run of the show in Sweden before moving to London."
Brotherston’s set has a wide central stage and two raised ‘satellite’ side stages are backed by a wire fence. There’s a stark and decrepit inner city look, replete with rusty scaffolding and a mélange of gangways, ladders and the meshed back wall. "We aimed for the rawness and toughness of the street settings, combined with the smooth and textured theatrics of a proper musical," explains Woodroffe. "The scenery and netting backdrops were lit using Par cans with scrollers down below, and architectural floods made specially to top and front light it. Then we used 10 of the new VL2416 wash lights and 23 VL6B luminaires for the profiles, some of which were built into the scenery, and six VL5 luminaires. For the giant factory windows we installed doubled-up Par cans. A whole series of MR16s light specifics on the satellite stages, and MR16 battens produce the back wall flood effect, along with an R&V projector and big fresnels to punch the light through the revolving fans." The whole show is run from a Wholehog desk, programmed by Dave Hill, with Vari-Lite crew chief Ian Bagshot. Vari-Lite also supplied hundreds of conventional lights, including ETC Source 4 Pars, HMI fresnels, tungsten fresnels and all of the rigging, the latter supervised by Mark Stitfall. A recurring lighting theme - revisited at various points in the show - is the set’s own industrial look, in which tones of rust, a creamy ochre and a thick, buttery, gold texture pervade.
Providing the audio are Autograph Sound Recording, sound designer Nick Lidster, production sound engineer Ken Hampton and sound engineer Steve Ellis. The sound system has to convey the sheer energy and muscle of the troupe using almost entirely CD-based source material - the only live components being Sennheiser radio vocal microphones and a tap dance platform fitted with four Barcus-Berry pickups. Lidster specified a combination of compact cabinets, with XTA digital loudspeaker processors used to fine-tune the combination’s coherent sound. The main left and right flown system is a pair of six-speaker columns of dV-Dosc. Under the stage are two Meyer Sound DS-2 mid-bass and four Martin WSX subwoofers, with six Meyer UPM1s providing front-fill.
Loudspeaker EQ, delay and crossover facilities are provided by XTA DP226 processors for the sub bass and foldback, and XTA DP200 processors for the WSX and MSL2 cabinets. The set-up of the processors was carried out in the auditorium using a laptop running XTA’s AudioCore software, controlled by stylus from a Fujitsu tablet via a WaveLan radio link. "The XTA units are very neutral-sounding," commented Lidster, "and have a vast EQ range, and you have delay, EQ and crossover functions in one unit, which is superb. The XTA technology provides a great deal of flexibility and control from just one unit.
"dV-Dosc is a very tight, directional line array source, but in order to achieve the required levels of low mid and bass, associated with dance and hip hop music, I chose a combination of subs, Meyer Sound DS-2s and USW-1s, together with Martin Audio WSXs, to generate sufficient power right up to the low end of the dV-Dosc." The whole system is powered by Lab Gruppen amplifiers with a Ya