The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 5 December 2023
Sustainable Theatre - Bristol Old Vic has installed solar panels on its roof as part of its commitment to sustainability. A redevelopment in 2019 allowed the installation to happen, which was carried out by Solarsense. Productions and operations director David Harraway said: "The phase of refurbishment we completed five years ago helped ensure our building was working hard to be as sustainable as possible, but this was a missing piece until now."
He explained that previous renovations have seen the building install LED lighting, a community greenhouse, automated building management systems and passive ventilation, which all contributed to the venue’s commitment to sustainability.
Stephen Barratt at Bristol’s Solarsense said: "We pride ourselves on a solution-focused approach to buildings like the Bristol Old Vic. Working around an entire theatre set that arrived at the same time as we did or keeping the noise down while rehearsals were taking place ensured the show came first. But it didn’t get in the way of what we achieved during installation and are achieving on historic buildings all over the UK."
Size Matters - A 2,000-seat theatre is being planned for Swindon on the site of a bus station, with the town’s current performing arts venue described as “too small” by the council’s arts boss. Swindon Borough Council has plans to demolish the bus station on Manchester Road and move it to the new Fleming Way bus park in 2025 as part of a £30m scheme. A new theatre is proposed on the site of the bus station.
Wyvern Theatre, which has more than 600 seats and is located on Regent Street, is not fit for purpose and “too small”, according to the council’s cabinet member for arts and culture. Marina Strinkovsky said: "It is a concrete building, it was not built as a Regency building intended to last for 300 years and it is too small." However, council leader Jim Robbins said the council has no plans to knock down the Wyvern. He told the BBC: "We will keep it, and it will be a performing space and we hope it is well-used by community arts groups.”
Rocking On - When rock band Kiss played their final farewell concert in New York this weekend, they ended with a gesture that will ensure their digital immortality. As they left the stage at Madison Square Garden, the band were replaced by flying avatars who launched into the hit song God Gave Rock 'n' Roll to You.
The technology, originally developed for the Abba Voyage show, will allow them to stay on the road in retirement. Gene Simmons said the band could now be "forever young and forever iconic". Singer Paul Stanley added: "What we've accomplished has been amazing, but it's not enough. The band deserves to live on because the band is bigger than we are. It's exciting for us to go the next step and see Kiss immortalised."
The avatars were designed by George Lucas's special effects company Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) and financed by Swedish conglomerate Pophouse Entertainment, which is co-owned by Abba's Björn Ulvaeus. The companies previously collaborated on the ABBA Voyage show, which recreates a 1970s-era ABBA concert in a custom-built London arena. That show makes an estimated £2m per week.
However, Kiss's avatars seem unlikely to be as grounded in reality as ABBA's digital replicas. The characters that appeared in New York were 8ft tall, breathing fire and shooting electricity from their fingers, while floating above the audience.
(Jim Evans)
5 December 2023

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