Exeter colours Dreamcoat with Chauvet
Wednesday, 4 December 2019
dreamcoat1In the shadow of the pyramids
UK - A large pyramid-shaped scenic element defined the stage in the British Theatre Academy’s recent production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at London’s Compass Theatre.
The pyramid succeeded in conveying a sense of time and place, but thanks to a collaboration between the BTA’s artistic director Dean Johnson and lighting designer Andrew Exeter, it also did much more.
Constructed with six Chauvet Professional COLORdash Batten-Quad-12 fixtures, supplied by T&B Events, the distinctive triangular structure was used to create a flowing wave of colour changes that accentuated the powerful current of emotions running through this story of hope, betrayal, courage, and redemption.
“Dean and I have worked together on many projects,” says Exeter. “His concept for the set in this production called for having this giant pyramid act as a symbol of Egypt, then using it with colour to reflect the moods and character development of the protagonist, as well as the flavor of the different locations in the play. Based on experience, we knew that the COLORdash Battens could help us achieve this vision, so we hired them out from T&B Events.”
Using pixels and offsetting colour, Exeter focused different architectural looks on the COLORdash Batten-Quad 12 fixture to underscore different moods. “The colour of the pyramids’ battens mirrored the changes that took place in the play,” he says. “For example, we included blue by gold pixels for Joseph’s progression to ‘Pharaoh’s number two’ man. We also had a great many missing pixels in the battens for Joseph’s evil brother when he returned to Canaan and sang: ‘Canaan Days.’”
Although the pyramid occupied a prominent place on the stage, the transformative power of colour in Exeter’s design extended beyond this single scenic piece. He also relied on coloured backlighting from the battens as well as two Rogue R3 Wash fixtures, positioned stage left and stage right, to add impact to key moments in the play.
“I think this was the first show where we managed to use almost every colour in one song,” he says. “Joseph’s coat itself was an interesting number to light. We continuously relied on subtle colour changes to set the tone.”
(Jim Evans)

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