The show has gone on to become one of the most popular and successful musicals in the West End Billy Elliot (photo © Alastair Muir)
UK - 2015 marks 10 years since Billy Elliot the Musical first opened at the Victoria Palace Theatre, London. Following its first performance on 11 March 2005, the show has gone on to become one of the most popular and successful musicals in the West End. During the past decade, it has won numerous awards, opened in countries such as Australia and South Korea, and has branched out to nationwide tours across America and Canada. During its entire West End run, the show has only ever had one lighting supplier - complete production solution specialist White Light.

The musical has won four Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical. It also went on to win 10 Tony Awards, 10 Drama Desk Awards and a record-breaking seven Helpmann Awards in Australia. It has transferred to Broadway and earlier this year announced that it will embark on its first ever UK Tour, opening at Theatre Royal Plymouth in February 2016. White Light has been with the West End version of the musical during every stage of its success, having supplied all of the lighting on the show. White Light's Hire Manager Jedd Hamilton comments, "As the musical is so popular and seen by so many people, our main job is to ensure that it has the best equipment available to help enhance the audience's experience of what is a spectacular show".

Although the musical hasn't changed since its première back in 2005, the lighting set-up has had to adapt to the various advancements in lighting technology. Jedd comments, "Ten years is a long run for any show. During that time, we've had to change the operating system along with some of the moving lights". This has included a change in moving lights from Martin MAC 600s to Martin MAC TW1 and a change in operating systems from Strand 500 Series Lighting Console to ETC Ion Control Console. The changes in equipment have been made possible by the extensive stock range that White Light possesses.

Rick Fisher, the show's lighting designer, comments, 'It seemed to make sense to move the show onto a new platform that was receiving ongoing support from its manufacturer. We knew the Ion was more than capable of running the show, and we knew our supplier, White Light, had Ions available so it just became the obvious choice". James Nowell, head of lighting on the show, adds, "The new console immediately felt more responsive than our previous desk. It also allowed us to take advantage of the new facilities that Ion offered us, such as the scroller-calibration function and on-screen Magic Sheets."

(Jim Evans)

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