WOMADelaide 2016


Again Adelaide hosts this world class music event. Adelaide certainly knows how to host such major events and should be proud of what they do. They have a support structure in place that guarantees a smooth running event. From the WOMAD staff to the contractors that put up the fencing, do the catering, supply the staging, audio and lighting. There is a great variety of acts that cover a gamut of performance styles. There is something for everyone.
The surroundings for this major music festival are the Botanic Park, here on the lawns amongst the stately trees several stages are constructed, lights are rigged and clear, clean audio pumps out to an enthusiastic crowd. The audience are indeed very lucky to have one of the best music festivals in the country.
But what happens if the weather turns bad? This year we have had a bit of rain, which will make the ground rather soft and the atmosphere humid. These are challenges that I am sure they will take on the chin and work through the technical difficulties that these can present. It fact I am sure there is a document in a folder with a contingency plan for such an event. This is what good event management is about. Being prepared for anything and facing it head on.
So check back over the next few days as I post photos and words about this amazing event.

Humour: The Actor’s Vocabulary

ETERNITY: The time that passes between a dropped cue and the next line.

PROP: A hand-carried object small enough to be lost by an actor exactly 30 seconds before it is needed on stage.

DIRECTOR: An individual who suffers from the delusion that he/she is responsible for every moment of brilliance cited by the critic in the local review.

BLOCKING REHEARSAL: A rehearsal taking place early in the production schedule where actors frantically write down movements which will be nowhere in evidence by opening night.

DRESS REHEARSAL: The final rehearsal during which actors forget everything learned in the two previous weeks as they attempt to navigate the 49 new objects and set pieces that the set designer/director has added to the set at just prior to the DRESS REHEARSAL.

TECH WEEK: The last week of rehearsal when everything that was supposed to be done weeks before finally comes together at the last minute. This week reaches its grand climax on DRESS REHEARSAL NIGHT when costumes rip, a dimmer pack catches fire and the director has a nervous breakdown. See also Hell Week

SET: An obstacle course which, throughout the rehearsal period,defies the laws of physics by growing smaller week by week while continuing to occupy the same amount of space.

MONOLOGUE: That shining moment when all eyes are focused on a single actor who is desperately aware that if he forgets a line, no one can save him.

DARK NIGHT: The night before opening when no rehearsal is scheduled so the actors and crew can go home and get some well-deserved rest, and instead spend the night staring sleeplessly at the ceiling because they’re sure they needed one more rehearsal.

GREEN ROOM: Room shared by nervous actors waiting to go on stage and the precocious children whose actor parents couldn’t get a baby-sitter that night, a situation which can result in justifiable homicide.

DARK SPOT: An area of the stage which the lighting designer has inexplicably forgotten to light, and which has a magnetic attraction for the first-time actor. A dark spot is never evident before opening night.

HANDS: Appendages at the end of the arms used for manipulating one’s environment, except on a stage, where they grow six times their normal size and either dangle uselessly, fidget nervously, or try to hide in your pockets.

STAGE MANAGER: Individual responsible for overseeing the crew, supervising the set changes, baby-sitting the actors and putting the director in a hammerlock to keep him from killing the actor who just decided to turn his walk-on part into a major role by doing magic tricks while he serves the tea.

LIGHTING DIRECTOR: Individual who, from the only vantage point offering a full view of the stage, gives the stage manager a heart attack by announcing a play-by-play of everything that’s going wrong.

ACTOR [as defined by a set designer]: That person who stands between the audience and the set designer’s art, blocking the view. Also the origin of the word ‘blocking.’.

STAGE RIGHT/STAGE LEFT: Two simple directions actors pretend not to understand in order to drive directors crazy. (e.g. “…No, no, your OTHER stage right!!!!”)

MAKE-UP KIT: (1) [among experienced Theater actors]: a battered tackle box loaded with at least 10 shades of greasepaint in various stages of desiccation, tubes of lipstick and blush, assorted pencils, bobby pins, braids of crepe hair, liquid latex, old programs, jewelry, break-a-leg greeting cards from past shows, brushes and a handful of half-melted cough drops; (2) [for first-time male actors]: a helpless look and anything they can borrow.

FOREBRAIN: The part of an actors brain which contains lines, blocking and characterization; activated by hot lights.

HINDBRAIN: The part of an actors brain that keeps up a running subtext in the background while the forebrain is trying to act; the hindbrain supplies a constant stream of unwanted information, such as who is sitting in the second row tonight, a notation to seriously maim the crew member who thought it would be funny to put real Tabasco sauce in the fake Bloody Marys, or the fact that you need to do laundry on Sunday.

CREW: Group of individuals who spend their evenings coping with 50-minute stretches of total boredom interspersed with 30-second bursts of mindless panic.

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Individual willing to undertake special projects that nobody else would take on a bet, such as working one-on-one with the brain-dead actor whom the rest of the cast and crew (including the director) has threatened to take out a contract on.

SET PIECE: Any large piece of furniture which actors will resolutely use as a safety shield between themselves and the audience, in an apparent attempt to both anchor themselves to the floor, thereby avoiding floating off into space, and to keep the audience from seeing that they actually have legs.

That time of the Year

It is that time of the year that venue techs look forward to with glee. End of Year concerts and school presentations. Any end of year event that books into their local theatre. These are often treasured events of the client but they do not proceed in the way they would like for either the tech on duty or the client. The client is often tired by the end of the year and are also hoping when they walk in the door magic will happen and the venue has the latest and greatest effects and the solo technician can read their minds. Or the classic statement is “can we have what we had last year” – pity it is sometimes a different tech on duty this time around, or if it is the same tech they have done 100 shows since.
We have our ears assaulted on the headsets by teachers acting as stage managers, but still yelling at their students, people chewing crispy food on the headsets, singing along with the songs, dropping them on the deck as they rush off to help move sets or a prop – but forgetting to mute their mic, chatting with an irate mother, or generally bitching about others in the group. The headset does have a mic switch to mute the mic, and therefore the tech does not have to hear anything embarrassing conversations and retains their hearing.
The same popular music track is used a dozen different clients, the quality of the recording vary even though music is digital. Tracks borrowed from YouTube with its nasty compression, phones plugged into the pa with the soundtrack on them.
Dancers standing in front of sidelights throwing shadows across the stage on. Or the classic of hanging their costume change on a sidelight and it slowly melts as the show progresses. People not being able to find their light.

The father built sets that do not survive the trailer ride to the theatre. Glitter and streamers in the lights, drapes and seating at the end of each show. Half-drunk cans of fizz left on any surface that is available. Feathers clogging the vacuum in a quick change over. The left over socks and odd shoes at the end as the clients leaves the venue.
But do we refuse the work these show? Not really, there are often gems in some of these shows. Real talent that is worthy of the hard work we put ibn to these shows. And we also must remember that these could be the future stars that will keep us employed, they are worthy of our skills. We must remember the parents that have spent money on getting their kids train in one or more of the arts. The arts are what separate us from the other animals. So while the shows maybe tedious there is a point. And that point needs our support.

Allen & Heath Qu 16 Review

by Stephen Dean


I recently got my hands on a Qu 16 to use for a festival event. These are well known digital consoles from Allen and Heath and they are extremely popular. After using one I can see why they are popular. They are very intuitive to use whether coming from an analogue background or you are already familiar with digital consoles.
The first thing you notice is that they are a well-built unit and they are laid out in a logical manner. All of the channel parameters such as HPF, preamp, EQ are easy to hand. It is just a matter of selecting the channel and making adjustments.
The screen is all a touch screen and therefore you can access a whole range of parameters from here as well. Here you can set up the console in the way that you require. You have access to all of the parameters for all of the desks function. There is a rotary encoder below the screen to adjust parameters or you can use the screen or iPad. Also below the screen there is a function key to select certain functions, copy and paste keys and a reset key. Down the right side of the screen is buttons to access processing, routing, FX, Scenes, Set up and a Home key. These keys work in conjunction with what input or output you have selected to work on.
You have 2 fader layers and a custom layer. The 1st layer is all of the input channels, the 2nd is the stereos, effects etc. and the custom layer is for you to set how you like.
All of the functions are easily accessible on this range of desks. One button press and you are adjusting monitor sends, another you are looking after FX. This desk may have some limitations, but what you can do with it at this price point is amazing.

With the Qu 16 you have 4 user assignable softkeys, very useful for setting up favourite shortcuts.
The iPad app makes it even more versatile. First of it makes a bigger touch screen, great for those with bigger fingers and poor eyesight. The app proves very useful, if you cannot position the desk in your ideal mixing position.
In use I found this desk very easy to navigate. In fact for a first time user it would be a great starting point. The intuitive layout is a dream. From plugging in mics etc to getting a decent sound happening does not take very long. I was blown away on how easy it was to use and set up. For a lot of smaller bands or venues this would be an ideal desk, especially if you are moving from the analogue world. This desk will do a lot for its price point. It sounds great in use and you have a lot of power in a small footprint that you can cart around without a whole crew.
With the latest Chrome (1.82) software update you get a major update, with automatic mic mixing for those corporate gigs we get from time to time. Also extra aux outputs – as we all know we need extra from time to time.

Tech Summary
16 mono inputs
3 stereo inputs
4 stereo FX returns
16 Busses
12 Mix ouputs ( LR, Mono Mix 1 – 4, Stereo mix 1 – 3
4 FX engines
iLive FX Library
800 x 480 Touch Screen
dSnake Remote Audio port

The Technical Theatre Awards winners announced

(c) Alex Brenner, Technical Theatre Awards 2015

Tamykha Patterson – Technician and Greg Allen – Assistant Technical Manager from the New Wimbledon Theatre with their award

UK – The Technical Theatre Awards, which celebrates the achievements of people working behind the scenes, have announced their winners at a well-attended ceremony on the Sunborn Yacht during PLASA London 2015 hosted by Iain Gillie, Managing Director of PW Productions Ltd.

Now in its third year, the Technical Theatre Awards (TTAs) was established to give due credit to the often unsung heroes and heroines that work backstage to make the theatre magic happen.

The winners are (all shortlisted nominees are listed; the winners are in bold):

The “AdVision TV” Award for Outstanding Achievement in Wardrobe
Anna Edwards McConway (Winner)
Tony Priestley
Jessica Houghton

The “Charcoalblue” Award for Venue Sustainability
New Wimbledon Theatre (Winner)
Arcola Theatre

The “d&b audiotechnik” Award for Outstanding Achievement in Sound
David Gregory (Winner)
Ed Feguson
Alex Caplen
Chris Reid

The “Douglas Turnbull” Award for Outstanding Achievement in Company Management (Sponsored by Investec Opera Holland Park)
Katy Byrant (Winner)
Bernard Davies
Ba Penney
Nigel Pentland

The “eStage” Award for Outstanding Achievement in Stage Crew
Geoff Grint (Winner)
James Kazwini
John Hayel

The “ETC” receiving venue team of the year award
Theatre Royal Newcastle (Winner)
Royal Albert Hall
Gordon Craig Theatre
Regent Theatre Stoke-on-Trent
Harlow Playhouse

The “Philips” Award for Outstanding Achievement in Lighting
Andrew Murrell (Winner)
Andy Taylor
Tom Young
Graham Leesmith

The “Pigs Might Fly South” Award for Outstanding Achievement in Wigs & Makeup
Craig Forrest (Winner)
Stefan Musch
Linda Halpin

The “PRG” Award for Outstanding Achievement in Production Management
Gary Beestone (Winner)
Kieron Docherty
Stewart Crosbie
Jim Leaver

The “PW Productions” Award for Outstanding Achievement in Prop Making
Robin Morgan (Winner)
Gary Hardy-Brown
Paul Brown

The “Rigging Team” Award for Outstanding Achievement in Automation
The Twins FX (Winner)
David Greatex
Richard Willcox
Musa Halimeh

The “Robe” Hire Company Team of the Year Award
Showforce (Winner)
LUX Technical
Quantum Special Effects Group

The “Triple E” Award for Outstanding Achievement in Flys & Rigging
Tony Miles (Winner)
Mario colaluca

The “USITT” Award for Outstanding Achievement in Scenic Artistry
Steve Arnott (Winner)
James Rowse
Richard Nutborne

The “Design Software Solutions” Award for Outstanding Achievement in Education
Sara Scott (Winner)
Martin Hodgson
Oliver Brown

The “GDS” & “SMA” Award for Outstanding Achievement in Stage Management
Robert Clayton (Winner)
Jack Wigley
Matthew Cullun
Pippa Meyer

The “SNP Productions” Award for Outstanding Achievement in Media Server Programming
Jon Lyle (Winner)
Nick Malbon

The “Total Solutions Group” Award for Outstanding Achievement in Set Construction
Dave Simmons (Winner)
Davy Thayer
Ricky Parr

The TTAs announced nominees for its 2015 awards in June, as voting opened during the ABTT Theatre Show in London.

Fifty-nine individuals and venues were nominated across 18 awards covering all disciplines of technical theatre. According to organisers, more than 1,500 people registered, submitting votes for the awards online.

“We’re delighted with the success of the third Technical Theatre Awards and would like to thank everyone who nominated and came to the ceremony to celebrate the incredible work of so many,” says founder and organiser, Ian Taylor. “Over the past three years the TTAs has received an ever growing amount of support from both individuals and the industry as a whole. As we continue to develop and improve the awards them look to the industry to get involved in supporting and shaping the future of the awards. As we develop relationships with industry associations and organisations we hope to continue to improve the nomination, shortlisting and voting process. These awards are for people working in the industry, created and operated by the industry, and we hope they will continue to grow and become an invaluable asset.”

The awards ceremony took place on Monday 5th October at 8pm on The Sunborn Yacht during PLASA London, which took place at ExCeL.


Quickie Review – Martin Rush PAR 2 RGBW Zoom

Rush Par 2

I recently managed to get my hands on a couple of these LED fixtures from Martin. These LED fixtures that are being released are getting better all of the time. These fixtures in particular are very well made, they felt solid and robust. The light output was pretty good and intense for a lot of smaller spaces. The 12 x 10watt RGBW LEDs are very good at putting out useful amount of light. These fixtures have a motorised zoom function from 10deg to 60 degrees and it is a very usable beam range. The electronic dimming was also extremely good; it was very smooth through the whole range.
The fixture is very easy to set up; there is a rear panel through which you can access all of the parameters of the fixture. It only consumes 8 channels of DMX. It can also be left to run in a stand-alone mode – which can be set up from the rear panel. You can also set the white balance from the rear panel so that you can match more closely other fixtures in your lighting rig. As with most fixtures these days it has strobe and pulse effects.
In use this fixture is easy to rig, at only 5.5kgs it is not a chore to rig. All the controls at the rear are easy to access. Power in is through a PowerCon connector with a loop through connect so that you can chain several together. DMX data in and through is 5pin XLR as per the standard for DMX. There is no provision for 3 pin Power consumption is around 150watts.
I found it very easy to set up and use these fixtures. The output is very nice and reasonable punchy on the stages I have been using them on. They give good stage coverage, fast response. Ideal for small to medium size venues that need decent wash or backlight.

For more information, follow this link http://www.martin.com


HARMAN Martin Professional’s VDO Sceptrons Frame the Stage for Mumford & Sons’ World Tour

Mumford & Sons

Mumford & Sons

AARHUS, Denmark – Since forming in 2007, British band Mumford & Sons has toured the world almost non-stop. Now setting out again to showcase their third album, the band’s Lighting and Production Designer, Ed Warren, selected HARMAN Martin® Professional VDO Sceptron 10s and MAC QuantumTM Washes to make their live show even more immersive and experiential.

Warren developed a captivating new design specifically for the new album, Wilder Mind. He immersed himself in Mumford & Sons’ music until it resonated in his mind¬–he even played the band’s music while sleeping. “Designing is a very fluid process for me. I don’t force it,” says Warren. “When I’ve visualized my first thoughts and I feel like I’m in the right zone, the concept starts to take shape.”

In the initial stages, Warren presented his ideas to the band using mood boards. They liked it and when finalized, he submitted his design to UK rental company NEG Earth, along with a product specification list. After reviewing Warren’s list, Caroline Beverley, Project Manager, NEG Earth, suggested using the new VDO Sceptrons from Martin Professional as an alternative to the fixtures specified. Beverley said they would be perfect for Warren’s design, and when Warren saw them he was easily persuaded.

“The VDO Sceptrons were perfect for what we wanted to do,” says Warren. “As some of the concerts happen during daylight, I needed fixtures with a good color output and brightness. The Sceptrons do just that–even in bright sunshine.”

The VDO Sceptrons play a leading role in the design where they frame the stage and trusses. The fixtures are mounted onto the downstage edges and the two risers, and along the vertical lines of ten towers upstage. Side trusses and three U-shaped trusses above the band are also lined with VDO Sceptrons, adding a futuristic look to the show. Although capable of displaying video content, Warren uses the VDO Sceptrons in simple RGB mode on four channels. This design ended up suiting Mumford & Sons very well. The VDO Sceptrons and the MAC Quantum Washes are mixed in with older fixtures, comparable to the band’s traditional vibe from previous albums and their new, rockier synth-based material.

Warren believes in creating an experience for an audience. he wants to immerse the audience in every show he produces and make every fan feel at one with the band and the performance.

“The art of lighting design is to support and reflect what the band is trying to evoke with their music without distracting from it,” says Warren. “You want to complement the music and stir the audience as much as possible, but you need to respect that people have come to see the band¬–not necessarily the light or laser show.”

The VDO Sceptrons support Warren’s approach to lighting design as they add both depth and dimensionality to the stage. This way, the stage jumps out spatially and is not just a flat object at one end of the venue. Also on tour with Warren and Mumford & Sons are 16 MAC Quantum Washes that Warren uses to backlight the band and the stage and light through the open risers.

“They’re great lights,” says Warren. “Just like the Sceptrons they perform very well and stand up against daylight with great colors.”

Mumford & Sons will be touring until the end of 2016.

Martin Equipment
• VDO Sceptron 10, 159 pcs.
• MAC Quantum Wash, 16 pcs.

Lighting Design: Ed Warren
Rental company: NEG Earth
Chief Electrician: Adam ‘Moonunit’ Morris
Production Manager: Steve Gordon

For more information on Mumford & Sons, please visit: http://www.mumfordandsons.com/

For more information on NEG Earth, please visit: http://www.negearth.com/

For more information on Martin please visit: www.martin.com.

Mumford & Sons

Mumford & Sons