This is a great initiative to save our industry. One that we all need to get behind. Over the last 18 months or so it has been a real struggle for those employed in the entertainment industry. This includes performers, designers, lighting, audio, stage manager, ticket sellers. Everyone in the industry has been impacted. Whether you are in a lockdown state or not, the industry Australia wide has been hit. There has been little help from the government to keep going. The only way to survive seemed that we need to become a football team and we could then do what we want.

This is self-funded campaign by the industry, there is no government support. The so-called government support has gone to the large commercial companies, the small companies, theatre collectives, small venues etc have received no additional help to continue. I know from personal experience that I may not be around much longer in this industry. Work has dried up, so the sooner people get fully vaccinated the sooner we can return to work. We can go full steam ahead with being creative and getting audiences and enjoying our efforts.

For more info, click the link


Theatre Safe Australia (TSA) Continues Scenery Workshop Legacy at Adelaide Festival Centre

21 July 2021 – Stolen from TSA website

Theatre Safe Australia (TSA) is excited to announce the addition of an advanced scenery workshop to our operation from 1 August 2021. Formerly operating under the ownership of the Adelaide Festival Centre Trust, the workshop in South Australia has been the country’s leading commercial set builder, handling 65% of all theatrical scenery work in Australia. Striving always to build out complementary arms of our business, TSA is headquartered in the Gold Coast and is one of Australia’s major suppliers of entertainment and theatre technology.

From August 1, Theatre Safe Australia will commence to operate a scenery workshop in the former Adelaide Festival Centre premises at Regency Park, South Australia.

Theatre Safe Australia will continue the legacy of Adelaide Festival Centre’s Scenery Workshop, employing many former Adelaide Festival Centre staff, the workshop will continue to provide high-quality scenic builds to clients, adding the support of a dynamic young company focused on continued innovation in the industry. This new chapter for Theatre Safe Australia creates an operational team whose commitment to providing top tier service and high-quality solutions is matched with decades of experience and now, the ability to take a production fully from concept to reality by acquiring the facilities previously owned and operated by Adelaide Festival Centre Scenery Workshop.

The new TSA Scenery Workshop will complement the venue services, production support and product solutions that Theatre Safe Australia already provides within the Australian and worldwide market.

Director of Theatre Safe Australia, Stuart Johnston: “We are very excited to be bringing such a talented and experienced workshop on board and look forward to what the future will bring. TSA will continue to provide the high-quality services clients expect from both companies and use this expansion to continue to innovate with the technology available in the manufacturing and set construction space.”

Theatre Safe Australia (TSA) is an Australian based company that exists to create solutions for the entertainment industry. TSA is motivated by supplying, creating and designing theatrical automation and engineering solutions for our clients and providing service that exceeds expectation. We craft solutions to fit every aspect of the diverse industry in which we operate, from large scale productions and corporate events, to local and regional based companies, theatres and schools. TSA’s goal is to create a tangible difference to the quality and safety of production and events being created and delivered in Australia.

Since 1979 Adelaide Festival Centre has provided automation and scenery builds for productions including Phantom of the Opera, Matilda, Billy Elliot, Singing in the Rain, Hairspray, Cats and Moulin Rouge! as well as countless others. This prolific production history has been achievable though a workforce and a workshop that pride themselves on the quality of their build, an understanding of the changing dynamics of the entertainment and theatre industry and a willingness to always go above and beyond to fulfill producers and clients’ requirements.

Read more about the Scenery Workshop here.

Mobile Phone Saga

How many years have mobile phones been around? How many years have we been telling audiences to either turn them off or onto silence ot of respect to others. Yet the same thing keeps happening. The glow of phone screen as the house lights go down. People taking selfies with the set as a backdrop. Even people twitting or Facebooking during a show. Surely out audiences have not hot that dumb that they think it is thier right to use a phone during a stage production.

Are we going to have to put staff to check people have turned of their phones or maybe do what schools are starting to do. Collecting thier phones from audiences in the foyer before the show starts and then letting them retriving after the show.

It can not be that hard to remember to put phone on silent or turn it off. It also seems all age groups are guilty of this.

As much as we love audiences coming to see the art we produce they need to not destroy other peoples enjoyment of the event. Besides the phone issue, there are the people chatting during an intense scene on stage or even replying. Must not forget the noisy eaters, this is not just something that happens in the cinema.

So if you are one of the audience that ae guilty please stop, be mindful of others.

Working for Exposure

As the local arts festivals get closer and companies are busy rehearsing their productions, the “would you work for free” rears its ugly head. We see this every year; the cast is being paid and suddenly they realise that they need a lighting/audio operator, and they hope to get one for free. Exposure if offered as an incentive to them, exposure might create more work, but it does not pay the bills.
Now if the show is a true amateur production, everybody doing it for love and as a hobby, I do not have an issue with them have someone keen to do the lighting and audio. It is a great way for them to learn and the social aspects are great. But when it comes to shows where the cast are paid, either profit share or award rates, and they are expecting techs to work for nothing, that is totally wrong. This becomes an “us and them” situation. It is very demeaning to the tech who has spent and money learning their craft like actors do. Then they join a show and be the only ones not getting paid. They need to be on an equal footing, all getting something or all getting nothing.
There is a mentality among a very small minority of companies that techs are happy with just the acknowledgment. The concept of getting exposure is a falsehood. Exposure of this kind basically indicates that you are willing to work for free and you will most likely not get any paid work. It should be up to the technicians to decide if they want to offer their services for free, and that would be most likely to amateur companies. I have done the same, there is a couple of amateur companies I am happy to do the job for nothing.
These companies often use the line “we did not budget for someone, it was an error” or “we did not know we needed a tech” when they hire a venue. All venues would have this in the standard terms and conditions.
So, if you are a tech and they offer you a gig, for the exposure and fun, but everybody else is getting a cut – SAY NO

Adelaide Fringe 2021

So the Adelaide Fringe next year will look a lot different. A lot fewer acts, about 800 it seems compared to the usual 1100. This could mean more audience to see them, they won’t be spread thinly on the ground.. The Garden and RCC will be much smaller, with fewer venues. Does mean less work for some of the techs, hopefully only SA techs will be used in preference to any that travel from interstate to work. Let’s keep it really South Australian, and make it exciting. Audiences may be asked to buy the empty seats to help artists and venues. We will be at 50% capacity at least, though maybe it would be wonderful if this increased. The average 42% of houses are sold. So we just need the public to spend a couple of extra dollars and get it to 50%.

The only thing we don’t want to see is acts trying to underpay their support staff. Especially using the excuse that COVID has made it hard to pay techs etc. It is hard for everybody, but they all need to be paid. This is rare but it does happen. I have been asked to work for nothing as the exposure would do my career good. The answer was NO. I don’t think this artist will be in 2021 Fringe.

We all need to work together and make this a great Fringe. Small does not mean lesser. Let’s make it one too remember for years to come. Let’s tell our friends, family, and workmates to open their wallets and buy a ticket of 2 to see some great Fringe shows and remember the Fringe is all around the city, not just at one or two locations.

Bring on the Fringe and to hell with COVID.

Audio Magic Part 1

As an audience, we sit there immersed in the show, and the sound washes over us. The audio seems so perfect we don’t really notice it, as good audio should be. Why is the audio so good, surely it is just sound effects and music. This is the art of the sound designer, to build an audio track that complements the show and lifts it that extra mile.

So what is involved in making that magic sound effect. Often it is not just enough to record the actual sound and just play it back. Often a recording does not sound right. So why does it not sound right? and what needs to be done?

Often when we hear a sound we also have a series of visual cues that supplement what we hear, we also have the memory of sounds in our mind and we are comparing what we hear with this other data. So the audio designer will tweak the audio, maybe add some effects, maybe make a sound that sounds similar but works better.

Now if this sound effect is there to build a mood within the show. The sound designer might add various effects etc to set the mood. Maybe a drone underneath the show to put the audience on the edge. Or add unusual elements into the sound to trigger a response within the subconscious memory of the audience. This might be a sound that is discordant to the action on stage.

This is all part of the audio design. So how does the audio designer approach a show and decide on the the form of the soundtrack that will complement the directors vision.

First off, read the script a few times, get it under your skin. Next how preliminary discussions with the director on what direction they think the audio should go. You both need to work together and be on the same page. If it is going to be loads of conflict maybe it is not the right production for you to design. So once you have talked through with the director it is time to go back through the script and work out your basic ideas and lay down some basic tracks and effects. This will help to consolidate the ideas and hear what may or may not work. Then off to the director for their thoughts on the initial audio.

NEXT part – Music and putting effects together.

Double Standards

In South Australia, we are seeing the return of theatre. But only the state-run theatre company at a state-funded venue. It seems no other venue is really open, and there are no stage productions or musicals happening.

The main reason that some of the other venues are not staging shows is the fact we have the 1 person per 2 square metre rule and people need to stay 1.5metres apart. Okay, that does sound reasonable until you realize that the State Theatre production at the newly refurbished Her Majesty’s theatre is running at 50% capacity. That seems to works out to less than 1.5-metre distance and 1 person per 2 square metres. The audience here is arms-length from each other, sitting in a checker-board pattern.

So how is this occurring? Now some of the other venues can run shows at reduced capacity, but it is a lot less. The capacity works out at around 25%. Some shows might happen soon, but most are waiting for the time we can increase the audience numbers.

If you use the online calculator you can work out the area and the total number of people allowed into a venue, but staff are not included in this number. Theatre is a defined public activity and there according to the SA government website

The density requirement of 1 person per 2 square metres applies for Defined public activities. The maximum number of attendees at a place of business will be determined by its size.
These requirements apply only to patrons, not staff.

So why does there seem to be different standards for the various venues? Are other large venues around 500 seats doing the 1 person per 2 square metres and 1.5metre apart? Why does the state government not release any information on a way out for SA’s art industry? Why are they not supporting the Arts Industry, why is there not a visible Department for the Arts? As a theatre technician and lighting designer, I would love to get back to work, I would like to know what the roadmap is for our industry.

We have an audience waiting to return to venues around SA and the rest of Australia. If you read the Audience Outlook Snapshot you will see that there is a growing trend of people wanting to return to see live theatre. In fact, they seem to be comfortable id they could return to some of the smaller venues of under 250 seats. Though there have been some comments of people enjoying a little extra space to sit in. So that is one blessing. I have included a link to this document below.

So hopefully soon we will see each other in a venue near you.

Antari Lighting and Effects USA Releases Air Guard Line, Awarded FDA Registration

This could be very relevant to the Australian market. A lot of venues could use this devices to clean thier venues.

Antari Lighting and Effects USA, best known for its extensive lines of fog machines, has recently been awarded FDA Registration for its product collection of antibacterial fogging machines, Air Guard.

The Air Guard system vaporizes an area with sanitizing vapor. This vapor penetrates hard to reach areas, leaving a thin, non-residue, coating on surfaces for continuous protection that lasts up to two weeks.

The machines are used in conjunction with Air Guard FLE Antibacterial Solution, which effectively removes fungi, germs, viruses, dust mites, and even neutralizes bad odors. The FLE fluid is registered with the FDA as effective against SARS-CoV-2, also known as COVID-19. It has also been independently tested by accredited labs, such as TUV and Super Lab.

Air Guard was announced in late 2019 before the threat of coronavirus reached the United States and has since become a staple product for Antari USA, which has been shipping the products since March 2020.

“The Air Guard product has been incredibly successful for us, finalizing our FDA registration will serve to boost the confidence in our product as a means to keep oneself and their loved ones safe and healthy. Our hope is that our entertainment customers can find ways to use the product to keep themselves working in this difficult time,” said Ray Villasenor, Antari USA’s General Manager.

There are several Air Guard machines available for various applications from Automotive to Commercial Buildings, including the following:

Air Guard AG-20
The AG-20 is the first product under the Air Guard umbrella to feature a rechargeable battery to allow the machine to sanitize small to medium spaces when a traditional power source is not available. It’s ideal for tents, cars, boats, planes, and offices.

Air Guard AG-800
The AG-800 is effective in sanitizing small locations such as automobiles, offices, doctors’ offices, and more. It operates with the simple press of a button or using a wireless remote.

Air Guard AG-1500
The AG-1500 offers a high-outburst blast to spread fog and effectively and efficiently fill a room. This model is designed for medium to large spaces, such as banks, post offices, classrooms, nightclubs, and restaurants.

Air Guard AG-3000
The AG-3000 is ideal for large venues such as houses of worship, theatres, and conference centers offering fast and efficient results.

The Air Guard line of disinfectant vapor machines is distributed through Antari USA.

# # #
About Antari Lighting and Effects USA:
Based in California, Antari Lighting and Effects USA, is one of the leading manufacturers of entertainment products specializing in fog machines. Continually developing new products to meet customers’ expectations and with an emphasis on meeting important environmental concerns, Antari is committed to quality control and a hard-driving work ethic. For more information, please visit:

Antari Lighting and Effects USA
1247 Enterprise Ct.
Corona, CA, 92882, USA

Her Majesty – Gleaming again

Feels comfortable like slippers, but also has that nice new car feel. The “refurbished” theatre is a nice space. It feels like a new theatre but still hangs onto its atmosphere. From the old dressing room walls that were signed by visiting artists that have been re-laid as a tribute to the old Her Majesties as you come through the scene dock door. The number of seats has increased to 1500. The stage area is a little larger.

As we were reminded there is a bar on every level of the foyer. The foyers are rather beautiful, as you look up you will see a tintype ceiling based on the original tintype ceiling. There is plenty of wood used in the foyer and auditorium that gives a nice wall feel to the space.
Audience seating is wonderfully comfortable, and the view from the seating of the stage is great. Even on the second balcony, the view of the stage is particularly good.
All the dressing rooms are new, bright, and airy. The rehearsal room is well designed. There is a decent green room. Also, a wardrobe room with plenty of natural light, in fact, some of the offices for the production team have natural light.
There is a ton of new gear and future-proofing within the venue. Streaming ACN for the lighting which is driven by ETC consoles such as a GIO. These drive some 600 channels of Jands Dimmers. Each channel 2.4kW. The dimmer room is a fine example of cable porn, all the cabling so well done by the installers, it will be a dream to fault find.

Lighting is a mixture of fixtures, from ETC Lustre fixture and traditional incandescent fixtures. The bridges give a great coverage from FOH. In fact, from a lighting designers’ point of view the whole lighting set up is very versatile. I reckon it would not be that hard to rig your custom lighting design. Each patch point is hardwired to a dimmer.
The audio is also great. Sound is available throughout the auditorium. The main FOH is the Adamson Line array. Each speaker has a dedicated amp. The console is a Yamaha. Plenty of patching options are available.
Overall this is a great venue that SA should be proud of.

Even thought there were some folks not happy that it seems to be a new building with the façade retained, it is very worthy. Larger foyers, more and better seating and enhanced technical service and cast amenities it is up there with the best theatres in the world.

It may as well be Rocket Science to me

A director’s musing on lighting and audio
By Angela Short

When I was at Drama School in London, the “Turns” and the “Techie’s” were kept quite separate until the 2nd year when we had to do a Stage Management Module. It was like a kind of “Wife Swap” where we had to learn about “the dark side” and the techies got to be Luvvies. Prior to this I had no experience or knowledge of how this magical team did what they did. The idea behind this was so that since we would be out of work most of the time (they called a spade a spade at Mountview Conservatoire of Performing Arts) if we had the skills to be ASM’s or spotlight operators we would at least be able to pay the bills. We were also told that the only time of the year everyone should be employed was Panto season. If you weren’t employed in any capacity in panto then perhaps you needed to rethink your future. Sorry, I digress, but writing this has brought back a lot of memories.
I remember being Stage Manager for Panto in Chesterfield. It was Aladdin. We had a flying carpet and I swear I nearly had an aneurism 11 shows a week when the principal girl was clunkily raised up mid-song by hydraulics. It was after that I decided I was more cut out to be a Temp when I was “between jobs”.
Speeding forward 20 cough years later and I am directing as well as acting. This isn’t just being bossy to actors, as my husband thinks. It comes with a few more spokes in the wheel. One of those many spokes is Lighting and Sound. Well, that is two but both are still very much an enigma to me.
In Adelaide, there is a beautiful theatre on the grounds of Adelaide Uni called The Little Theatre (Picture a heart above the “I” as everyone who talks about it will give a little “ahhh” before they speak of it with such affection). It seats just 120 in a horseshoe shape. It has an onstage mezzanine level which is so versatile. I have been lucky enough to work with both Richard Parkhill and Stephen Dean separately at The Little Theatre. I first worked with Richard when I was in Much Ado About Nothing directed by Megan Dansie. We had grass on stage. Ooooh. That was cool enough but then Richard was able to create the ambiance of a summer’s day. And, I don’t know how he did it but it was actually an English summers day. In the same show, he created a dungeon for when the baddies were thrown in prison. It was believably claustrophobic and smelly. Same set, grass, but it didn’t look like it. Brilliant. Richard also lit Lettice and Lovage when I directed it in the same theatre. The first scene was an old falling apart National Trust property. It really did feel damp and cold.
I first met Stephen last year when Matt Chapman and I directed Seventeen for the Theatre Guild. Funnily enough we used the same grass. This play took place over 10 or so hours from 8pm on a summer’s night to dawn the next day, in Adelaide. This was beautifully done, with incorporated street and park sounds, seamlessly. The finale was the sunrise with a perfectly timed crescendo of music (a nod to Matt Chapman for syncing the actors with the music) with not a dry eye in the house.
For those of you who don’t know the Little Theatre the feet of the front row audience dangle over the edge of the stage. Both Stephen and Richard manage to almost erase them from view yet light the staircases, four of them, for action. As an actor the addition that audio and lighting make are huge, and yet all these years later I still don’t know how they do it. And do it they do and at the same time bring an unbelievable calmness and a font of knowledge, they share with ease, to the proceedings. I still don’t get that the actors prepare for anywhere between 8-12 weeks and yet once in the theatre, the technical crew are expected to put it together in a fraction of that time.
My father, an engineer, taught me to know my limitations. Go as far as you can but know when to call in the professionals. When I am directing a play I call in the professionals. Lighting and sound are, for me, just some of the “techie” areas I am in awe of. I prefer to hand over the play to the lighting designer to design. That is what they are so good at. Me? Well, between you and me, I still don’t know how to find my light. If I do…. it’s probably more through luck than skill. And so, I am grateful to those with the divine gifts to transform a little black box into something truly magical – the St Stephens and the St Richards of this world as I like to call them.