The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) is one of the UK’s largest universities with a student and staff community approaching 38,000. It became the first UK modern Higher Education institution to appear in the QS World University Rankings and has over 400 undergraduate courses. The campus also has a range of state-of-the-facilities to accommodate its students learning. White Light recently sold UCLan a range of the latest lighting equipment for its numerous performing art spaces.
WL worked closed with Stephen Cooke, who is the Technical Manager for UCLan’s four performance spaces, along with several dance, television, radio and recording studios. He explains: “The main driver behind the purchase was environmental sustainability and the need to replace ageing lighting stock. UCLan has implemented an Environmental Management System which ensures legal compliance with UK and European environmental legislation. Last July, we began a project to evaluate the feasibility of using LED lighting technology and our research we carried out revealed an impressive range of products which suited our needs and which gave a power demand saving of around 80% when compared with our existing lighting fixture stock. Cost savings associated with room cooling and ventilation caused by the thermal gain associated with conventional halogen theatre lanterns were also a factor”.
It was during this time that Stephen first approached WL to assist with the purchasing of new equipment. He comments: “WL provided an invaluable service and Jonathan Haynes and the team were attentive and knowledgeable and went the extra mile to provide supplier visits from not only WL themselves but also ROBE, Aytron and Chauvet to us here in Preston. This element of our research provided us with essential hands on experience with equipment in the environment where it was going to be used and gave us confidence to make the right decisions when it came to making the purchase”.
This first phase of purchases included equipment for UCLan’s TV Studio, a Dance Studio and their main theatre venue: St Peter’s Arts Centre, which is a converted church. Stephen explains: “The Greenbank TV Studio supports BA (Hons) Broadcast Journalism Students and provides a commercial standard TV News production environment to develop and hone their broadcast skills. This long standing, highly respected course has seen many student graduate and puruse successful careers with the major British broadcast companies. We drew on Arri and ETC fixtures to completely replace all existing halogen based lighting”.
WL supplied the main Dance Studio with a range of ROBE and ETC products to populate the existing grid. Stephen explains: “The Dance Studio supports the BA(Hons) course in Dance Performance and Teaching and an MA course in Somatic Dance so there is a strong need to create a specific ambience through light; something which these fixtures allow”.
St Peter’s Arts Centre, UCLan’s main production venue, has also benefited from replacement LED moving light fixtures from Robe and Ayrton. Stephen states: “The Arts Centre is a highly versatile production venue capable of staging productions in a conventional proscenium style, in the round, or in a thrust stage format. It also hosts fashion shows and live music events so requires the versatile light stock that WL was able to supply”.
With the installation now complete in the television studio, and almost complete in the other spaces, there has been an immediate notable difference. Stephen explains: “We have already noticed a difference in the quality of light output within the TV Studio and the ability to change the colour temperature of the fixtures is so advantageous when balancing LED screens in shot with skin tones on presenters. Safe to say our technical team are very happy!”.
This project marks another example of WL supplying drama schools and universities across the UK with the very latest lighting technology, having recently provided Guildhall School of Music and Drama with a brand new rig of ETC Lustr Series 2 LED fixtures, Royal Northern College of Music with new VL1000LED and Chauvet Maverick moving lights, and new EOS family consoles to RADA.
Jonathan comments: “As a company, we are able to work closely with educational institutions, listen to their needs and provide them with guidance and recommendation, with the added benefit of being able to supply all the latest technology from world renowned manufacturers in lighting, audio and video. The investment made at UCLan in this new kit will undoubtedly help the students over the course of their studies, opening their eyes to what they will expect to see once they go out into the wider world, as well as fulfil the university’s environmental aims”.
Stephen adds: “I have worked with WL over a number of years now and have always found the service professional, knowledgeable, prompt, obliging and friendly. Mix this with their competitive pricing of products and you have a company I would not hesitate to recommend to anyone needing a technical theatre solution”.
Photos courtesy of UCLan.