White Light has recently supplied the lighting equipment to West End Eurovision; an annual singing competition in which a range of West End shows compete against one another in a Eurovision-style contest in order to raise vital funds for the Make A Difference (MAD) Trust.
The MAD Trust is an organisation which works with its partners to support HIV and AIDS projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa, building awareness and providing care support and education. The first ‘Eurovision’ took place in 2008 at the Piccadilly Theatre. This year it was held at the Adelphi Theatre on Sunday 28th April and was lit by lighting designer Andrew Ellis.
Andrew comments: “West End Eurovision is meticulously planned down to the minute, with show production by Gareth Hulance from Cue2Cue Global and production management by John Rowland from ProdEM. That said, the bulk of the lighting work is done on the day in several very quick tech sessions! My task was to create a design that complemented the Eurovision theme, worked well with the in-house rig, was quick and simple to program as well as being flexible enough to allow for many different looks. My creative brief was to deliver something with a theatrical feel that emphasised the camp fun of the Eurovision Song Contest”.
Andrew worked closely with the production company and MAD’s directors to create his lighting package. He explains: “What I created allowed for some fun aerial effects with texture, movement, sweeps and audience blinders, a huge range of colours and some modelling of the space to help focus in on the performances. I chose kit that I knew well and thought would be reliable and easy to set up, while still offering the ‘blingy’ effects and tricks that this sort of event needs. Simon Arnold and the team at WL were very helpful in providing all the kit and infrastructure, which made putting the floor package together and getting everything up and working really simple and straightforward”.
Due to the fact that West End Eurovision was taking place around the main in-house show Waitress, this meant that Andrew’s biggest challenge was time. He explains: “There were seven acts which each had less than 10 minutes to plot, tech and run their pieces, so we had to be able to respond quickly to each show’s needs. Working with a representative from each cast and with my programmer Jack Ryan, we came up with a set of cues for each song. There was limited time to note and make corrections, and we tried to make sure each act had the look they wanted”.
In addition to the seven show acts, there was also a big opening number for each half, and guest performances from Michael Rice, this year’s UK Eurovision entrant, and previous Eurovision winner Dana International. This year, the cast of The Phantom of the Opera were crowned worthy winners for their performance of Grande Amore.
Melanie Tranter, Chair of the MAD Trust, comments: “This event was a testament to the generosity of the amazing people in the theatre community coming together to support the Trust. The funds raised will help us to continue our work supporting those living with of affected by HIV and AIDS. Congratulations to The Phantom of the Opera for a well-deserved win. We all look forward to them defending the trophy next year.”
Andrew concludes: “This was my first time working on West End Eurovision, but I have designed several gala and concert events where time is of the essence, so I already knew where planning would help and what sort of challenges I would face on the day. The rest of the team on sound, video, stage management, pyro and production management were fantastic, and in what could have been a very stressful afternoon, we all had fun. Thanks again to WL for their support on this very important event”.
Photos courtesy of PBG Studios.