White Light has recently supplied brand-new LED lighting packages to two ATG venues: Aylesbury Waterside and the Grand Opera House York.
With its heritage in theatre lighting, WL has formed an unparalleled reputation for supplying venues across the world with the very latest lighting technology. Therefore when Stuart Graham, Head of Technical Operations at Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG), was looking to begin an LED upgrade at the group’s venues, he approached the technical solutions specialist. WL’s Business Development Manager Jonathan Haynes comments: “Stuart got in touch saying that ATG wanted to implement an LED upgrade and had chosen two theatres as a starting point: Aylesbury Waterside and Grand Opera House York. The organisation wanted to upgrade its offering to support its diverse range of productions, as well as reduce the energy consumption of the house equipment in order to make the rig as green as possible”.
WL was asked to put together an LED upgrade package. This meant substituting the tungsten rig with LED, replacing the overhead and cyc lighting. WL worked closely with the Stuart Graham and the technical managers in each venue to ensure they created a package that would fulfil both theatres’ needs. Jonathan explains: “We worked with Jacob Edmonds, Technical Manager at the Waterside, and Mark Waters, Technical Manager at the Grand Opera House. The initial brief was for us to come up with a lighting solution, choosing fixtures and products that we felt would offer the most flexibility, but at the same time provide longevity; as well ensuring that they remained ‘theatrical’. The equipment would need to support a diverse programme of entertainment ranging from, dance, music, comedy and musicals – all of which rely on the in house kit from both respective venues”.
WL then carried out a demo for ATG at its Studio15 facility, presenting a range of options within five main categories: cyc battens, profiles, fresnels, pars and moving lights. Once the selection had been honed down, WL arranged follow up demos in each venue to see how the fixtures fared in the environment they were destined for. It was eventually decided that the High End SolaFrame 1000 would be the flagship of the new rig. ATG opted for the High CRI version which offers a much more refined quality of light and a CRI of 90+, as well as 16,000 lumen output. It is jam packed with features including 12-40 deg zoom, fully framing shutters, rotating and fixed gobo wheels, animation as well as CMY colour mixing; whilst at the same time being super quiet and weighing just 32KG. Jonathan explains: “Seeing the SolaFrame in-situ, it became clear that this was the perfect fixture for both Aylesbury and York. They are extremely versatile and will ultimately be the workhorse for the rig. They also have a five year warranty which is obviously a huge bonus”.
In addition, WL also supplied 48 x ETC ColorSource Par, 42 x ETC ColorSource Spot (complete with a mix of profile and fresnel lenses), 32 x ROBE LedBeam 150s, 8 x High End Shapeshifters and 11 x Chroma Q ColorForce II RGBA cyc fixtures, as well as all the ancillary cabling and rigging across both venues.
Alongside supplying the equipment, WL offered a three day training package for each venue. Jonathan explains: “We wanted the teams in both venues to feel confident using the new equipment, for both operation and maintenance yet also from a design and programming perspective. The perfect solution for this was offering a training course that would instil this confidence and ensure the in-house staff were familiar with day-to-day maintenance and operation; something that will prove extremely beneficial in the long run”.
The fixtures have now been fitted in both venues and have immediately been used on a host of shows.
Stuart Graham adds: “It was important for us to find the right company which could offer us industry-recognised products and the full back-up and support required for such a large-scale transition from tungsten to LED. We were also particularly impressed by WL’s willingness to provide in-depth training which will prove invaluable for our staff”.
Jonathan concludes: “We are delighted that ATG chose WL to deliver this project for them, and the feedback so far has been incredibly positive. As a company, we work hard with our clients to come up with a tailor-made solution and are fortunate to have strong working relationships with some of the industry’s leading brands. For WL, service and after sales support are key. ETC and High End offer some of the longest warranty periods on their fixtures and all brands are represented and supported in the UK. It is fantastic to work so closely with ATG, a global leader in live entertainment which operate over 50 venues worldwide as they continue improving and modernising lighting systems across their venues”.
Photos courtesy of Mark Waters and Simon Drake Photography.