Nestling against the dramatic backdrop of the Cornish coast, almost at Britain's most southerly point, lies the Minack Theatre – a gloriously visual outdoor performance venue.
Northern Light have recently completed the upgrade of the venue's houselighting, which included cabling infrastructure, fixture renewal and DMX distribution.
Chris Watts, who had overall responsibility for project management on behalf of Northern Light, said: “It truly has been a joy to work on such an exceptional venue. An open air theatre presents its own unique challenges, particularly in terms of Mother Nature. The bulk of the installation took place in January during extremely inclement weather, but we stood up to the wind and rain and finished the job on time and on budget.
”He continued: “The only other real issue was the distraction provided by the beautiful scenery!”
Northern Light's project included site testing, fixture removal and replacement, cabling, power supply units, DMX distribution, control and commissioning.
New Blues System LED fittings were manufactured by Global Design Solutions Ltd. (GDS) and supplied by exclusive distributor TMB. An ADB Swing12 has been installed and was chosen because it allowed the most flexibility. The two sets of 12 faders mean that full on and lower glow states can be set up and the fader controllers allow fading between each state or fading out of both using the master fader.
“It's really rewarding to work with partners such as GDS and Northern Light to bring such a prestigious project to fruition,” says Sarah Cox, TMB's Architectural Sales Director. “The Minack Theatre houselight redesign was the result of months of cooperative planning and we are thrilled to see it come to life! TMB has seen a growing demand for Blues System in a variety of applications worldwide, but the Minack really brings the extra â€˜wow' factor we strive for in this business.”
The existing houselighting in the theatre consisted of 124 exterior lanterns containing 25 watt lamps distributed throughout the auditorium.
Phil Jackson, Minack Theatre Manager, said: “As you can imagine, that many 25W lamps got through an astonishing amount of power. The replacement of our houselighting came about as a direct result of our aim to cut power consumption, embrace new energy saving technologies and reduce time spent on maintenance.”
Northern Light removed the existing fixtures around the entrance buildings and auditorium and replaced them with GDS LED Warm White Domes. In addition, 16 GDS LED Blue Domes were installed for the backstage area and two GDS LED 10 degree beams were positioned to highlight the nameplate citing Rowena Cade as the creator of the theatre.
Matt Lloyd of GDS commented: “For many reasons, GDS LEDs are perfect for this venue. Principally, the Minack's aim of a reduction in power consumption is now easily achievable and the longer life of LEDs ensures less time performing routine maintenance. The domes are sealed IP rated fixtures, meaning that the risk of sea water finding its way into lamps is vastly reduced. Finally, these LEDS are fully dimmable – ensuring that the capacity for ambient lighting is maintained.”
The addition of the LED domes – which are scattered all over the auditorium – enables a warm glow when night falls to complement the magical setting.
Part of Northern Light's installation involved definition of existing cable runs and termination of cables in either new or existing back boxes. The company were also responsible for the installation of control power supply units, DMX outlets and DMX patch panel in the control room.
In total Northern Light put in place 750 metres of 4-core 1.5mm SY cable, 500 metres of ProPlex DMX cable and reused existing site 4-core SWA.
Chris Watts confirmed: “Getting the fixtures in place really was the easy part of this project. The part we really focused on was creating the circuits and a plan of where each circuit on site is – there was nothing in existence before.”
Theatre Manager Phil Jackson added: “Finally having a circuit plan of the auditorium pleases me greatly – ease of general maintenance has increased considerably. The team at Northern Light truly excelled themselves in the execution of this project and I'm extremely pleased with the results.”
Northern Light also provided spare parts for the existing ADB luminaires which are part of the stage lighting. These lanterns have been used for many years and are appreciated for their ability to withstand the adverse climate conditions that an open air theatre can bring.
Colin Cuthbert, Managing Director of Northern Light, said: “The Minack Theatre is the second high profile technical installation that Northern Light have carried out in the area in the past year – the team were also responsible for an upgrade of dimming and associated items at the Hall for Cornwall in Truro. The team thoroughly enjoyed working on such a beautiful venue in such a picturesque locale.”
Find out more about Northern Light at www.northernlight.co.uk. For more information about Global Design Solutions visit www.gds.uk.com. Learn more about Blues System and other innovative and exciting products from TMB at www.tmb.com.