Trevor Nunn's National Theatre production of Anything Goes, with lighting by David Hersey, transferred last October to Theatre Royal Drury Lane in London's West End, where projections are a vital part of the design concept.
At the National, Wyatt Enever and Steve Larkins of London's DHA Lighting calculated the careful arrangement of the images on the cyclorama. These projections, particularly the scrolling image of New York as the ship sets sail, proved so successful they were expanded for the West End production.
The changes required the DHA team to produce revised images to suit the different shape of cyclorama and projector positions at the Drury Lane, one of London's largest stages, now filled by set designer John Gunter's recreation of an Atlantic liner. His original design was adapted by wrapping the cyclorama around three sides of the set. Two large-format E\T\C AudioVisuel PIGI 6kW projectors with film scrollers and Wybron CXI color-mixing scrollers are placed upstage for a back-projected, up-center image that carries around to the far sides of the cyclorama.
Both projectors are mounted on a platform half way up the back wall of the stage. The film scrolls contain revised versions of the images created for the National (New York by night, New York by day, a sunrise), and new images created for the West End (starscapes to replace fiber-optic star cloths used at the National, and a new scrolling image of the Isle of Wight).
“The changes in the shape of the cyclorama presented something of a challenge,” comments Hersey. “We couldn't front project because the boat would be in the way; we were fortunate that Drury Lane was large enough to get a clear shot from behind the cyclorama. It wasn't an enormous throw, but the use of a new wide-angle high-definition Barco lens from the video world gave us the size of image we needed and, in the end, the punch of the PIGIs meant that the projected images work very well, even against very bright lighting states on stage.”
The lighting rig, provided by White Light, includes DHA Digital Light Curtains (20 units, a combination of six- and eight-lamp, to light the cyc), DHA Pitching Light Curtains, a glass moon gobo, and DHA Animation Disks used to create the effects of reflected water and falling rain.
“When you first read Anything Goes you wonder why you're doing it,” says Hersey. “But… surprise surprise it really comes to life. It's also a great name… and one that's now on the shortlist for the name of my new boat!”