Abu Dhabi, UAE—When the 1,000-seat theatre opened on the new Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates campus of Zayed University in December 2011, the theatre's advanced technology included motorized rigging and controls provided by J. R. Clancy, Inc.
Zayed's new campus has space for up to 6,000 students—a dramatic increase over the 200 students enrolled when the university opened in 1998. The new theatre is part of a convention center designed to involve the broader community of Abu Dhabi in performances and events on campus.
J. R. Clancy worked in partnership with the UAE team of J & C Joel, Ltd., a worldwide theatrical fabric manufacturer, dealer, and installer, to provide a combination of 20 counterweight rigging sets and 24 PowerLift motorized rigging sets. This system gives the new theatre plenty of capacity for raising and lowering scenery, lights, curtains, and an orchestra shell.
“The blend of manual and motorized rigging gives technical theatre students the opportunity to learn to operate both kinds of rigging, so they will be ready for whatever rigging they encounter in professional theatre situations,” noted Charles Shatzkin, international sales manager for J. R. Clancy.
Twelve variable-speed PowerLift units with a capacity of 1,200 pounds each will be used primarily for scenery. Additional variable-speed units, each with a 2,000-pound capacity, will raise and lower the electrics battens. Four double-purchase PowerLifts—making their capacity 4,000 pounds each—are used to raise and lower the four 2,075-pound sections of the Wenger orchestra ceiling.
Clancy also worked closely with stage lift manufacturer Serapid Inc. who supplied the motors for four stage lifts and an orchestra pit lift. Thirteen motors raise and lower these lifts and an accompanying set of masking panel actuators, at speeds of 0.001 to 0.1 meters/second.
With so many elements in motion, Zayed needed a top-of-the-line computerized controller—and Clancy's SceneControl 500 automated control system was the natural choice. SceneControl's three-dimensional display capability allows users to select the sets they want to control, develop simple or elaborate cues, and group hoists or lift motors for synchronized operation. Designed by Clancy's in-house team of rigging professionals, this intuitive touch-screen system shows operators a 3D representation of the stage and the scenery hanging on each batten. Operators can see exactly what's moving on stage at any moment.
SceneControl also controls four variable-speed motorized curtain draw machines supplied by Triple-E Ltd.
For remote operation of the PowerLift sets and pit lifts, Clancy provided a SceneControl supplemental pendant. This device allows crew members to operate the rigging from any point in the theatre within sightlines, including from a front-of-house position during rehearsals and performances.
“Zayed University is a centre of excellence, and this new theatre truly illustrates its focus on innovation, inspiration and education,” said Shatzkin. “We are pleased to have the opportunity to work closely with the team at J&C Joel to create this exciting new space for the students and the Abu Dhabi community.”
J. R. Clancy is a wholly owned subsidiary of Wenger Corporation. More information about Clancy is available at www.jrclancy.com, or at +1-315-451-3440.
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