Strand Lighting Inc. has been hard at work in England, providing systems for a number of high-profile theatre projects.
The latest of the new wave of theatre buildings sweeping the UK is Sadler's Wells, a dance venue built on the same site as its legendary namesake. The 48 million Pounds($80 million U.S.) project was designed by RHWL, with the exterior done by Nicholas Hare Architects. Strand worked with Northern Light, which supplied lighting systems and equipment for the theatre, which includes Shownet. Says John Allen of Northern Light, "Besides having DMX supplied to all the dimmers, there's also an ethernet control facility going to the three production lighting dimmer rooms, which we have designed. Shownet allows total control of all dimmers from more than one control desk, backup, or computer terminal."
The auditorium dimmers drive a Strand 550i lighting console in the control room, a portable 520 console, which can be used by a designer in the auditorium (besides the backup unit), a Strand 510i rack mount controller which will operate in the event of a failure, and from a laptop. A 530i console has been commissioned for the 200-seat Lilian Baylis Theatre; it will also double for the 550i. The 510i, 530i, and 520i are all fitted with Strand Server software, which allows one system to be controlled from a LAN with any number of computer terminals. Each desk has 1,200 channels of dimmer control with 600 attributes, allowing touring companies to bring in extra dimmers and moving lights, maintaining control of all equipment through a single console. The venue's architectural lighting is run by three Strand Premiere control systems--one each for the auditorium, foyer, and exterior.
As for power, 39 Strand LD 90 200 dimmers were used throughout the installation. The standard dimmer rack has been stretched to accommodate 200ms rise time filters. The main auditorium uses 392x2.5kW, 108x5kW, and 10x10kW modules, while the Baylis has 96x2.5kW and 12x5kW modules. The architectural dimmers total 248x2.5kW and 4x5kW, with 101x2.5kW non-dim contacters. The theatre's lighting rig also features a lineup of Strand units, purchased through White Light, including 17 Pirouettes, 24 Alto PCs, 11 Orion 4 groundrows, 11 Iris 4 cyc lights, and 140 Brios, split between sixty 18/30s and eighty 25/50s. Sadler's Wells opened last October 13.
November 30 saw the reopening of the Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre, damaged by an IRA bomb two years ago, after a 30 million pounds($50 million dollars) restoration. Strand's role included the design and manufacture of a customized networking system, modeled on the theatre's Strand Galaxy console. The Royal Exchange's combination of 510i console, file server and network nodes, custom-configured, will generate a standard format to be sold to other venues.
Says Bill Richards of Strand, "The theatre wanted dual keypads to facilitate independent memory and channel control. Galaxy had that feature and the Exchange wanted to see it reinstated--so we are now modifying the 500 Series hardware to incorporate a memory keypad." The theatre will be supplied with the 510i console to provide the processing electronics, while the control surfaces--a 550i in the Main Theatre and a 520i in the smaller Studio--will communicate directly with the 510i. This arrangement will eventually be replaced by dual numeric keypads--one for channel control and one for memory--and tablets provided in the form of scroller, moving light and macro keypads, offering better control of moving light.
Strand previously supplied all the dimmers, including seven large EC90 dimmer racks, containing 384x3kW dimmers, 41x6kW dimmers and 8x5kW dimmers for use in the studio. A further two 32A Multidim dimmers were included. The lighting rig was supplied by Stage Electrics.
Other orders at important venues include three new desks--a 530i, 520i, and a 510i for the Royal National Theatre, and consoles in the concert venues Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcells Rooms, besides an extensive refit at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford.