An epic production of Jesus Christ Superstar produced by Redruth Amateur Operatic Society Trust (RAOST) in Cornwall, England, was lit using a large Robe moving light rig supplied by Viking Stage Lighting in Norwich, UK.

Jesus Christ Superstar in Cornwall, England

The 10-night sold-out production was ‘amateur’ in name only, staged in a 1,200 person capacity modern big top located in Boscawen Park, Truro, and featuring 5 trucks of staging and equipment, a cast of over 100, a 12 piece semi-pro orchestra, lots of sponsorship and a budget of £120,000.

The event’s technical infrastructure, including lighting, sound, staging power, and distribution was all supplied by Viking, who has worked with the opera company on many previous occasions. They worked together twice on productions in the same big top in the past. For this show, Viking also supplied a generic rig of 200 PARs, 60 floods, 30 Fresnels, 20 profiles, and audience blinders.

LD Ian Leonard utilized over 40 Robe fixtures, each chosen for a specific job on the show. He used eight Pro Wash and eight Pro Spot 250s, and 12 each of the Robe Pro Wash and Pro Spot 575s. He decided on an all-Robe moving light rig for continuity and fluid programming, “Both concept and lighting worked very, very well” he explains.

The imposing set, designed by Michael Meer, measured 150 ft wide by 75 ft deep and was over 36 ft tall, so plenty of physical scope for coverage was required. Leonard needed a powerful wash fixture to do this, so the 575s proved ideal, while the smaller, nifty 250 washes were used to squeeze light into all the more elusive recesses of the set, ensuring that no corner was left unlit.

Robe fixtures light the stage for Jesus Christ Superstar

The Pro Spot gobo washes proved highly effective for all sorts of dramatic moments, excelling during the opening sequence and the pivotal crucifixion scene, where in both cases, Leonard produced a ‘light show’ to the music. For the crucifixion, he created a metaphorical crown of thorns with gobos on the stage floor. This swung up to rest on Jesus’ head at the fatal movement, while a set of Molefeys blasted out from behind the cross.

The Robes were also used to pinpoint general action and enhance moods with colors and movement. Leonard is delighted with his Robe investment, which he describes as “Reliable, flexible and cost-effective, everything you can possibly want from a moving light.”

The fixtures were hung off 48 meters of heavy-duty truss, suspended with 8 Lodestar motors from the tent superstructure. Control was a Strand 520 console, operated by Richard Sawyer.

Sound was a Bose 802/302 system arranged in 6 clusters, and the FOH desk was a customized 32 + 40 channel Fireball automated console. The band, located in a completely separate tent, had their sound piped into the main area’s FOH console and mixed from there by Ian Leonard. They also ran a 35-way Shure radio mic system for the show.