How I met a director's desire to have “Broadway” look followspots (bright, hard edged focus, etc.) in a 100-seat black box theatre with a 10'6" trim height, 18'× 20' stage, and no place for followspots or operators for You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown:

The theatre has a 12'-wide tech booth at the rear of the house that is raised 18" off the deck and has 8'-high walls. That results in a gap of approximately 10” above the walls to the overhead. I put two High End Systems Cyberlight CLs vertical on their back handles on top of two 5' trusses on end in the corners of the booth so that their mirrors peeked over the walls. That gave throw angles to the stage similar to what one gets from balcony followspot positions. The show opens with followspot cues picking cast members out on a darkened stage and also has the usual musical comedy followspot cue demands.

I also put a Cyberlight in the overhead stage center for the “Schroeder at the Piano” and Snoopy's “Red Baron” scenes. That produced the look of a followspot on a flown operator position above the stage. (Snoopy also had a 1500W DMX strobe above him to simulate the Red Baron's machine gun fire).

I own a High End Systems Status Cue, which is a great board for programming Cyberlights, and I was able to produce a series of fixed and moving cues that looked like live followspots. It helped that the company I work with is an Actor's Equity SPT with Equity stage management, so I work with very professional people who weren't scared of automated followspot cues. They made me look good!

Hal Smith is the resident LD and master engineer at the Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre (CityRep).