J&C Joel supplied a Unibar lifting system for the newly opened Mill Theatre in Dundrum Town Center in Dublin, home to Ireland’s largest shopping center. J&C Joel’s project manager Tony Griffiths co-designed the Unibar, along with Slingco’s Nick Dykins. Maurice Power Theatre Consultants specified it for the Mill Theatre. J&C Joel worked closely with Irish distributor Stage Lighting Center on the installation and commissioning of the system.

The nine four-line Unibars, eight over the stage and one advanced bar in the auditorium, are each designed to raise and lower up to 400kg on 10m long suspension bars. The Unibar system allows the quick and easy raising/lowering of suspension or bars for scenery, lighting and AV equipment with a motor-driven unit.

Unibar was seen as the ideal solution to fit into the confined spaces of the Mill Theatre. The main auditorium is built underneath a cinema, so both stage space and flying ability are restricted. However, the Unibar itself is light, flexible, and can be located in smaller shopping centers, therefore a lot less space is required than for a conventional Pilewind winch system. This coupled with low power requirements made Unibar the ideal choice.

Ireland’s first ever Unibar system was also installed by Stage Lighting Center in 2002 at Liberty Hall in Dublin. At the Mill Theatre, the standard multi-directional control facility is a key feature of the system, allowing suspension bars to be raised and lowered simultaneously. The Unibars can also be grouped together, so several can be raised or lowered together.

“As with all flying systems, safety was paramount,” explains Tony Griffiths. The Unibars design safety factor of 8:1 provides additional confidence to clients this along with working and back up limits give piece of mind.” (4:1 being the standard BS reg # 7095 item 5.2.1).

The Theatre is staging a wide variety of productions and particularly championing the staging of new, experimental work and interactive productions. Technical manager Noel Hagan states, “The Unibars are user-friendly and very quick and easy to set up, everything you need for a busy receiving house, we can operate them in and out with no hassle at all for everyday tasks like re-gelling and re-lamping, pre-focusing, etc.”

In addition to the Unibar system and control, J&C Joel also supplied a full set of stage blacks (borders, legs, cross, and rear stage) and damson colored proscenium and valance drapes to the intimate 200-seat space. Also, to increase the flexibility of the equipment four, Swl 120kg, four-line manually operated hemp sets where installed for the lifting of light loads.

Griffiths says, “It’s been a challenging project that’s generated great teamwork between Stage Lighting Centee, Slingco, and ourselves. We completed everything in just 10 weeks from receiving the order to completion. That included designing, manufacturing, testing, installation, and commissioning of the project.”