HSL is injecting some old and new magic lanterns and lighting effects to the nine-week run of Aladdin at the UK’s Newcastle Theatre Royal for Qdos Productions.

Lighting designer Ben Cracknell and HSL have been at the Theatre Royal for six consecutive panto seasons and Cracknell is known for his inventive and slightly non-conventional approach to designs.

Since he was a young child, Cracknell has always been fascinated by the whole spectacle of panto, and the challenge is always bringing the same emotional responses to a new audience. "Panto is one of the hardest shows to light because it encompasses so many different genres—comedy, tragedy, musical, theatre, dance, and rock 'n' roll all rolled into one" he explains.

This Aladdin show also includes 3D projection for key elements including the magic carpet and the genie, throwing the action right out into the audience and into people's faces.

HSL is supplying all the moving lights for the show. Two Robe ColorSpot 700E ATs are rigged at the front of the circle doing set and cloth washes and other specials.

Fourteen Robe ColorSpot 575E ATs are divided up with 4 at FOH on the pros position and the other 10 onstage, joined by 6 Robe ColorWash 575E AT fixtures on the pipe ends of LX bars 1, 2 and 3, also used for many effects. With moving lights on the rig, Cracknell has enjoyed a great deal of flexibility.

HSL also had special hieroglyphic “texturing” gobos made up for Cracknell. These are used extensively for illuminations around the auditorium in addition to LED PARs placed around the pros for blinder effects. The gobos are also used on the stage, for creating wacky effects in Twanky's laundry scenes and for a caricature of the lead actor’s face, surrounded by hearts, for a comedy love song rendition by Aladdin for the Princess.

HSL is also supplying 4 Martin Atomic strobes and 18 Pulsar ChromaZone PAR 36 LED units, plus 6 rotating "helicopter" beam lights, three stationed each side of the pros, 24 strings of 10 meter festoon and egg festoon and ZR33 smoke machines. The rest of the production lighting is pulled from the Theatre Royal’s extensive stock. The show was programmed and is run from their Strand 550 console by chief LX Nathan Reynard.

Reynard says, "We've done a lot of work with HSL here, and they are always efficient and friendly to deal with. Anything we need is turned around really quickly, and the kit is consistently well maintained. HSL offers the first class service that you really need from a hire company."

Sound is a Martin Audio system being supplied by Mac Sound from Manchester, mixed by Stuart Middleton.