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Archive for August, 2016

Avolites delivers pop-up festival versatility at River Stage Weekends

26th August, 2016

The National Theatre’s (NT) River Stage Weekends festival has returned to London’s Southbank, with Chief Lighting Designer Huw Llewellyn choosing an Avolites Tiger Touch II and Fader Wing running the latest Titan v10 to deliver versatile, power-packed control across the month-long programme of weekend takeovers.


The ultimate free summer festival, River Stage plays host to a diverse range of artists and acts from family friendly workshops to energetic riverside raves. Throughout August, the festival has seen numerous National Theatre partners from across the country tread the boards of the outdoor stage, painted red to mirror the NT’s iconic Temporary Theatre (previously affectionately known as the Shed).


“We chose an Avolites console for River Stage because it’s what we know and love – it’s so versatile whilst being quick and easy to programme,” says Llewellyn. “We’re operating and programming probably 90% of these shows ourselves, and busking around 70% of them, so trying to do that on any other desk is tricky. Plus, it’s a compact console, which fits nicely in our tiny little control booth.”


Llewellyn is employing the Tiger Touch II to get the most out of his dynamic rig of Philips Showline SL BEAM 300FX, SL HYDRUS 510, SL STRIP 10IP, SL PUNCHLITE 220 and SL NITRO 510 fixtures.


“Avo has done a sterling job with the new Titan version 10,” continues Llewellyn. “We’re loving the new addition of random direction to the already brilliant Key Frame Shapes engine. If you’re ever running out of ideas, you can simply change a few attributes and change the direction in the shape generator and you have a completely new look. It just saves you hours – I highly recommend it.”


Titan version 10 follows a year of extensive research, development and customer feedback by Avolites’ dedicated team and enhances the well-loved features of Titan v9 whilst introducing a plethora of new ones, such as a full 3D visualiser powered by the Capture engine, Intensity Grid, Halo, Freeform Workspaces, UNDO and REDO.


“The new Capture Visualiser gives great scope for offline programming, which is essential in this festival set-up,” continues Llewellyn. “The ease with which version 10 deals with sACN and ArtNet makes connecting multiple universes (we are using nine) so easy. There’s no need to type in individual IP addresses – v10 just finds them, which is fantastic.”


River Stage Weekends runs from the 29 July to the 29 August outside the National Theatre on London’s Southbank.

The Knight of Illumination Awards 2016 reveals shortlist for Concert Touring and Events

23rd August, 2016

The judging panel of the Knight of Illumination Awards 2016 Concert Touring and Events category has announced its shortlisted designers for the highly-anticipated ceremony next month at the Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith.

The panel, led by new Chairperson for this year Coral Cooper, is made up of deputy editor of Lighting and Sound International magazine Claire Beeson, head of lighting design at creative agency Imagination Jonny Milmer, editor of Total Production International magazine Kelly Murray and formally-trained lighting designer and experienced video content creator Miguel Ribeiro. Beeson, Milmer and Ribeiro are also new to the process for 2016.

“The incredibly high standard of entries for the KOI Awards Concert Touring and Events category made selecting a shortlist a real challenge,” says Claire Beeson. “It’s been an honour to witness the vast and varied array of work from nominated lighting designers and I would like to wish all shortlisted entries the best of luck.”

The Concert Touring and Events shortlist is as follows:

THE AMBERSPHERE SOLUTIONS AWARD FOR ARENA – Al Gurdon for Madonna, Tim Routledge for Jeff Lynne’s ELO and Patrick Woodroffe for Adele

THE HSL AWARD FOR CLUB – Francis Clegg for Krept and Konan and Public Service Broadcasting and Tom Webber for Charlie Puth

THE MA LIGHTING AWARD FOR EVENTS – Adam Bassett for The Rolling Stones Exhibitionism, Dave Cohen for Arcadia at Glastonbury Festival and Al Gurdon for The Brit Awards 2016

THE AYRTON AWARD FOR STAGE – Tobias G Rylander for The 1975, Rob Sinclair for Pet Shop Boys and Squib Swain of Cassius Creative for Years & Years

THE d3 TECHNOLOGIES AWARD FOR VIDEO ELECTRONIC CONTENT – Luke Halls for Adele, Jamie King with Moment Factory and Veneno Inc for Madonna and Ben Miles for Coldplay

“My first year as Chairperson of Concert Touring and Events for KOI has been really exciting,” says Coral Cooper. “It’s great to get the inside view on the process and to bring some new ideas for next year. Roll on September!”

The Knight of Illumination Awards, originally conceived by Clay Paky, is organised by respected lighting designer Durham Marenghi and his partner Jennie, prestigious industry organisations the Association of Lighting Designers (ALD) and the Society of Television Lighting and Design (STLD) and content creation, communications and events agency The Fifth Estate Ltd.

The Headline Sponsors of this year’s edition are Clay Paky and OSRAM. The Awards is also generously supported by the following Spotlight Sponsors: Ambersphere Solutions, Ayrton, d3 Technologies, Elation Professional, ETC, FIX8Group, Hawthorn, HSL, Light Initiative, MA Lighting, Philips Vari-Lite, PLASA Media and Events, PRG XL Video, Robert Juliat, SGM and VER Aurora TV.

The Concert Touring and Events winners will be announced at the sparkling ceremony and awards dinner on September 18th at the Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith.

Philips Showline SL BEAM 300fx illuminates 10th anniversary of Pop Meets Classic

22nd August, 2016

Philips Lighting, a Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX, PHIA) company and a global leader in lighting, announces the Braunschweig Symphony Orchestra has celebrated the 10th edition of its ‘Pop Meets Classic’ concert with Philips Showline SL BEAM 300fx LED luminaires playing a crucial role in the dazzling spectacle.

Taking place at the Volkswagen Halle, the sell-out concert showcased the orchestra’s re-worked versions of well-known pop songs featuring local musicians and singers, conducted by Helmut Imig.

Renowned lighting designer Stephan Aue, who has been involved in Pop Meets Classic since the first edition of the concert, led the creative team of lighting operator Rico Muenzer and media technician Tim Hornung. Aue was introduced to the Philips Showline luminaire at Frankfurt’s ProLight + Sound 2016.


“My first impression of the Philips SL BEAM 300fx was that it was a compact yet powerful tool,” states Aue. “On Pop Meets Classic I have full creative freedom and always like to use the latest exciting technology, so I was delighted to be able to include 12 of the fixtures in my design for this year’s special show.”


Supplied by Kaufungen-based event production and supplier Ambion GmbH, the luminaires’ small size allowed Aue to realize his carefully-constructed set design, which required discrete yet vibrant stage lighting. He comments: “The fixtures couldn’t be too large otherwise they would have blocked the view as the rig was lower than previous years.  The Philips SL BEAM 300fx was extremely useful, allowing us to achieve the clean, uncluttered look we desired.”


Despite its diminutive size, the Philips SL BEAM 300fx produces an impressive output of 4,500 lumens. Not only that, its precise optical design allows the luminaire to function as both a beam and wash light. Aue positioned the fixtures in a matrix construction under the back truss. From here they flooded the 26m wide by 18m deep stage with bold colors and varying texture.


“The remarkable output for a light of this height caused it to stand out against the other LED wash lights,” continues Aue. “Not only that, the multiple in-built macros allowed me to create a range of stunning effects.”

Philips Showline strobe lights pack a festival-sized punch for Wilkinson Live at Parklife

19th August, 2016

Philips Lighting (Euronext Amsterdam ticker: LIGHT), a global leader in lighting, today announced that 40 Philips Showline SL NITRO 510C LED strobes have delivered maximum impact on chart-topping British DJ Wilkinson’s packed out live performance at Manchester’s Parklife festival.


Following on from his live shows at more than 20 venues around Europe, the drum and bass giant has embarked on a string of festival dates. One of the first stops was Parklife, with Wilkinson performing his live show on the Sunday of the Heaton Park takeover.


Lighting designer James Baker of Creative Video Design chose the Philips SL NITRO 510C strobes as part of his dynamic yet flexible floor package. With tight festival timescales and a small amount of space for storage backstage, Baker comments that the compact dimensions yet stunning output of the Philips SL NITRO 510C made it ideal:


“We needed a fixture that was light and had low power consumption but would also be able to combat the natural light as our slot was early in the day,” he explains. “The Philips SL NITRO 510C strobes were perfect. They draw just 360 watts per unit and are lightweight at 8kg whilst producing a fantastic 120-degree beam angle.”


Baker’s team rigged the Philips SL NITRO 510C strobes facing outwards on four dollies, custom-built by Blackburn-based lighting specialist/services firm HSL that supplied the lighting, along the back wall of the stage. From here the designer applied the units to deliver beat-perfect strobing and a myriad of effects.


“We pixel-mapped the strobes through one of our Green Hippo Hippotizer V4 media servers to create a massive amount of different looks,” continues Baker. “Their six independent zones of control really make them stand out over other LED strobes in the market.”


Baker first came across the Philips SL NITRO 510 range during his time as video programmer on Tinie Tempah’s 2014 ‘Demonstration’ tour. He has since used the fixtures on many of his shows ranging from small club tours to large scale festivals.


This year’s Parklife was reportedly the biggest yet with 150,000 revellers passing through the gates. Wilkinson’s live festival tour continues this summer with performances including the UK’s Creamfields on Friday 26 August.

Philips Lighting appoints new head of Entertainment lighting

17th August, 2016

Philips Lighting (Euronext Amsterdam: LIGHT), a global leader in lighting, has announced the appointment of Philips executive Colin Kavanagh as the company’s new head of its Entertainment lighting business.


Kavanagh will take on this new role as Head of Entertainment lighting with immediate effect, which will see him relocating to Dallas, Texas where he is tasked with growing Philips Lighting’s presence in the entertainment sector – specifically with lighting for theaters, festivals, experiential retail outlets, theme parks, arts venues, exhibition spaces, leisure venues, holiday destinations and the night club industry.


Kavanagh has extensive commercial and technical experience pertinent to his new role. He has a strong background in Design for Excellence (DfX), Concurrent Product Development (CPD), lean manufacturing and Voice of the Customer (VoC) in fast time to market industries.


“I am developing a sector-specific strategy that will greatly enhance how the Entertainment team works and take the business to the next level,” explains Colin Kavanagh. “At Philips Lighting, we have an unparalleled degree of innovation, passion and technical expertise. My job is to put this at the forefront of everything we do, coupled with the VoC approach to best serve our customers. A VoC program creates a customer-centric organization that fosters strong customer experiences and drives change.  Most companies are product focused and don’t take the time to really understand how customers experience their company, their customer’s strategy, objectives and needs. Our VoC program will foster mutual success and commercial growth.


“The time is ripe for the business to flourish and delight our customers with trail-blazing technical ingenuity in Entertainment lighting that meets – and, indeed, surpasses – their business needs. We have an incredible product portfolio, unparalleled in the industry, and a passionate global team with deep industry knowledge and expertise. I am delighted that initial feedback from our customers has been very positive.”


Kavanagh is a dual US and Irish citizen and has held a series of senior positions –  predominantly in Silicon Valley, California – where he oversaw innovation in product development, operations, procurement and supply chain. He joined Philips in 2013 as SVP of Procurement Engineering, based at Philips Lighting’s Amsterdam office in the Netherlands, where he managed a multi-billion annual spend and a global team of 300 procurement engineers. In this position he has been lauded for transforming team structures to deliver double digit annual savings.


Prior to joining Philips, Kavanagh worked in California as senior vice-president of Operations at Topcon Positioning Systems, Inc, a global leader in positioning, automation technology headquartered in Japan. He holds an Executive MBA from The University of Colorado and a BS Mechanical Eng. from The University of Limerick.

Knight of Illumination Awards 2016 Theatre shortlist announced

10th August, 2016

The Knight of Illumination Awards (KOI) Theatre judging panel has announced its eagerly anticipated shortlist for this year’s ceremony, which will take place at London’s iconic Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith on Sunday 18th September.


Now in its 9th year, the KOI Awards is a celebration of the creative talents of international lighting and digital content designers working in the UK across TV, Theatre and Concert Touring and Events. The Knight of Illumination Awards is organised by revered lighting designer Durham Marenghi and his partner Jennie, prestigious industry organisations the Association of Lighting Designers (ALD) and the Society of Television Lighting and Design (STLD) and content creation, communications and events agency The Fifth Estate Ltd.


The Theatre shortlist is the first to be revealed, after a panel of senior critics from national newspapers and magazines deliberated over the finest lighting and video work in the categories of Dance, Musicals, Opera, Plays and Projection Design.


The shortlist is as follows:


THE ETC THEATRE AWARD FOR DANCE – Chris Davey for 1984, Northern Ballet; Michael Hulls for Conceal | Reveal, Russell Maliphant Company, Sadler’s Wells; and Charles Webber for COAL, Gary Clarke Company, touring (judged by Jonathan Gray of the Dancing Times and Mark Monahan of the Daily Telegraph)


THE HAWTHORN THEATRE AWARD FOR MUSICALS – Christopher Akerlind for Into the Woods, Menier Chocolate Factory; Mark Henderson for Sunset Boulevard, English National Opera; and David Hersey for Show Boat, Sheffield Crucible (judged by Georgina Brown of the Mail on Sunday and Matt Trueman of Variety)


THE ROBERT JULIAT THEATRE AWARD FOR OPERA – Lee Curran for Orphée et Eurydice, Royal Opera House; Mark Howland for Pelléas et Mélisande, English Touring Opera; and Joachim Klein for Saul, Glyndebourne Festival (judged by Alexandra Coghlan of The Spectator and Richard Fairman of the Financial Times)


THE ELATION PROFESSIONAL THEATRE AWARD FOR PLAYS – Lucy Carter for Husbands and Sons, Dorfman, National Theatre; Jane Cox for The Flick, Dorfman, National Theatre; and Jan Versweyveld for Songs from Far Away, Young Vic (judged by Georgina Brown of the Mail on Sunday and Matt Trueman of Variety)


THE FIX8GROUP THEATRE AWARD FOR PROJECTION DESIGN – Will Duke for The Encounter, Edinburgh International Festival/The Barbican; Gergő His and Róbert Zentai for The Magic Flute, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Southbank Centre; and Peter Mumford for The Ring Cycle, Opera North (judged by the full panel)


Culture critic and broadcaster David Benedict is chairperson of the Theatre category. Formerly arts editor of the Independent and the Observer and chief London critic for Variety, he currently reviews for BBC Radio 4 arts programmes and The Arts Desk.


“In this, the ninth year of the KOI Awards, working conditions for lighting designers continue to be extremely pressurised but the quality of imagination and execution in the nominated work remains as high as ever,” he states. “We have also seen developments in the use of projection design, as both a dramatic and a design device. It is growing ever more sophisticated across all forms of live theatre, from opera to small-scale dance, and so picking a winner is getting harder every year.” 


“Once again the Theatre judges have an exciting range of theatrical lighting and projection design to appraise and this process has raised the awareness in our national press of the value and contribution of good lighting and visual imagery to the creative arts performed in the UK,” says Durham Marenghi. “All those nominated and all those who create with light in this country should be proud of the standards that are regularly achieved and we at the Knight of Illumination Awards are proud to recognise these skills.”


The Headline Sponsors of this year’s Awards edition are Clay Paky and OSRAM. The Awards is also generously supported by Spotlight Sponsors Ambersphere Solutions, Ayrton, d3 Technologies, Elation Professional, ETC, FIX8Group, Hawthorn, HSL, Light Initiative, MA Lighting, Philips Vari-Lite, PLASA Media and Events, PRG XL Video, Robert Juliat, SGM and VER Aurora TV.


The Theatre winners will be announced at the KOI Awards ceremony on September 18th at the Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith.

FIX8Group shortlisted for both the AV and ET Awards 2016

9th August, 2016

UK: Visual production specialist FIX8Group has been shortlisted for three awards at two of the Entertainment Technology sector’s major awards ceremonies; the AV and the Entertainment Technology (ET) Awards 2016.

Shortlisted for ‘Production, Rental & Staging Company of the Year’ at the AVs in September, the company is also nominated for ‘Best Projection Mapping’ and ‘Best Technology Partnership’ at the ET Awards in November.

“We are proud to be nominated by two separate Awards bodies,” says John Montague, Production Director at FIX8Group. “FIX8Group has been in constant development and growth for for the past few years and the nominations for these awards are for us a strong indication of the dynamism we bring to our work.”

The AV Awards celebrates best practice, innovation and excellence across the global audio visual industry. Running for 18 years, the Awards are hosted by international press giants AV Magazine. The ‘Production, Rental & Staging Company of the Year Award’ is one of the award categories debuting for the 2016 edition.

“FIX8Group is always striving to bring our ethos of technical excellence in both design and execution to all our events,” says Montague. “Our shortlisting is an amazing sign to all our designers, programmers and technicians that we’re on the right track.”

As ever the AV Awards will be held at London’s famous Grosvenor House on the 30th of September. More information can be found at

For the 2016 ET Awards FIX8Group has been nominated for both ‘Best Projection Mapping’ and ‘Best Technology Partnership’, demonstrating the group’s strengths in both its individual product and collaborative enterprises.

For ‘Best Projection Mapping’, FIX8Group is shortlisted for the team’s 3D work on the 2015 Annual TRT International Children’s Festival Gala in Izim, Turkey.

“For the Children’s Festival Gala we helped transform a large and uninspiring sports stadium into a dynamic performance space for the 31 countries taking part in the festival,” explains Nick Charalampidis, FIX8Group’s Technical Director and lead programmer for the event. “The design was for a wrap-around projection surface around the centre of a basketball stadium. The surface comprised 250 Polygons, each individually video-mapped in 3D.”

The sheer scale of this project paired with its design ingenuity is what made it stand out. “We were working with over 140sqm space in total,” continues Charalampidis. “The scale was reflected in the pixel count resolutions for each section – the floor was 3992 x 516, 4930 x 720 pixels each for the North and South Polygons and that didn’t include the two other sections. We created a giant triangular jigsaw puzzle of moving pictures with which the performers interacted.”

The company is also up for the ‘Best Technology Partnership’ – along with virtual reality and creative production agency REWINDFx and experiential marketing agency TRO – for the UEFA UCL Champion’s Final 2015 in Berlin. The partnership designed and delivered three immersive experiences and control apps at the event, as follows:

  1. Test Area: A fully interactive motion-simulated virtual reality game designed to test fans’ football skills within a projection cave.
  2. Football Cage: A responsive, transparent LED cage in which football fans competed in 2-a-side tournament, delivering high energy goal celebrations for players and branding opportunities and teaser content for passers-by.
  3. Performance Maze: A quick-response challenge set within a maze of touch sensitive LED wands where players tested their reactions and speed.

“For the UEFA project we consulted on the technical solutions and productions of the three immersive experiences,” details Montague, Production Director for the activation. “Collaborating with REWINDFx’s virtual space knowledge and TRO’s creative designers we shaped the immersive, virtual-reality aspects and structures for the Test Area. For the Performance Maze we designed the custom-made sensors and software for the interactive wands. Lastly for the Football Cage we produced the transparent and scenic LED and integrated, interactive system set-up responsible for the programming and content management of the project.”

This year the ET awards are to be held at Supernova on London’s Embankment on the 9th of November. More information can be found at

Avolites delivers bespoke control system at new Las Vegas nightclub JEWEL

5th August, 2016

Las Vegas, USA – The latest addition to the Hakkasan Group, JEWEL Nightclub inside ARIA Resort & Casino, has raised the Las Vegas entertainment bar once again, with an interactive lighting design controlled by a custom Avolites system of integrated control desks and Ai media servers.


JEWEL opened in May with a superstar-studded launch hosted by Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx, hip-hop heavyweight Drake, electro turntable stars The Chainsmokers and reality television sensation Kourtney Kardashian. To reinforce the luxury party vibe, Hakkasan Group commissioned international sound, lighting and visual design company AudioTek to “push the boundaries of technology” and create the ultimate nightclub environment for Sin City’s elite.


The result is a high-impact, multi-sourced display based around the DJ’s moving back wall of Ayrton Dream Panels, with both video and DMX surfaces, and Magic Dot fixtures. This works alongside five ribbons of ROE Hybrid LED which circle the main room and a video-mapped staircase leading to a mezzanine floor. AudioTek lighting designer Andy Taylor chose Avolites’ Sapphire Touch, Tiger Touch II and Quartz lighting consoles with Titan Net Processors and Ai Infinity R8 and S4 media servers to control the complex set up.


“Due to the selection of fixtures, it was imperative to implement a control system that seamlessly integrated both lighting and video,” Taylor explains. “Once suggested, everyone agreed Avolites was the natural choice.”


Avolites’ lead software developer Oliver Waits helped design the custom system, which links the video content, powered by the Ai media servers, to the lighting control of the consoles, allowing everything to be controlled by a single operator.


“The Ayrton Dream Panel is a unique fixture so we felt that we needed a cutting edge new software feature to create a spectacle for JEWEL’s guests,” says Waits. “Our solution was to link the video to the movement of the fixtures and directly link the Titan Key Frame Shapes feature of 2D points within the video to create movement that reacted to the visuals. Using our Ai media server, we were then able to directly link the two elements. The Titan console constantly receives video updates from the media server and uses these to control the timeline of any Key Frame Shape.”


Waits goes on to state that “the requirements of the JEWEL project were perfectly aligned with our goal of the seamless integration of light and video control, so the new features developed for JEWEL will be available for all our customers from Titan version 10.1 onwards.”


“It’s a pixel heavy design so Avolites’ built in Pixel Mapper was invaluable in creating some great looks across all the fixtures,” adds Taylor. “The Key Frame Shapes feature was integral in programming the more complicated Dream Panel moves and avoiding falling into the trap of having them constantly spinning on both axes.”


Hakkasan’s Director of Video Production Ed Shaw worked alongside production company Ne1co to design the video content, which is processed for the Dream Panel fixtures by the Ai media servers. A large portion of the content was designed to run on both sides of the panels using a DMX merge, resulting in a stunning dual effect that mixes high-resolution content on one side with brighter but lower resolution on the other as the panels are rotated. This content is reflected in the visuals that run across the ROE Hybrid LED.


“We wanted to match the content across all the fixtures as it creates a coherent aesthetic across the room, especially when there is only one operator,” explains Shaw.


The content for the staircase, however, serves a different purpose. High quality 3D visuals evoking a series of pathways and walls are run across the eight columns and 15 stairs to highlight the architectural design of the space and encourage guests to ascend to the mezzanine level.


“The three Ai media servers not only control the Dream Panels, ROE Hybrid ribbons and the staircase but also the portrait marquee screen in front of the venue,” continues Shaw. “They are integral to the success of the project as they make it very easy to program and operate multiple areas at once. I’ve loved the Ai media server since we started using them in OMNIA Nightclub – they offer fantastic quality and performance for playback. Even when putting considerable load on the servers, having a constant 60fps is very reassuring.”


Alongside the connection between lighting and video, Shaw and Hakkasan’s Vice President of Entertainment James Algate wanted a way to automatically link the music’s BPM to the lighting. The Avolites consoles needed to trigger effects in time with the beat with no latency, allowing the entire shape and structure of the room to morph in perfect time with the sound.


In response Waits wrote this capability into Titan v10.1, the forthcoming operating system update to be released shortly after V10.0, adding a new dimension of versatility to the entire console range.


“The new Titan Beat System allows for both speed and synchronisation from an external source,” Waits explains. “Using this the LD can link all lighting effects to one beat; a process that would have previously been done manually. The LD is then freed up to carry out other lighting tasks.”


“The automatic BPM sync was one of our biggest technical challenges but it was all made possible through the tremendous support from the whole Avolites team,” adds Shaw.


Taylor explains that a further challenge was the sheer amount of data that the system needed to deal with – it’s the biggest system that AudioTek has ever put together, even taking into account concert touring. As a comparison, AudioTek’s Managing Director Frank Murray points out that the most recent Radiohead tour managed 46 Dream Panels on the back wall, each of which needed streaming data for the video on one side and DMX on the other – Jewel uses 54!


“The support from the Avolites teams both in the UK and the US was fantastic,” says Taylor. “From allowing us to take over the warehouse to test out gear and do some valuable pre-programming, to them being on site in Vegas, they’ve been supportive far and above the call of duty, and are continuing to be so. I know they’ve kept in touch with the in house programmer, Jorge Tellez, to help him get to grips with this demanding rig. This was an incredibly challenging job from both an artistic and technological point of view, and it couldn’t have been achieved without Avolites’ cutting edge products. It was a great leap of faith from management at Hakkasan to approve the design and I don’t think it could have been achieved without the incredible efforts of the team.”


For more information on JEWEL Nightclub please visit

ModTruss is ‘a dream come true’ for The Crucible

4th August, 2016

Sheffield, UK – ModTruss, the industry-changing modular truss and winner of the ABTT Engineering Product of the Year 2015, has been used for the first time in the UK as a structural piece of scenery at Sheffield’s Crucible theatre.

At the end of June, a team from Triple E travelled up to The Crucible to support the installation of ModTruss for the Sheffield People’s Theatre production of A Dream, described as a ‘modern-day mash up of Shakespearan romance’. The structure was a 37′ x 19′ (11.27m x 5.7m) platform on 8′ (2.4m) uprights made up of the three available sizes of aluminium ModTruss – 3″, 6″ and 12″.

“The front span is 5.5m and had to be supported between two pillars. Achieving this with standard scaffold is do-able but would mean that we’d end up with a massive frontage to the set which wasn’t desirable for the designer,” Stuart West, Technical Manager for Sheffield Theatres, explains. “However, a 12″ box of ModTruss could do the span with no problems at all; we were able to maintain the sightlines the designer wanted whilst having something structurally strong enough that also gave us the depth of the floor that we needed. After reading about ModTruss we knew it was the only product on the market that could fulfil the design brief.”

Not only was the pre-production process with Triple E “a dream come true” and “very, very easy” but so was the build. The crew commented that they thoroughly enjoyed the day as ModTruss is not only easy to put together but vastly different from anything else available. Not only that, it is so lightweight no heavy lifting was required.

“Building the structure was very exciting,” West continues. “The opportunity to work with what is effectively Meccano for adults was a lot of fun; it brought back a lot of childhood memories for all of the crew and we had a great day exploring and experimenting with the structure. It was so simple! We followed the drawings we got from Triple E – it was almost like constructing by numbers.

“The lighting crew loved that they could quickly and easily put in suspended scaff tubes on half couplers. They could even suspend lighting fixtures straight from the structure. The ModTruss also enabled them to hide certain fixtures within the structure leaving clean lines on the faux ceiling underside.”

Cable management is always a big task in a set. However, ModTruss makes it simple, as West explains: “It’s the easiest way to distribute cables across the structure and avoid trip hazards; you can run it along all the supporting beams, cut a hole in your show floor and it pops out where you need it.”

West was so impressed with ModTruss that he foresees using it in the future, commenting that he even wishes it had been available for past projects: “On previous productions such as Oliver in 2013 we had to use a scaffolding structure that didn’t quite facilitate the needs of the production. ModTruss would’ve been the ideal solution.

“It’s a product that allows you to have infinite possibilities and build something that seems to be custom out of a standard box of parts. It’s the ultimate tool in any construction process.”

ModTruss is available throughout Europe from Triple E.


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