The theatre has started the journey towards fully digitising our stage lighting system.
This started in 2015 when Richard Barnes and Brian Biggins from the Light Opera Society replaced the dimmer racks on the gantry with new digital equipment. No-one is missing the cat’s cradle of cables which turned any journey along the gantry into a hazardous endeavour!
At the same time, we invested in a new lighting desk which would cope with the modernisation.
Richard and Brian were back this summer to install the digital cables needed to control modern lanterns. With the ‘architecture’ in place, we took the plunge and bought our first six digital LED lanterns, at a cost of more than £6,000.
After testing a couple of them out during Moonlight and Magnolias, we have now installed the remaining lanterns in what should be their permanent homes.
The new devices offer numerous benefits. They consume much less power and consequently give off less heat – the old system would give off up to 20kw at peak use, the equivalent of 10 electric fires! They can also be controlled entirely from the lighting box, so no more running up and down ladders to change colours and focus, with all the attendant risks.
This work represents a major investment by the theatre, and puts us well on the way to becoming fully digital in our lighting. It continues to be a steep learning curve for the lighting team, but the benefits should be seen for years to come, allowing more creative and dramatic effects to be produced. Watch out for some spectacular special effects, when Dracula opens this month!