Much of 2015 was spent working for Summerhall on their 2015 Edinburgh Festival Fringe program, as technical production manager. Summerhall’s 2015 program included over 150 different shows, with Grid Iron, Northern Stage, Paines Plough and dozens of other companies from all over the globe presenting work, as well as an acclaimed season of live music including gigs from Sun Kil Moon and the Sun Ra Arkestra. It was a massively successful year, with Summerhall’s best ticket sales ever and great critical response, with over 50 4 and 5 star reviews, 2 Total Theatre Awards, and 6 Fringe First Awards. With such a large and diverse program quality technical services were vital, and months were spent planning and specifying venue spaces and dealing with advance requests from companies. A great team of technicians came together for the festival itself and made 2015’s fringe run go off without a hitch.
It’s been a busy few weeks! So busy in fact, that instead of telling you all about it, we’re going to post a trailer we made for our friends at Anatomy about a year ago. The trailer was shot at Anatomy #4, which we also lit and provided technical assistance for.
We were really pleased to be asked to provide lighting for the Abnormal Loads techno tent at this years Audio Soup Festival, one of a number of up and coming music festivals in Scotland. We collaborated with VJ Planet Arm, who provided decor and video projections, including a fantastic 3d wolf head which we couldn’t resist equipping with laser eyes.
Pa came from the excellent Elektrikal Sound System and everyone was kept more than happy by superb quality drinks from Cocktail Cahutes. Add to that a great line up of local and international djs and the consensus was that the Abnormal Loads tent pushed the festival to a new level of quality and professionalism. It’s rare to get so many compliments on the lighting, and we’re really pleased to have been asked back next year – the big challenge will be topping this year’s efforts…
We had the pleasure of providing production management assistance and lighting equipment to the recent Polish Scottish Heritage Festival. Prior to the event we took on the task of ensuring all the technical needs of the many visiting musicians, artists and lecturers were met, sourcing various presentation, audio and lighting equipment. Highlights of the weekend’s events at Summerhall was the Katy Carr concert, pictured below, and a Ceilidh combined with traditional polish dances that proved a hit with Scots and Poles alike, showing that the many historic ties between the two nations continue into contemporary friendship and mutual respect.
We once again had the pleasure of lighting the Scottish Business Awards for the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. For the second year the awards were held in the EICC’s new Lennox Suite, this time hosting 1900 guests, a number not seated for a banquet in Scotland since the time of King James VI. We tailored the lighting to the event branding, selecting a base of reds complemented with hues of purple to reflect the main sponsor, Virgin Money, and bringing the room to life with the EICC’s stock of moving led washes. It was a great night, with the highlight being a Q&A session with Richard Branson, who sported a natty denim tuxedo for his appearance.
We were recently commisioned to create a set of promotional photos for electronic musician Maki Yamizaki. We sourced a great albeit somewhat creepy location in the form of a disused large animal autopsy room, complete with crane, giant sinks and some slightly disturbing guttering. We used a mix of 800w redheads, LED pars and practical lighting to create moody and striking lighting, and shot in RAW on a Canon 5Dmk2. The final results turned out very nicely indeed, and Make was great to work with. We’re looking forward to collaborating again in the future.
Friday the 14th of March saw us back in Summerhall, this time providing technical support for the excellent scratch/experimental theatre night Anatomy. The night included theatrical, musical, dance and outright weird performances from Ed Crawley, Jusztina Hermann, Francesca Lacey, Manoli Moriaty & Frances Kay, Klaus Pinter, Sarah Roberts, Sara Zaltash, Scrapyard, and Voice Box Theatre.
We used some recently acquired LED fixtures to create a backdrop of striking colours to complement the variety of pieces presented as part of the “HAPPY RAINBOW RADIO FUNTIME SHOW”. Our friends over at Black Light provided UV lights for Sara Zaltash’s ‘Sex Sex Sex’, which she used to create a stunning effect for her fearless performance piece, and we rustled up some last minute Par16 Birdies for Francesca Lacey’s ‘Happiness’ – both the title of the piece and a description of what the birdies were used for.
There were too many performances to name individually, but they were all excellent. Special mention goes to the finale of the night, Ed Crawley’s ‘Death of a Double Bass’, a moving violent and unrepeatable one-off piece confronting grief and loss in a particularly visceral manner.
Photos courtesy of Richard Dyson
We spent 11 days working with PaperDoll Militia as part of their artist’s residency at Summerhall. In their own words, “Unhinged is a duo fabric piece, which is currently being extended into a multimedia and movement driven “Live Photo Essay””.
We designed some of the lighting, and provided help and technical assistance, operating lights, sound and video. We also created a couple of short video pieces that are included in the show, and this time-lapse movie documenting the development process.
The photos that form the main new element of the piece are in the form of 35mm slides projected by kodak carousel projectors, and as solid as they are the age of the equipment has proven a bit of a challenge. We’re putting together a DMX control solution to allow the slide transitions to be run from the lighting desk, as it proved very challenging to run LX, sound, video and slides all at once.
The show premieres in June in the United States, but there will almost certainly be a Uk showing as well, which we’re thoroughly looking forward to.
The 2012 UK tour of the Chinese State Circus was a great 4 months spent on the road. I was technical manager, and it was a privilege to work with amazingly talented artists who had been honing their skills for most of their lives. I’m pretty pleased with this shot of the Shaolin Warriors I took, it really nicely captures one of the many wince inducing moments from their performance. Those are perfectly ordinary housebricks, and there’s no special trickery involved. The guys have a great sense of humour too and are always good for a laugh.
It was a challenging tour, taking in 39 venues all across the UK. The show included a live band, massive double chinese pole and a cast of 30 performers. We visited a huge range of venues, from no.1 touring houses to community theatres, and at each had a single morning to install our rig of over 40 intelligent fixtures as well as rigging, set and props.
We had the pleasure of lighting one of the Big Dance stages in July 2012. Dance Base organised the event and Blacklight provided all the technical expertise, and asked us to operate LX on the Castle Street stage. We had time to shoot a few stills while we were there as well, this one came out pretty nicely.