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 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.
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.