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Gilded Balloon Turns 30 at Edinburgh Fringe with White Light
UK - Having now officially opened for 2015, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the world’s largest arts festival, with this year featuring more than 3,000 shows in more than 300 venues. It offers artists the opportunity to showcase their work, whether this is cabaret, comedy, dance, music, spoken word or theatre. Due to its long reputation as the leading lighting supplier to the West End and touring theatre, White Light has often supplied its services to the festival. This year, the complete production solution specialist will be providing the lighting support to one of the Fringe’s best-known and busiest venues: the Gilded Balloon. White Light will also help the venue celebrate its 30th anniversary, with today marking exactly 30 years since it first featured as part of the festival.
Since its formation in 1947, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival has continuously grown and last year issued an estimated 2,183,591 tickets for 49,497 performances. The Gilded Balloon has also grown at a similarly rapid rate. Beginning life as a one studio theatre with only seven shows a day, it now operates nine spaces with over one hundred shows performed on a daily basis. The venue is renowned for its late night comedy shows and has helped launch the careers of household names such as Peter Kay, Bill Bailey and Russell Brand. This year it hosts acts such as Jo Brand, Alan Davies and Johnny Vegas. White Light will be providing both the lighting equipment and on-site support at the venue. Siobhan Briggs, Production Manager at the Gilded Balloon, comments: “It’s vital for us to have a supplier like White Light on board. Having a team who will come to your venue to ensure that everything is in full working order and that we’re getting the most out of every show is invaluable”.
Due to the vast array of work featured at the Gilded Balloon, this means that White Light can draw on its unparalleled range of lighting equipment. This year, the venue will be utilising the very latest technology such as the ShineBall, an RGB LED product with 80mm globes along with SGM G-Spots, moving lights that can be used outside without requiring additional weatherproofing. An Enttec E-Streamer Mk2 will also be used, with this being a playback device capable of recording multiple universes of DMX output from a lighting console and then playing them back in real time. Craig Bennett, White Light’s Hire Business Development Manager, comments: “With our services continuing to grow, we are able to offer the Gilded Balloon a whole host of equipment. By returning each year, our knowledge of both the venue and its programming constantly develops meaning we are able to offer a confident recommendation of the equipment which bests suits their requirements”.
The equipment and lighting set-up used in the Gilded Balloon is largely based around the performance spaces featured in the historic setting. Siobhan states: “We are based at Teviot Row House, a university building which is more than a century old. Therefore, on a practical level, we have to ensure that the equipment we use fits into this existing layout and doesn’t damage the infrastructure. Fortunately White Light are very understanding and ensure that whatever set-up they implement not only gets the most out of the historic location but that it remains unaffected”. Alison Neville, Head of Lighting at the Gilded Balloon, adds: “It is unbelievably helpful knowing that White Light not only have an expansive stock range but a highly-skilled team to accompany this. As a result, they can create set-ups which are perfectly matched for our various spaces, creating a better experience overall for our audience”.
This year is a significant one for the Gilded Balloon, with today marking exactly 30 years at the Fringe for the venue. Amongst the multiple celebrations is a star-studded Gala Event being held this Saturday. Alison comments: “The Gala promises to be an amazing evening. It embodies everything about the Gilded Balloon which has made it the renowned venue it is today: talented acts within a historic setting”. Craig adds: “It’s always a great opportunity to work with the Gilded Balloon, especially during a year such as this. To have remained a Fringe venue for 30 years just shows what a significant part of the festival it has become. We hope to continue our relationship and support some of the best work the Fringe has to offer”.
With the Edinburgh Fringe Festival now underway, White Light is excited to once again play a significant role in one of the most important creative events of the year. Siobhan comments: “We really enjoy working with White Light. Not only are they experts in their field but they are unbelievably helpful and friendly, making what could be quite a stressful experience rather enjoyable”. Alison adds: “Working with White Light has been a fantastic experience. Any problems, regardless of the size, were instantly solved. White Light are always happy to help whenever they can and we have complete confidence in them helping to get the most out of both our venue and its shows”.
photos: Sam Kane
13th August 2015
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