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Ambersphere Solutions support students at New College Nottingham

Ambersphere Solutions support students at New College Nottingham
Ambersphere Solutions support students at New College Nottingham

UK - Talk to anyone involved in delivering further and higher education for technical theatre or entertainment arts and they will all agree that one of the major challenges for colleges and universities is being able to offer students access to the very latest, state-of-the-art equipment. In today’s rapidly evolving industry, new technology can become almost obsolete within a few years. Administrators at Nottingham New College decided to take a pro-active approach to overcome this.

Technical course leader, Lucy Greaves explains: “Our FdA Theatre Arts (Acting) students were preparing a performance of ‘Terrorism’ by the Presnyakov Brothers and the FdA Theatre Arts (Technical) students were providing the technical support required for the play. The director of the performance, Phil Green who is the course leader of the FdA Theatre Arts (Acting) course requested a lighting effect that could focus on an actor’s face. The technical tutor, Andy Atkin suggested that ideally we would require something like a Clay Paky Sharpy for its narrow beam, however this would be way too bright for our needs and and too rich for our budget.”

“After doing a bit of research for possible solutions, I decided to contact Glyn O’Donoghue at Ambersphere Solutions. Although the website appeared very approachable it was with some trepidation that I made what was literally a ‘cold call’! However, Glyn was very accommodating and interested in helping us; from there the collaboration began.”

O’Donoghue put Thor Andre’ from the technical sales team in charge of the project and he liaised directly with technical tutor, Andy Atkin. “Thor suggested that the Ayrton MagicDot-RT and the Ayrton NandoBeam-S3 would be most suited to the needs of our production and that he would drive up and demo the equipment. He also offered to bring a MA dot2 Core console to give the students the chance to get hands-on with a board that opens a whole range of programming techniques and technical advantages not available on our current control desk. It was wonderful to give the students the opportunity to be working with newly developed equipment and software, enabling them to be experiencing current industry technology. Thor was very generous with his time and advice; his enthusiasm towards the product and the production was exceptional – the students had a fantastic experience working with him.”

Rosie Whitehead, the lighting designer and a FdA technical student in year 2 comments: “The workshop with Thor enabled me to be able to use the technology in a correct way for theatre and has given our production an extra professional edge. It was a great opportunity.”

Lighting operator, Georgia Boichi-Giovarni is in full agreement: “The dot2 was a wonderfully simple desk to learn and use. The inclusion of the touch screen colour mixer made choosing the perfect colour for each scene so easy and quick.”

Andre’ himself clearly relished the experience: “I was delighted when Glyn asked me to look after this project. Working with the next generation of up and coming lighting designers and programmers is incredibly rewarding. After having spent the entire day training on the console the final words from Rosie and Georgia made it all worth it. As I was packing up to leave, I heard them say to Andy that they wanted to stay for a further couple of hours to get to know the console even better. That kind of commitment speaks volumes and really makes me enjoy my job! The dot2 had enabled them to shave almost a day of the programming time compared to what they normally need. It speaks volumes for the dot2 and also meant none of the overnight programming sessions that we all 'love' so much!”

The play’s director, Course Leader Phil Green fully appreciates the extra dimensions that the inclusion of the MagicDot-Rs and the NandoBeam-S3s afforded. “The provision of the technology from Ambersphere was an invaluable addition to the creative process. For student designers it opened so many options that would otherwise have not been available to them. As a director it was a joy to have those possibilities presented that helped define the presentation of the piece. As a consequence of this it was also a fantastic learning tool for the actors – and it looked amazing!”

Andre’ concurs wholeheartedly: “I was lucky enough to go up and see the show and the design and execution of it was beautiful. Had I not known they were using moving lights, I would not have been able to tell. Moving lights used as repositionable specials instead of effects lights, is a very powerful tool for a lighting designer when it is done right, like it was here.”

New College Nottingham’s production of ‘Terrorism’ was performed on 9th and 10th December.

Technical tutor Atkin has the final word: “Myself and the students found great pleasure in working with the new and exciting technology supplied in kind by Ambersphere. The collaboration with Ambersphere has created a fabulous opportunity for learners to work and experiment with leading edge technology from Ayrton and MA. The NandoBeam S3 moving head LED wash is capable of integrating into our generic rig seamlessly. The range of features built into the fixture were easily accessible by the learners on the MA dot2 Core console. When we are granted any new investment we would certainly be looking to Ambersphere for advice and guidance.” 

Ambersphere Solutions support students at New College NottinghamAmbersphere Solutions support students at New College Nottingham

15th January 2016

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