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Ambersphere goes to the Panto with Little Leigh
UK – With cheesy jokes, sometimes questionable costumes and a central tale of good versus evil, a traditional Christmas pantomime is a staple of the festive period. But, to ensure that everyone has a great time a lot of hard work goes into creating the right panto atmosphere, from writing a great script to getting a good cast. Often, the unsung heroes of the piece are the lighting team who design the show’s mood.
From lighting the bright rooms of the prince’s castle to establishing the dark gloom of the villain’s lair, panto lighting is vital to get right, as Leigh Mulpeter, who owns the lighting design company Little Leigh, knows full well. “Over the Christmas period we were hired to manage and provide the lighting for a production of Dick Whittington at the Hawthorne Theatre in Welwyn,” begins Mulpeter.
“For a show of this nature and a venue of this size what was needed was a small versatile product that could be quickly installed at any venue so I got on the phone to Ambersphere Solutions, who I have used in the past to see what they recommended. No sooner said than done, Thor André arrived with some NandoBeam S3 fixtures to demo. I was very impressed with their performance. I particularly like the speed of the zoom function and that the wide beam has a nice, evenly spread wash. I also like that they are very light and quick which makes them extremely versatile, always an important purchasing factor for a rental company such as ours.”
“Throughout the purchasing process the support from Ambersphere was fantastic. If I ever had a question or an issue they were only a phone call away. Ambersphere is a great company with a great bunch of friendly people and an exceptional approach to customer service. I would definitely use them again.”
When Dick Whittington entered production, Mulpeter decided to use his new NandoBeam S3s for the show. “The venue was quite small in relation to the size of the set, making the part of the set up a rather time-consuming affair; consequently, the time-frame for focusing was quite restrictive. However, despite a relatively short tech week, we managed to fix these issues ahead of the show.”
“Weight restrictions at the Hawthorne Theatre meant the NandoBeams were ideal due to their light weight, continues Mulpeter, “during the show I used the lights for a variety of purposes. Primarily, we used them to light set pieces as well as adding colour to scenes and to highlight actors. They effectively highlighted key elements in important scenes and their nice beam abilities really came into their own during some of the numbers.”
“Being my own worst critic, there were definitely elements of the lighting in the production I would change, however with 45 shows over 19 days and cinema turn-arounds most evenings, time was not on our side. It’s nice to know that the show was well received, especially by younger audiences, which I think means we did our job well. Oh, yes we did!”
In picture: Dick Wittington at the Hawthorne Theatre, Welwyn Garden City.
photos: Mark Bryan, A2Zoom Photography
31st January 2017
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