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Christie Lites Coventry Announces UK Team

Christie Lites Coventry Announces UK Team

UK – Christie Lites Coventry has put its UK team in place at its newest – and first overseas location – for the North American stage lighting and rigging rental company.

The warehouse doors open earlier than previously announced to accommodate its first UK/European tour with long-time client KISS. Limited business begins 1st April, with full operations expected to be running by 1st May.

Temporarily serving as set-up team are Dan Souwand, vice president of operations, and Mark Wolverton, operations manager of the CL New York office. Both are on location to ensure the shop and staff are compliant with Christie Lites standards.

Staffing the new UK office are operations manager Andy Mitchinson, along with account reps Roy Hunt and Andy Strachan.

Andy Mitchinson’s 25-year lighting industry career started in 1990 at The Oxford Apollo Theatre, then The Shepherds Bush Empire where he designed for various dance bands. In 1996 he moved to Australia as touring crew for Jands and Bytecraft for the next nine years. His personal highlight was as crew chief for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games opening ceremony. Mitchinson returned to the UK in 2005 as PRG crew chief for stadium world tours including The Black Eyed Peas, Bon Jovi, Oasis, and Sam Smith. He just finished with Drake’s world tour in Paris before joining Christie Lites Coventry.

“Over the years I have only heard good things of the Christie Lites family from my colleagues,” says Mitchinson, “so I am excited to be a part of their expansion into Europe, especially knowing we have the full confidence and support of the extensive US operations behind us.”

Welcoming Mitchinson to the Coventry office, Souwand says: “Andy brings a strong touring background and work ethic, and a great understanding of what it takes to get the job done right, making sure that every show leaving the shop is up to Christie Lites’ and his own high level of quality. This is a reputation backed up by key mutual colleagues and I thank a particular Aussie mate for bringing Andy to our attention.”

Andy Strachan has 23 years in the lighting industry, starting in various theatres in Newcastle, then at various West End theatres in London while studying lighting design and getting his electrical qualification. This led to the Gearhouse group in London with a focus on corporate shows, then to Gearhouse Dubai where he became head of lighting and rigging. During that ten year period Andy looked after many large scale one-off shows and tours passing through.

Strachan also worked in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait to bring touring shows to the American and British troops. A personal highlight was working in Libya in front of the bombed house of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in the capital. Through multiple walls of anti-aircraft guns and armed troops, the house was untouched by the bombing, which set the stage for Lionel Richie to perform.

Strachan later moved back to PRG UK as a senior account manager working across all markets, before coming to CL Coventry.

On joining Christie Lites, Strachan commented: “I am really looking forward to working with such a great team to deliver the best service possible for our clients.”

Roy Hunt studied electrical engineering in college and has spent the past 27 years touring in the industry. He started in the lighting industry in the early 1990s at Light & Sound Design in Birmingham, UK, where he went on to crew chief countless world tours with Prince, David Bowie, Pink, Oasis, Stevie Wonder, Jay Z, Korn, Christina Aguilera, Joe Cocker among many. He also served as lighting director for Rod Stewart, Il Divo, Eros Ramazzotti, Boyz II Men, Slash and others. In 2011 he got off the road and into the office as senior account manager with PRG to concentrate on delivering high profile global tours and shows.

Hunt considers himself blessed to have worked in the industry with some talented people, helping to deliver some amazing shows. “The experience gained from this has etched into me the importance of delivering the very best service possible,” Hunt says. “That’s why I am excited about working with Huntly and everyone at Christie Lites, a company that has its foundations firmly rooted in delivering the very best service as its number one priority.”

Welcoming Strachan and Hunt to the Christie Lites family of reps, CL CEO Huntly Christie says: “I am proud to have them providing the first face of Christie Lites in the UK. For the past 30 years, our focus has been on assembling a long-term team of lighting industry professionals with a passion for gigs and a keen eye on beneficial business. Our UK team will continue the Christie commitment to lighting designers and specifiers who seek out consistent top value and service in the UK, Europe and around the world. Andy and Roy are two top men in the stage lighting business, and I am grateful that they have come on board the Christie Lites bus.”

In picture: Christie Lites Coventry team of Andy Strachan, Andy Mitchinson and Roy Hunt.

29th March 2017

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