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Doughty helps Little Angel Theatre transform its newest venue

Doughty helps Little Angel Theatre transform its newest venue
Doughty helps Little Angel Theatre transform its newest venue

UK – The Little Angel Theatre (LAT) in the heart of Islington, London, is a home for puppetry. Not only does the theatre serve to inspire and ignite the imaginations of young minds with its repertoire of productions, but it also works to equip tomorrow's puppeteers with the tools they need to succeed. The LAT has a lively and imaginative education programme which works with local schools and community groups as well as providing training opportunities for puppeteers and puppet makers, helping to maintain this rare art form in the UK.

In 2014, the LAT took on a second building, a disused community centre behind Islington Town Hall. After a couple of years of using it for education and rehearsal space, David Duffy head of production, decided that it could be used to stage performances. With the support of the local council, the LAT made plans to install a lighting rig, sound system, track curtains, removable dance floor and flexible seating and chose to work with Doughty Engineering following a change meeting with Laurence Dyer at ABTT in 2016.

David said: "Initially we were interested in the Modular Rigging System. Little Angel Theatre is a venue dedicated to puppetry and much of the lighting design for puppetry involves lots of side lighting. Our main theatre was developed to give as many rigging positions on the side walls as possible. Moving into a more open studio space which would be used as an education venue most of the time meant that we would be relying more on a fixed overhead lighting rig. The Modular Rigging System allows us to drop rigging positions down to a better height for side lighting which we can then strike quickly and easily for classes and courses. After speaking at length to Laurence I was then drawn to more products."

Doughty supplied an Easydeck modular staging system for tiered audience seating and four modular rigging drop down booms for the new studios. "Doughty was incredibly supportive in terms of Easydeck," explained David. "I had a limited budget and knew that I could afford the system but wanted to test it out first. The only way to do this was to set up an entire seating bank which Laurence was very happy to lend us. When we realised it was more than he could load into a car he arranged a freight delivery at a day's notice – with no pressure to buy. He said we could arrange to have it returned if we didn't like it, and of course that wasn't a problem at all! We were delighted with it and bought it that very week."

In addition, LAThas also ordered some 750mm and 1000mm boom arms for the main theatre space to get rigging positions further into the playing space than previously. These also work well for their touring shows where they are used alongside Doughty Tank Traps to create a 'tree' of lights which is easy for touring and allows the LAT to take an ambitious lighting design into small scale theatres and even into school settings.

David concluded: "Doughty's name is synonymous with high quality throughout the industry and being able to invest in hardware of that quality is very important when trying to start a venue from scratch. The customer service has been exemplary and having met Laurence at trade shows and events, I would say he stands out as somebody willing to spend time listening and considering your situation. He takes time and care to ensure you're getting the best possible service, even if you're only enquiring about something that may lead to the purchase of a few bolts. I've enjoyed getting to know this fantastic company a little better, having used their kit for my whole career."

17th March 2017

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