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White Light Starts New School Year at Bryanston
UK - WL has an unparalleled reputation in theatre lighting having supplied venues of all shapes and sizes for over 48 years. Alongside traditional theatres, WL also works closely with schools and educational institutions. One of these is Bryanston School, which is located next to the town of Blandford Forum in Dorset and which recently upgraded its existing lighting system. The School’s technical and production manager James Henshaw explains: “At Bryanston, there are a wide range of performance spaces, with the main one being Coade Hall which is a purpose-built 600 seater theatre. With 15-20 productions a year, pupils have plenty of opportunities to perform, design and direct. Pupils interested in the technical side are able to join the stage crew to learn how to handle the equipment and design, light and costume a production. As a drama department, we have a fantastic reputation and need to ensure we live up to this, hence the upgrade to our existing lighting equipment.”
Alongside maintaining Bryanston’s reputation for excellence, there were several other reasons behind James’ desire to invest in new lighting fixtures. He explains: “We wanted to improve pupil engagement and learning opportunities, through using the very latest fixtures. By having industry-standard equipment, this allows pupils to become familiar with the technology they would use should they pursue a career in the sector. There were also several practical reasons why we needed to upgrade. Not only would new fixtures mean a reduction to working at height in the auditorium and roof space but also the LED units would result in significant energy savings which would then result in a reduction of lighting hire costs for the school.”
In order to decide on which fixtures to invest in, James and his team organised a range of demonstrations from several manufacturers. He explains: “We wanted to ensure that we saw everything that was available to us before making any sort of decision. Whilst we wanted the most flexible, robust units possible, we were also aware of our budgetary requirements and ensuring we received the most from our purchase. After reviewing several manufacturers, it became clear that the Chauvet fixtures were the ones which fulfilled all of our requirements.”
With this in mind, James contacted WL’s key account manager Ally DeCourcy who helped source the fixtures he required. These included: 12 Chauvet Maverick MK2 Washes, 18 MK2 Profiles, 20 Colorado 72 Battens, eight Ovation E910-FC, 15 Colorado2 Quad Zooms and ten Chauvet Synapse4.
James explains: “All of these fixtures fulfil every one of our requirements. We decided on the Maverick MK2 Wash for three main reasons: the zoom range from tight beam at 7° degree to full wash at 49° degree, the ability to use the individual pixels to create eye candy looks as well as the beam and wash looks alongside their superior light output , colour-mixing and size and weight. As for the MK2 Profile, shuttering was a high priority for us and we couldn’t find anything else in this price range that was LED with the same light output and shuttering. These fixtures have allowed our rig to become extremely versatile, meaning it now caters for a full range of genres from music gigs to plays, dance to opera, and conferencing to musicals. We know we can rely on the Chauvet units, having previously invested in some Washes and Amhaze Whispers, and have since actually purchased two Chauvet Cumulus. Not only that but the after sales care has been brilliant, with the team from Chauvet actually coming down and training my staff on how to maintain the units.”
The equipment has now been delivered to Bryanston and already used on a range of school productions, including Les Misérables. Not only that but it was also utilised to light the recent Dorset Opera Festival, which takes place at the school during the summer holidays.
James concludes: “We are extremely happy with the fixtures we’ve purchased and the immediate impact they’ve made; both in terms of our environmental and budgetary requirements along with the experience for our pupils. I’d also like to say a big thank you to Ally and the rest of the WL team for their constant support and guidance throughout.”
photos: Alan Wicks
8th January 2020
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