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SpotTrack and Those Few Shows of 2020
UK - With SpotTrack, the specialist entertainment software tool for making, modifying and maintaining followspot cue sheets sold on a per-show basis, it provided an immediate measure of the shut down of the entertainment industry across the world last March: all sales stopped.
But equally, it proved a barometer of an industry flickering back to life later in the year, with SpotTrack put to use on a number of the high-profile productions which re-opened for limited runs from the summer on.
At the Troubadour Theatre in Wembley, lighting designer Ken Billington and associate LD Dale Driscoll put SpotTrack to use on Sleepless In Seattle, which had actually loaded in pre-lockdown and was then one of the first shows to get going again once London’s lockdown was lifted. Based on the movie of the same name, the show played a limited but well-received season, helping to prove that audiences were not just willing to come to the theatre, but longing to do so. SpotTrack helped Driscoll run three Juliat Cyrano front spots, carefully spaced apart on the venue’s rear catwalk to conform to the UK’s social distancing rules.
Then as Christmas approached, SpotTrack was put to use on two high profile productions in London: Pantoland at the Palladium, and A Christmas Carol at the Dominion.
Pantoland was lit by Ben Cracknell as all of the recent Palladium pantos have been. Cracknell’s assistant, Andrew Exeter, used SpotTrack to document the show’s three front followspots, which worked alongside a Zactrack automated tracking system. This continues Exeter’s use of SpotTrack on these Palladium pantomimes, now a regular feature of the London theatre scene.
A Christmas Carol was lit by Mike Robertson, with associate LD Adam Archer using SpotTrack to manage the show’s followspots. The show managed to play nine previews, a press night and then a second show.
Sadly the runs of both Pantoland and A Christmas Carol were cut short as London was moved into a ‘tier 4’ partial lockdown. However, audiences lucky enough to attend one of the few performances demonstrated again how much they’d missed live performance, and both shows use of SpotTrack provided a little support to the UK’s backstage charity, Backup Tech, with SpotTrack users able to select their copy to support Backup in the UK or Behind The Scenes in the US.
photos: Ben Cracknell, Andrew Exeter and Mike Robertson
11th January 2021
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