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The Harbour Club Theater’s Appetite for Robe
The Netherlands – The Harbour Club brand is renowned in the Netherlands and around the world for its distinctive blend of quality, mouth-watering, high-end cuisine, vibrant international ambience, stunning industrial backdrops, and cool contemporary art, offering a unique dining-based experience that’s stylish and fun.
The latest evolution in this successful concept is the just-completed The Harbour Club Theater, an exciting brand-new 300-capacity purpose-built performance and event space located adjacent to The Harbour Club’s flagship restaurant Amsterdam Oost. It extends the opportunity of sampling exquisite food whilst enjoying top-notch entertainment, starting with the show VEGAS starring Dutch magician and world level illusionist Hans Klok, plus a cast of eight dancers, four singers, three acrobats and a live band.
Lighting for this exclusive new venue has been designed by Benny La Maitre, who put 24 Robe T1 Profiles, 28 LEDBeam 350s and six Spiider wash beam moving lights at the centre of the rig.
This is part of an overall next level production design encompassing audio, video, staging, pyro and sound effects, all planned and co-ordinated by The Harbour Club technical manager, Bob Nieuwland, who started the design process by drawing up the set in WYSIWYG. He then asked Benny on board to fine-tune the details which included the swapping of some lighting fixtures once the final look of the set was established.
The lighting was delivered via Rotterdam-based Peitsman Licht en Geluid (Peitsman Lighting and Sound) headed by Hans Peitsman, one of several companies asked to quote on supplying a technical package that will include ongoing support, based on a comprehensive brief developed by Bob for The Harbour Club Theater.
Bob has been working for The Harbour Club for several years, looking after all their technical and production aspects, so when the theatre project re-energised as Covid restrictions were gradually lifted (the initial venue / show ideas were germinating before 2020), he asked Benny on board to create an appropriate lighting design.
VEGAS in The Harbour Club Theater is a lively combination of genres: theatre, cabaret and music, for which Bob knew that Benny’s work and skills would be “a perfect fit”.
In addition to staging their own world-class productions, the location of The Harbour Club Theater is available for select private hires and business events for which there’s already a queue!
Bob and Benny were both instrumental in specifying Robe for the moving lights, together with a list of lighting ‘must-haves’.
These included compact fixtures as the headroom above the stage to the LX bars is tight and consequently the lights had to be quiet as well as camera-friendly for recording or streaming. In keeping with The Harbour Club’s vision, the technical design demanded premium brands, so Robe was a great fit, together with the L-Acoustics system and audio design by Jeroen ten Brinke.
“Flexibility had to be at the heart of the lighting system, as the needs for the show and also the room architecture are diverse and can and do change daily, often at the last minute,” explained Benny, adding that he also wanted to keep the design ‘clean’ with just a few key types of multi-functional signature fixtures. These also had to be LED.
Robe’s T1 Profiles were chosen for their finessed theatre features, compact size, fantastic colours, silent operation and “ideal for the space”, says Benny. They are used for all the base front and back lighting.
He has lit several other projects with T1s including a variety show starring Herman Van Veen and thinks it’s an “amazing” fixture.
The LEDBeam 350s are for side lighting, positions where they needed a small bright light with a quiet zoom. Originally the plan was to have Robe’s tiny LEDBeam 150s in these positions, but as the 350 version was launched earlier in 2021, these were swapped for the more powerful lights.
The Spiiders are currently being used as a flexible floor package which can also be rigged over the stage if required.
Benny has been a Robe fan since the launch of the DL series – Robe’s first-generation of theatre / performance specific LED luminaires – and since then has regularly specified the brand for his designs.
Benny and Bob are both confident that this design and these Robe fixtures will provide all the lighting adaptability, creativity and production values needed to enhance the quality of The Harbour Club Theater experience.
All lighting is run from a grandMA3 console.
The Harbour Club Theater’s interior design is visually rich and beautifully detailed, from the array of tactile and shimmering finishes and colours to the fresh, glamour-hustle original artworks of Italian-Dutch neo-pop artist Selwyn Senatori, positioned incidentally around the space for max impact. The venue’s aesthetic has been thoughtfully imagined by one of the owners, all adding to the elegant, funky, and swanky mood.
The VEGAS show differs from other ‘supper club’ models with its stand-alone thread rather than a linear narrative. The storyline is based around the activities of a high-end Las Vegas hotel, in which guests visit different levels throughout the evening, leaving the theme open to individual interpretation, and the producers enough latitude to present a range of artists, anything from 'Sinatraesque' to Pink! Hans Klok, Martin Garrix, etc., who can be anywhere: in the cocktail bar or in the sophisticated nightclub.
“We are definitely on a journey far beyond Las Vegas from Amsterdam East,” concludes Bob.
photos: Nico Alsemgeest and SetVexy
22nd February 2022
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