Princes Hall, Aldershot

PCM – lifting, turning, moving, flying and rigging specialists – has just completed the refurbishment of stage equipment at the Princes Hall, Aldershot, Hampshire.

Photo Caption: Princes Hall’s technical manager Kevin Andrew with his Unibars!

The desperately needed overhaul and updating of the theatre’s hemp and winch systems was initiated by technical manager Kevin Andrew. His request to PCM was to replace it with a new, quick-and-easy lifting solution that would allow the venue’s busy technical team to capitalise on tight turnaround times.

The theatre stages all types of productions from a miscellany of live bands – classical to contemporary, dramas, theatrical productions, dance, musicals, cabaret, panto, comedy, etc. Their busy schedule often sees 4 – 5 different shows going through in a week, all with different lighting and production requirements.

PCM’s projects manager Tony Griffiths spotted an opportunity to recommend using their new award winning Unibar™ – winner of the PLASA 2003 Award for Product Design Excellence in the stage engineering category.

The Unibar ™ is ideal for this style of venue, offering a real cost-effective alternative to electric Pilewind hoists.

Designed around `BS7905 part 1` and the `Technical Standards For Places Of Entertainment`, the Unibar has been designed with a safety ratio of 8 to 1 at a maximum loading of 400 Kgs. Completely contained within its own support bracket, the Unibar allows a chain hoist to electrically drive a clew plate horizontally along a guide track. Attached to the clew plate can be up to 10 suspension cables. The cables pass around guide pulleys and lower to a suspension bar, truss or lighting bar.

Kevin Andrew soon realised that the compact and flexible nature of the Unibar ™ would fit perfectly onto the Princess Hall’s 60mm tubular grid. In addition to this, the Unibar excelled itself due to the limited wing space and the sloping roof, an environment where alternative methods of controlled electrical lifting would have been extremely difficult.

One of the Unibar`s many bonuses is the low electrical current required to operate each unit. Only 10.5 amps is required to operate all five Unibar`s™ simultaneously at the Princes Hall.

Andrew comments, “The Unibars have changed our lives here! Trying to lift a touring rig of moving lights on a hemp bar was not fun! Now with the Unibars, it can all be done at the touch of a button. They are quick, reliable, do the job and allow us to be so much more efficient and flexible than before.”

In addition to the Unibar`s, PCM also installed three of their own worm-driven Oil Bath manually operated winch systems, which also consist of new ball-raced pulleys, steel wire cables and suspension bars.

Working closely with Adam Beaumont from A.C. Lighting North, the Princes Hall’s lighting system was updated with a new front of house Litec QX30 24-way internally wired truss, three 12-way onstage lighting bars, two of A.C’s own Tourspot 575 automated lighting fixtures and a 24 way patch panel for use with the existing dimmer system.

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