Robe UK Supplies Sundial Theatre

Robe UK has supplied moving lights via Caterham-based Total Europhia – to the Sundial Theatre, located on the campus of Cirencester College. The theatre has taken delivery of Robe Wash 250s and MSZoom 250 XTs.

As well as being an active producing house for the student productions of all types – including 6 major events a year – the theatre is also a receiving house for visiting commercial shows, tours and concerts, and also available for private hire for parties and corporate events of all types.

It’s also a hands-on training ground for students on the BTEC National Diploma in Technical Theatre and for the College’s various A level courses also encompassing drama and technical production. All students touching any aspect of theatre production work in their courses train in the Sundial, They also have the opportunity to be part of the creative and technical teams running the various in-house productions, as well as crewing external shows for additional experience. “It’s a great breeding and testing ground for technicians of the future” comments Sundial Theatre technical manager Andy Webb.

The theatre therefore needs to be a highly flexible facility, and Andy Webb has been gradually upgrading the production infrastructure in the four years he’s been in the post. This year – finding themselves increasingly hiring in moving lights for the major productions – the time came to look at buying their own.

Webb explains that this was a logical move not just because they needed a versatile and cost effective way of producing spectacular lightshows, but it was also becoming important for the students to have the latest technology to train and become familiar with.

Webb and his team first used Robe fixtures for the summer end of year production of Midsummer Night’s Dream, a promenade performance staged in and around the courtyard. The lighting design needed to be magical, and as the natural light diminished, the Robe fixtures took over casting a mercurial, ever changing subconscious presence across the playing area.

Webb was suitably impressed with the Robe units to put the wheels in motion for the purchase. Total Euphoria came up with an exceedingly good deal which worked for everyone, and so the Sundial took delivery of their initial batch of four ColorWash 250s and two MSZoom 250s.

The neat size of the fixtures is proving perfect for the space, and Webb also likes their brightness and smoothness. He’s found the DMX controllable fan useful, specially in student productions where voice projection can sometimes be problematic, so any ambient noise reduction is welcome.

The interchangeable gobos have also been a godsend – quick and easy to do and very user friendly for the students.

One of the first shows of the new term to put the new kit through it’s paces was a Catwalk Fashion Show charity event in aid of the Cotswold Care Hospice. Organised by local hairdressing impresario Russell Nurding, the even sold out two sessions and featured 15 tasty collections from local retail and fashion outlets.

Andy Webb designed a simple and effective set and added colour and pizzazz with the Robe fixtures, which played a central role. All were positioned on the floor in full view – a great tribute to their aesthetic integrity – two Washes were used to up-light the side gauzes and the other two were positioned on plinths either side of the catwalk to catch the models as they strutted their stuff. The MS Zooms were positioned tight to the base of the centre gauze, and used to project moving gobo patterns up onto it, in a dramatic TV style back-lighting effect.

The show was a huge success in terms of raising money and the slick high impact production.

Photo caption: Andy Webb (far R of shot) and his crew.

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