Vejle Musikteater, in the attractive fjord-side town of Vejle in Denmark, is – usually – a bustling hub for live entertainment, events and all types of performance, as one of the busiest multipurpose venues in the country offering a dynamic mix of band concerts, dance and DJ events, theatre production and conferences, events and presentations.
Like most venues, it closed as Covid-19 silently and stealthily spread worldwide, stopping the industry in its tracks in March! However, far from becoming a ghost-like shell of its former self, staff, management and crew have been busy in the last six month overseeing a complete technical refit … and the Musikteater has just cautiously reopened for shows and business to reduced capacities and a new set of Covid-compliant operational rules and regulations.
During this long “dark” period, the venue’s technical manager Rasmus Primdahl explained, they purchased 16 new Robe ESPRITE LED Profiles which have been added to the existing 16 x ESPRITES – selected after extensive comparative in-house testing with competitor products – and acquired at the end of 2019 from Robe’s Danish distributor, Light Partner.
The 32 x ESPRITES join 16 x Spiiders and 16 x Tetra2 moving LED battens which are also new for 2020 plus 10 x LEDWash 600s and eight Spikie fixtures which were already at the venue which invested in Robe steadily in recent years.
The moving lights have provided an adaptable solution that works with numerous setups across all their performance spaces.
Additionally, just recently they also just purchased five Robe PixelPATTs which are used to help create atmospheric backgrounds for streaming applications and for adding scenic ‘prop’ dimensions to some of the live shows.
“We are delighted with all of these fixtures,” comment Rasmus P and the Musikteater’s head of lighting, Rasmus Wiberg.
Vejle Musikteater has two halls, the “Store Sal” (Large Hall) hosts the main stage with a (normal) capacity of 1134 while the Jacob Gade Salon (JGS) is a smaller flexible space for up to 280 guests.
For the moment, in this pandemic phase of operation, the capacity of the large hall is limited to 500, but that did enable them to start staging live music shows again at the end of August.
The 16 new ESPRITES were bought to replace front lights on one of the two auditorium ‘advanced’ bridges in the main hall.
The bridge nearest the stage which had housed 18 x conventional profiles was removed completely, so the new front lights position on the second bridge is now 19 metres back from the downstage edge of the stage.
So, they needed more powerful luminaires and they wanted moving lights so this ‘front row’ could be focussed quicker and more efficiently without having to access the roof bridges every time!
Now everything on this bridge can be controlled from the FOH position and the venue can offer the best service and options to the many visiting LDs who arrive with artists and shows.
The ESPRITE was also selected for its quietness. This is especially important for conferences, lectures, presentations, and seminars and spoken word performance, and essential with the ‘new’ front bridge position being closer to the audience.
The other features required for these front lights included framing shutters, a large zoom / focus range and excellent colour mixing … all standard on the ESPRITE, which also gives all the flexibility needed together with light weight and of course, Robe’s famous TE (transferrable engine) making it an extremely cost-efficient option for any installation.
The EMS (Electronic Motion Stabilizer) system – which reduces pan / tilt beam deviation caused by truss movement or vibration – also impressed Rasmus W and Rasmus P who mention how highly they value the “excellent” service and support from Light Partner as a distributor.
While these 16 x ESPRITE front lights will stay in the main hall, the other moving lights can all be moved to the JGS if needed together with all the other house lighting fixtures or they can be used for summer and outdoor season shows as nothing is in a permanently fixed position.
The artists and shows coming through the Musikteater are a mix of those with their own productions, those using the house rig and a combination of both, but it’s expected that everyone will use the new ESPRITE front lights. Around 35% of these shows will be lit by Rasmus W and his house lighting team.
The 2020 upgrade saw the 16 new Spiiders replace 10 of their original LEDWash 600s with which they have been extremely pleased over the last 8 years, while another 10 x LEDWash 600s remain on the JGS rig.
The first artists to use the new lighting rig included – Barselona, Pernille Rosendahl, Nicklas Sahl, and Alex Vargas + Nena.
It’s still early days for the new socially distanced Covid-era shows, but already the feedback from lighting designers has been extremely positive.
Guests are also enthusiastically embracing the chance to go and watch some live music again, although there are major changes in the venue layout. The public is not able to stay in the foyer or café areas before the show or during any intermissions. Instead, a bar and serving area has been set up outside where pre-ordered / purchased drinks can be collected, and even with the winter coming on, this is something that hardy Danish music fans will likely take in their stride!
Photos : Jeppe Søndergaard