Find out a little more about some of our work.
The Exchange, North Shields is a performance space inside a Grade 2 Listed building in North Tyneside, the scope of work was to improve the current performace space; which, in essence, is a ballroom hall with a small stage and free standing black legs to mask and create a backstage area. There was limited lighting from front of house, at a harsh angle due to the height of the buildings ceilings and there was no overhead lighting on stage.
The team at the exchange came to us last year to begin a phased project to improve the performance space, increase flexibility of the space, and install more technology to meet requirements of touring productions as a receiving house.
The first phase of this project was to upgrade the stage itself, which was looking tired, getting squeaky, and not scalable. We replaced this with a scalable stage, built from Global Truss Stage Deck, including catwalk extensions into the wings so that performers can walk straight onto the stage with pace rather than up steps onto the stage. Built to a size of 6x4m matching the existing stage, with additional decks to extend a trust or catwalk on the stage up to 6x6m, handrails and skirt boards this made the space much more versatile and user friendly.
Phase 2 was to increase the rigging capabilities of the venue and to allow overhead lighting on stage. Due to restrictions with any listed building, we opted for a ground supported free standing truss structure, which spans the footprint of the stage and out into the wings, allowing overhead, back and side lighting from a variety of angles to suit the high throughput of tribute bands and plays that pass through the receiving house.
Phase 3 was a flexible and easy to use lighting rig, which is versatile enough to light a rock band one day, then a contemporary theatre play or dance piece the next. Expanding on the current generic rig of Source 4 Profiles and Par Cans, we opted for a moving head approach on stage. Using Prolight Concepts Group Equinox Fusion 260ZR Wash and Fusion 100 MkII Spots, for a full stage cover and option for beams, specials and break up cover. As the stage is raised from floor level access to focus is limited as the venue only have a genie lift which can reach the required height, the option for moving lights was implemented for remote focus via the lighting desk, so that the venue staff did not have to dismantle the stage every show to refocus. Further front light was added in the means of a pop up LED T-Bar system, again from Prolight Concepts Group, this again for flexibility of the eclectic nature of the shows passing through the venue, meaning they can be moved quickly and easy around the space, from backlight for rock bands, to side light for dance and front light from above for traditional theatre on the stage, or on the floor for "in the round" performances, they can also be taken across to the bar area or other spaces around the venue for use on pop up performances.
Of course no rock and roll lighting rig would be complete without a hazer to show of all them beams, and a new lighting console to deal with the control of moving lights. The old Zero 88 Frog was packed away for the winter and replaced with a ChamSys MagicQ laptop and fader wing.
Finally communication was the last tick box on the requirements of the theatre space, so we installed a Clear-Com talk back system between front of house and backstage.
Our staff were on hand from the beginning, working with the venue to design and spec the new install to give them the best value for money but most scalable and future proof system, through to installing the equipment, and then training the venue staff and volunteers on how operate and best use the system.
Phase 4, work on the front of house, bar and courtyard area is currently underway, creating an intermate space for small gigs, events, and functions. We look forward to sharing this last part of the project with you very soon.