White Light Joins The Band as it Begins UK Tour

Written by Tim Firth and featuring music by Take That, The Band tells the story of five 16-year-old friends in 1992, who idolise their favourite band, and follows them as adults as they try to meet their pop heroes. The production will star the winners of the smash-hit BBC series Let It Shine who will play the singers of the band. The show opened yesterday evening at the Manchester Opera House to rave reviews and will now tour the UK. White Light has been called upon to provide the lighting equipment.

The Lighting Designer for the show is Patrick Woodroffe and his Associate is Rob Casey. Rob comments: “Working closely with Projection Designer Luke Halls, our role on the show was to aid the storytelling by guiding the audience, in terms of progressing the timeline as well as highlighting moments of particular importance. Similarly, there are two large concerts in each time period so we needed a lighting rig that could easily replicate these”. 

Unlike other musicals, The Band combines classic drama with recreated pop concerts on stage; something which Patrick and Rob were very conscious of when designing their rig. Rob explains: “The overhead LX trusses are deliberately silver as one of them is in view for the concert numbers. We also have two large stadium truss frames, which we use a lot for the 1992 concert, along with an LX bar full of Sharpy Washes that we utilise for the modern-day concert; with the equipment helping to define the separate timelines”.

To achieve their ideal rig, Patrick and Rob approached WL and drew on the company’s extensive equipment inventory. Rob comments: “The main rig is made up of MAC Viper Wash DXs, MAC Viper Performances, MAC TW1s and Aura XBs. The set design is a series of almost Hockney-esque polaroid frame projection surfaces which are reflected on the floor. The Viper Performances were perfect to form the shape of the rooms used in each scene, cutting out other parts of the stage. The Viper DXs are the workhorse of the rig in terms of general washes and the barn door feature was essential in keeping light off the various projection surfaces.

He continues: “The Auras were spec’d in order to give thick, saturated colours as a base level during the production numbers. The MAC TW1s do a lot of work in terms of face lighting. We were very conscious that the show needed to be as tourable as possible, which is why we have a minimal front of house rig so that we can replicate the show on each move”.

As with most touring productions, it was having to adapt to the various venues which would prove an obstacle that Patrick and Rob had to overcome: “With this show in particular, space is at a premium due to the grids being filled with set, scenery and projectors. Therefore, we worked closely with Production Electrician Chris Mence who was fantastic in helping make sure the show was modular whilst still allowing us to achieve the tricky angles and shots required”.

The show has now opened in Manchester to rave reviews. It will then move onto the Lyceum Theatre in Sheffield before touring the rest of the country, concluding at the Edinburgh Playhouse in July 2018.

Rob comments: “WL has been great, as always, with this production. They have constantly adapted to any changes in the rig and have been extremely accommodating throughout. This is a brilliant show and we look forward to sharing it with the rest of the UK”.

Photos courtesy of Matt Crockett.

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