White Light Provides Lighting for Stage Production of TV’s Heartbeat
Set in 1960’s Yorkshire, Heartbeat is one of the most successful dramas ever to be screened on British television. With 18 series and 372 episodes, the show was regularly watched by more than 14 million viewers and spawned two spin-off series. Now, for the first-time ever, this iconic show is being adapted into a stage production that will visit several venues across the UK. As the leading lighting supplier to the West End and UK touring theatre, White Light is providing the lighting equipment for this world premiere which has now opened at the Blackpool Grand Theatre.
Originally broadcast on ITV1, Heartbeat is set in the fictional village of Aidensfield and focuses on the local police force having to deal with the day-to-day events of living in a rural community. The stage version of the show is being produced by David Graham Entertainment Limited. Managing Director David Graham comments: “We have lots of experience in adapting television programmes for the stage, including Dinnerladies, Keeping Up Appearances, Rising Damp and Birds of a Feather. After a conversation with ITV, they suggested that due to its huge success and large fanbase, Heartbeat would also make a good stage show”.
The Heartbeat theatre production features original membersof the cast including David Lonsdale and Steven Blakeley, with a lighting design by Chris Davey. Chris states: “The play is very true to the television series and the main objective was to create a sense of The Aidensfield Arms, the pub featured in the series, along with the beautiful Yorkshire countryside. It’s also quite a fast-paced show which has been matched by the Set Designer Judy Reeve’s clever revolving set and projection”.
The lighting used on the show includes Martin MAC TW1 narrow lenses to light the main stage area along with Martin MAC Viper Performances which add backlight and texture to the set.
Chris adds: “Throughout the show, we frequently move from indoor to outdoor settings which results in the moving headlights being constantly on. Similarly, as the production takes place during various times of the day, I needed a lot of colour options which I could only achieve with the colour-mixing moving heads”.
Following its run at Blackpool, Heartbeat will visit venues across the UK, including High Wycombe, Birmingham, Eastbourne, Coventry, Manchester, Northampton, Newcastle and Glasgow to name but a few.
Chris comments: “Due to the popularity of the television show, this is an extremely busy touring schedule and I designed the rig with this in mind. The get-in for the show is literally a few hours and this includes setting up a revolving set and projection. Therefore I tried to use the moving lights as the main feature of the rig so there is as little as possible to replot with each fit up”.
Heartbeat runs until June 2016 and there is hope that it will return in 2017 with more of the original cast members. David comments: “This is a fantastic show that fills the gap that the television series left when it ended in 2010. We are really grateful to WL for supplying the lighting and helping us bring this great production to the stage”.