Robbert Mak has been involved in lighting Openluchttheater Ede for over a decade, and he can’t recall a single instance when a first-time visitor hasn’t been awed into silence by this beautiful and historic open-air theatre.
“People who have not been here before look around in amazed silence as soon as they enter,” said Mak, project manager and designer for OBM/DMXwinkel. “Looking from the outside, they don’t expect to find such a beautiful amphitheatre when they enter.”
It’s easy to understand these visitors’ amazement. At its entrance on Van Pabstlaan, the theatre appears to be a nice pastoral site in a normal, everyday park. However, after walking past the green gated entrance and turning down a winding path, one is greeted by the sight of a beautiful bandshell stage deep below the surface of the ground, in the middle of a thick groves of trees, like a magical theatre in a mystical forest!
Openluchttheater Ede is as rich in history as it is in breathtaking panoramas. The theatre opened in 1936 on the site of former sand pit (hence its depth). A few years later it was destroyed by Nazi invaders. In 1945 Canadian army liberators rebuilt the theatre. A monument to those soldier stands at the venue today.
Recently, Mak and the team at OBM/DMXwinkel.nl enhanced the fan experience at this extraordinary venue by designing and installing a new lighting system that features 30 CHAUVET Professional IP65 fixtures run with a ChamSys MQ70 console.
“There was a wish to increase the safety for the technicians working there, as well as to create a lighting solution that would encompass not only the stage, but the entire theatre including the surrounding nature,” said Mak. “We took up the challenge and started designing.”
Key to meeting this challenge was the creation of a new front lighting solution. Mak and the team changed the position of front lighting units and automated the rig. Their plan called for the installation of six Maverick Storm 2 Profile fixtures and eight Ovation E-260WW IP ellipsoidals in the front lighting system.
“The Storm 2 Profiles together with the E-260WW IP profiles give us all the punch we could wish for,” said Mak. “We don’t run the ellipsoidals at over 25-percent, because they are so bright.”
Mak and the team also installed 16 Rogue Outcast 1 BeamWash fixtures throughout the rig to use for downlighting, side-lighting and general washing. He notes that the high output and wide zoom range of these fixtures, greatly increases the creative options open to designers at the theatre.
The fixtures in the theatre’s new rig were selected after a thorough evaluation. Since Openluchttheater Ede is an official monumental site, no structural changes could be made to the theatre itself, so everything had to be rigged on freestanding truss structures. This made it critical to include compact, lightweight fixtures in the design. Of course, given that the stage is outdoors, selecting IP65 units was essential.
“Marcel Zandbergen from Chauvet was very patient with us over quite a long process,” said Mak. “We determined the main wishes regarding functionality, and then started the search. Because IP-65 was a factor, the choice was narrowed down quickly, and we came to the kit as described.”
Setting up the new lighting system and seeing it work for the first time was a special moment for Mak, who said that he stood in awe of the final result of the team’s efforts, much like visitors do when they first enter this one-of-a-kind site.
Photo credit: SPARK – Fotografie.