Historic Theatre Season Opens in Estonia

Photo by Tarmo Haud.

Vanemuine Theatre in Tartu, Estonia – the country’s oldest and first Estonian language theatre – celebrated the momentous opening of its 152nd season with an elaborate gala event staged in the city’s main square, with a lighting design created by Tõnis Järs featuring Robe moving lights.

Not only was it a great historic occasion, but it was a joyous moment for the public and everyone connected to the landmark Theatre representing the ‘hard re-start’ of Vanemuine as a lively cultural melting-pot for art and creativity and a vital community hub after the pandemic period.

The event’s main stage performance action included a vibrant array of ballet and operetta pieces, culminating in a full-on orchestral concert and unique collaboration between the Vanemuine Symphony Orchestra and popular Estonian electro-pop artist, NOËP, (Andres Kõpper).

Vanemuine owns a large quantity of Robe moving lights that are used throughout its three main theatre spaces, so Tõnis, who also works at the Theatre, specified Robe as the core luminaires on the event lighting design. However, with all three venues in use for daily performances, many lights were unavailable for this event, so rental company E&T stepped in to provide any shortfall in fixtures.

On the rig were 22 x Pointes, 8 x Spiiders, 14 x LEDBeam 150s, 8 x LEDWash 1200s 12 x LEDWash 800s four 600E Spots and four LEDWash 600s, all picked for their versatility as Tõnis had to cover a wide range of performance genres.

A front, two rear and two side lighting trusses – all part of the stage and roof system – were filled with the moving lights, with a few fixtures on the deck for additional dynamics. As most of the stage space was taken up with the symphony orchestra, fitting lighting around this scenario was “challenging”.

The Pointes, Spiiders and LEDBeam150s were used for producing multiple effects, the LEDWash 1200s for solid back and contra light, the LEDWash 800s for front light, while the 600E Spots proved great for specials like spotting and keying the conductor or picking out and highlighting solos.

Pointes and Spiiders were the stars of the show and worked hard – “they are excellent fixtures capable of very impressive effects,” stated Tõnis. The three different types of LEDWash were chosen due to availability and because they “can be counted on to do a good and reliable job,” he confirmed.

Tõnis programmed and operated the one-night show using an MQ80 console.

He has been using Robe products in his work for the last 8 or so years and reckons “it’s a world-leading brand”. He appreciates the “huge effort” Robe puts into quality assurance of their products, adding that he works with these products daily, and even the older fixtures pushing 8 or 9 years are consistent and reliable running six days per week, 12 hours a day!

Apart from the “superb” Robe product ranges, Tõnis loves the brand’s marketing strategies, the general vibe surrounding Robe and especially the showroom bar at HQ in Valašské Meziříčí, Czech Republic!

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