Robe’s news team visited Queensland Theatre back in February … just before the pandemic turned 2020 upside down! This is the story of the theatre’s experience with their Robe LEDWash300+s.
Queensland Theatre – usually – sits at the buzzing heart and soul of Brisbane’s lively arts and performance scene, producing around eight or nine main stage productions a year between the 351-capacity Bille Brown Theatre in the south of the city and at the 4-venue Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC). The theatre also has a strong youth and educational program which allows school-aged artists to stage shows with the company. On top of that, they also receive shows at both the Bille Brown and QPAC, and tour productions across Australia throughout the year.
The Theatre has Robe LEDWash 300+s, eight of which were in residence when technical coordinator Lachlan Cross arrived in May 2017, which has since increased to 32 fixtures.
The main increase in fixtures came when they finished renovating the Bille Brown Theatre in October 2018, after a A$ 5.5 million renovation which converted it from the former 228-seat Bille Brown Studio into the space it is today, complete with corner stage.
The new lights were installed to facilitate the first show after the reopening, and more recently additional LEDWash 300+s brought the count up to 32.
This number gives enough stock for the option of being able to service more than one production simultaneously with LEDWash 300+s including their touring shows.
At the time of the interview, all 32 were on the “Emerald City” show in the Playhouse at QPAC where they made up the overhead wash lighting rig.
Lachlan commented that he and others in the technical department – including technical manager Daniel Maddison – were all impressed with how the newer fixtures matched the original ones in continuity of output and without needing any additional calibration.
A number of different lighting designers work at the theatre including some regulars. They tend to be appointed by the director of each show, so LDs from all over Australia and internationally will visit and work there over the course of a year. In all cases, they are “very happy to work with the LEDWashes,” says Lachlan.
He mentions that the fixtures work equally well in the Playhouse, an 850-seat pros arch venue as at the Bille Brown. “They are extremely powerful and bright for the small size, and some who have initially been sceptical at first have quickly changed their minds once they’ve started using them!”
For him, ‘small is beautiful’ is a great concept that saves weight loading, power consumption and truck space, making the LEDWash 300 a great solution.
The Bille Brown Theatre has a flexible pipe-based rigging system and the LEDWash fixtures can be orientated in either direction above the corner stage as they have the single hook clamp. They are fitted with the top hat modules for soft diffusion. Most of the time they use them in Mode 2 which is one zone that allows for hi-res dimming and pan / tilt movement.
The LEDWash 300+s are the only moving lights that Queensland Theatre currently owns, although they do have 36 Lustr Series 2 LED zoom profiles as well as a range of generics including profiles, fresnels, multi-Pars and PAR 64s. When there is a request for profile moving lights, they will generally rent in according to the LDs preferences.
The Robes have been supplied to the theatre via their local lighting partner, Entertainment Production Supplies.
Photos: Louise Stickland.