White Light Supplies Gilded Balloon Venues at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

White Light has returned to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe where it is supplying the lighting and rigging equipment for all of the Gilded Balloon venues for the sixth year running.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the world’s single biggest celebration of arts and culture. Every August, the Scottish capital welcomes around 3,500 shows in over 300 venues, including theatre, comedy, dance, circus, opera and much more. As a leading lighting supplier to West End and UK touring theatre, WL is currently working with Gilded Balloon – one of the Big Four venue operators at the Fringe.

WL’s Customer Service Key Account Manager Dan Last comments: “We work closely with Gilded Balloon across their five buildings: Teviot (nine spaces), The Museum (auditorium space), Old Tolbooth Market (three spaces), Rose Theatre (three spaces) and the newly-acquired Patter Hoose (five spaces). Our role is to supply the lighting and rigging solutions in each of these, ensuring that they are well-equipped and able to host a range of performances throughout the Festival”.

Prior to the Fringe, Dan and the WL team work closely with Gilded Balloon to decide on the equipment that will be used in each space. Dan explains: “We initially work with Karen and Katy Koren who each run Gilded Balloon, which is one of the only ‘Big Four’ producers who are Scottish based and operated. As we move closer to the Festival, we then liaise with Production Manager Meredith Rehburg and Technical Manager Simon Cook to finalise the specific technical requirements”.

This year saw the Gilded Balloon take on a new venue: Patter Hoose. Unlike the other spaces which were utilised at previous festivals, the producers had to create the technical set-up completely from scratch. Dan explains: “With Patter Hoose, we were asked to go up in January to see the space, which at that time was essentially four blank rooms and one lecture theatre. We were shown round the different spaces and asked to give recommendations as to what was needed to transform them into areas suitable for performance”.

Dan and WL’s Project Manager Luke Hance travelled back to Edinburgh in mid-July, two weeks before the Festival opened. They spent the first week working at Patter Hoose, building the truss structures, installing the lighting and ensuring the whole set-up worked efficiently. The following week they moved onto Teviot and the other three venues. With the Teviot having nine spaces, this meant that WL had to oversee a large install in a short amount of time. As a result, Gilded Balloon brought in a crew of 30 technicians who were overseen by WL’s Production Technician Thomas Tomkins.

Dan explains: “Once the second week finishes, this is when the companies and technicians who will be there for the month start to arrive and tech their shows. As a result, we make sure we are on hand to offer them any guidance or assistant when using the equipment. This is something we also offer throughout the entire month”.

Alongside the Gilded Balloon, WL is also supplying the lighting equipment for CanadaHub, a church which has been converted into a theatre space and showcases the very best of Canada’s contemporary performance scene.

Dan concludes: “It’s been fantastic working at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in its busiest year yet. When we first started working with the Gilded Balloon, they had one building and have since grown exponentially. What’s great is that, as a company, we’ve been able to support this growth every step of the way and ensure each of its spaces have the technical solutions needed to host thousands of performances across a short space of time”.

Photo courtesy of Gilded Balloon, Mihaela Bodlovic and Paul Walmsley.

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