The Fleming Theatre located in The American School in England (TASIS) was built around 25 years ago and had undergone some refurbishment works in that time. We were approached by the school to provide a design proposal for the replacement of the theatre house lighting system. The existing system consisted of over 120 tungsten downlighters which were now mechanically and electrically failing. Not only was the system power-hungry but it also created a lot of heat in the venue. This may have seemed a simple job, however the roof was on a multitude of different angles, illumination throw distances ranged from 3m to 9m and there was no access to the existing cable routes.
We worked with a number of different manufacturers to find a solution and after listening to the clients’ actual needs, we eventually decided on a mixture of RGBW on the stage and auditorium and LED downlights in the balcony area. The LED solution was chosen to improve energy efficiency, reduce heat, reduce maintenance and the RGBW solution provided an extra dimension for the daily drama lesson use in the auditorium and stage area.
The design allowed for suspension of professional LED RGBW lanterns. The chosen product was the ‘Inspire’ range manufactured by Chroma Q which have been installed as house lighting solutions in many entertainment venues.
The advantage of these units is the choice of colours from beautiful whites, soft pastels and bold saturates with full dimming and a CRI of 90. These units can be set for cool, neutral or warm house light white via the push button panel.
Above and under the balcony the existing lamps and drivers were replaced with RL7 LED replacement units by Cogent and a central LED dimmer SCLED 0405 by iLight.
Simple control of all the lights is via two preset button panel stations one at the main house right entrance and the other in the control booth. These were pre-programmed with lighting preset states for different room configurations for example assembly, presentations, drama class, cleaners setting.
For greater control of the RGB lights above the stage and main auditorium, there is a Pharos touch panel controller installed in the house right entrance area. Not only can this controller offer zone and intensity control but it can also be set to have red, green and blue control along with a colour wheel picker to give an infinite selection of colours.
During full shows and presentations where the control booth is used the lighting desk can take DMX control of the house lights. This not only offers smooth transition at the start and end of the performances but more importantly the RGB fittings could immerse the audience into the dramatic performance.
Due to the complexity of the design solution and the building restrictions we were also awarded the installation contract. This contract was a year in planning and we had a three-week shut down period between the end of the term and the start of the summer school.
With the tight timescales we laid floor protection, built a temporary access ramp and brought in two powered access scissor MEWP’s to gain safe access to the multitude of different heights within the venue. Without this type of access we would have never been able to complete the work in the time scale. Hidden challenges and compatibility issues were overcome and with a strong site team and some long hours the work was completed in time (in fact a day early).
The client was delighted with our work on site, amazed we completed on time and were no trouble, and every member of staff who entered the theatre was astounded at the change – that’s show business as the show must go on!