LD Howard Hudson commends their linear power, colour and intensity
Six years after working at Leicester’s Curve Theatre for the premiere of the new musical The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, lighting designer Howard Hudson has returned to the venue to light the new production of A Chorus Line. Both shows have made heavy use of GLP’s award-winning LED moving heads.
The LD notes that the iconic musical changed Broadway in the 1970s but that it was time “to look at the piece through slightly more contemporary eyes.” He explains: “Grace Smart’s design is beautifully simple. It embraces the large, cavernous Curve stage and allows us to fully utilise their extraordinary technical capabilities and automated flying system. Everything overhead is electric, and we rig along the side cages of the stage, the fly floor gantries, above the grid and even into the dock at the back. The overhead bars spend the show coming in and out to break up the space for particular moments, and the lights are very much on show.”
To exemplify this, he has deployed 18 of GLP’s impression FR10 Bars, each of which contains 10 sources of 60 W RGBW LEDs. He has positioned 10 above the chorus line itself to form a vertical ‘sheet’ of light from a steep angle just above the heads of the company. “Zoomed down, even at 9 m trim, the intensity of light and colour they give is fantastic. But when brought in at 2.5 m they really do pop. We also use the cell control to do swipes back and forth across the line at times, and use their tilts individually for more uptempo moments,” says Hudson.
The remaining eight FR10 Bars form a curtain of light upstage on a shortened truss, which moves constantly through the show, and can drop all the way to the floor. This creates a wall of backlight “gridded as high as possible, since they will fly at nearly 20 m, really enhancing the scale of the space,” he continues.
Hudson had first seen a prototype of the impression FR10 Bar at Prolight + Sound in Frankfurt a couple of years back and was immediately impressed with the large lens, punch and colour. “I remember thinking at the time what a great fixture that could be,” he says. “The X4 Bars, which we had all come to love, had offered designers a new look unlike any other fixture. And the possibility to have that, but with a thicker source and even more punch, was always going to be a winner. The ability to individually zoom each cell also offers a completely new way of thinking about a light curtain.”
A Chorus Line provided the perfect opportunity to test them. “I always knew this show would require a linear feel,” explains Hudson. “The FR10s had just been released, and I discovered they were available.”
Hudson couldn’t be more effusive about his decision to use the impression FR10, and sees it becoming a staple in future theatre productions. “It’s such a joy to have units which can join so closely, to really make that line of light,” he concludes. “I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to spec them again on my next show, where appropriate.”
The inventory was supplied by Christie Lites. The head of lighting at the theatre is Jonny Laidlow and the programmer was David Hately.