DWR supplies The American International School of Johannesburg
SOUTH AFRICA: DWR Distribution supplied all of the lighting equipment, including the cabling and data network, for the newly-built auditorium at The American International School of Johannesburg (AISJ). The auditorium serves the dual purpose of theatre and meeting point for assemblies and award evenings and house a lighting setup designed by Denis Hutchinson.
The lighting solution comprises an MA Lighting dot2 console, a Philips Strand Lighting 6Pack dimmer and 2 RelayRacks, as well as 10 Robe Robin DLX spots. ‘There are many advantages to going the LED route including not having to change lamps, as well as lower power requirements and no gels,’ explained Mr Hutchinson. ‘They fell in love with the MA dot2 partially because of the free off-line editor, which they saw as being a really good educational tool.’
The lighting system has been kept simple to enable teachers and students to operate it, with Gareth Chambers from DWR providing training. ‘Having watched the training given to the teachers and students by DWR’s Gareth Chambers, they have all managed to take on the basics quite easily,’ said Mr Hutchinson. ‘The school now has the situation where there are half a dozen pupils and teachers who can bring up channels and record a state at the very least.’
In addition to the lighting system, DWR also provided solutions on the staging side, with the distribution company’s Rob Young designing a motorised bar system and retractable seating in the orchestra pit. ‘The auditorium does not have a full fly tower but they did want fly bars,’ recalled Mr Hutchinson. ‘Rob designed a system which gives them 11 motorised bars. They are simple stop and start bars that are there to be able to drop a bar in, attach a piece of scenery and take it out again. The entire lighting rig is accessible from purpose-designed walkways so that the venue is effectively a ladder-free environment.
‘The school’s pit is shallow because while in a professional theatre you tend to hide the musicians, when you’re talking a school theatre, the parents need to be able to see their children so visibility becomes important,’ he continued. ‘We didn’t have the money for an orchestra lift and they wanted the maximum number of seats. What we ended up with in the pit is two rows of seating, which are mounted on a motorised truck. Collapse the seats and the whole truck can then slide under the stage creating an orchestra pit.’
The entire lighting and staging setup has seemingly proven successful. ‘The school appears to be very happy with their choice,’ concluded Mr Hutchinson. ‘I was involved with the opening ceremony, just to guide them, and also saw their first production of Suessical - The Musical which they produced with no interference from me.’