Splitbeam returns to West Side Story
SOUTH AFRICA: West Side Story is now playing at the Mandela Theatre, also known as the Joburg Theatre, in Johannesburg until 5th March. It is the same production that was performed at the Artscape Opera House in Cape Town during 2015, backed by film, television and theatre producer Eric Abraham, as well as Cape Town’s Fugard Theatre. Gearhouse Group’s theatre rental company Splitbeam has been employed to supply its technical services for current Joburg run, having successfully done so previously in Cape Town.
Splitbeam’s role in the production sees it organise the logistics of scheduling, trucking, packing and risk assessment in addition to the technical direction of the show. The Gearhouse theatre specialist also supplies a team of four technicians and a stage crew of 16.
‘Our “festoon” crew for the Johannesburg run includes “newbie” Cameron Squires, one of the Gearhouse Kentse Mpahlwa second year technical services learners who is specialising in theatre services at Splitbeam this year,’ explained Splitbeam’s managing director, Alistair Kilbee. ‘It’s an in-house Learnership initiative and our students are really privileged to have the opportunity to cut their teeth on events of this sort of scale and complexity. Part of Cameron’s remit is to manage all practical lighting including 5km of festoon light strings to create the atmospheric environment for the Tonight balcony scene as well as the industrial-feel fluorescents under the lifts for the factory scenes.’
The rental company also delivered supplementary lighting equipment to complete the rig created for the show by renowned lighting designer Joshua Cutts. In addition, Splitbeam also provided equipment to fulfil all of the rigging requirements. On the audio side, Eastern Acoustics was engaged to supply the setup and has sub-hired Midas Pro 9 and Pro 1 consoles from Splitbeam to facilitate the sound design put together by Mark Malherbe.
‘Splitbeam is unique in the theatre market in South Africa. Our rental stockholding is well-aligned to what the designers are specifying for large scale productions,’ concluded Mr Kilbee. ‘Splitbeam has years of experience in franchise theatre tours and has been involved in some of the biggest in the world, so we have become the go-to theatre rental company in South Africa to make the idea work technically. However, we make all the same equipment available to the small school productions or amateur dramatics as well because we believe are all driven by the same passion and at Splitbeam we are committed to “realising the dream” whatever the size of the production and budget available.’