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Robe illuminates Pretoria’s Time Square Arena

Robe illuminates Pretoria’s Time Square Arena

Robe illuminates Pretoria’s Time Square Arena

South Africa:

International services, trading and distribution company, Bidvest, has organised its first major post pandemic corporate event in South Africa. Taking the theme “Future Now”, the show returned live after a two-year absence due to Covid-19 restrictions, staged for the first time at the Time Square Arena in Pretoria with newly appointed CEO Nompumelelo Thembekile Madisa.

“Future Now” was a special commission for Bidvest created and produced by the team at David Bloch International and choreographer Debbie Rakusin, who commissioned Gearhouse South Africa as technical supplier together with Pieter Joubert as technical director.

Stage, set and lighting design was delivered by Tim Dunn from nVisible agency, who flew in from the UK to programme and run the show lighting, which he did in close collaboration with Robert Grobler from technical contractor, Gearhouse South Africa (GSA).

Gearhouse Group company, Sets Drapes Screens, built the set. This is comprised of a series of interlocking geometric shapes including three hexagonal thrust stages at the front surrounded by a series of triangular shaped facias outlined in LED. Upstage was a recessed and raised area that showcased concept segments of some of the production dance routines that were performed by a large cast of over 200 which consisted of dancers, singers, a choir, a local celebrity DJ and speciality acts.

The video elements supplied by Led Vision also spanned the whole width, creating a wide-stage reminiscent of the African skies and horizons, and were designed in layers with an elegant eight-way centre cluster of LED strip suggesting a powerful, positive South African sun image at the core of the space, also following the shape geometry idea. Along each side of the stage were three levels of video panels, with left and right IMAG screens.

“The intention was to use the video to add depth and vibrancy as well as subtlety to the stage – I wanted to get a lot of video in there, but not for it to look overpowering,” commented Dunn. Video playback content was supplied and operated by Inka Kendzia.

The gala dinner event was divided into three sections – a set of speeches including one from Madisa, followed by The Bidvest Show, a performance with over an hour of action created especially for the event with the show’s musical direction by Bryan Schimmel and the show concluded with a concert by international electronic star, Seal.

On the second show evening, an Awards section was added to the schedule, recognising Bidvest staff from Southern Africa, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Spain and their achievements over the last year.

“I simply selected the best lights for the design, so there was a lot of Robe on the plot – power, reliability and versatility – everything you need,” he stated, having used Robe for several years.

The 130 Pointes were the cornerstone of the lighting design. These were positioned in the air all over the stage, set and risers. They were used for the rock and RnB numbers to the power ballads and the more balletic pieces where the stage space needed to be closed right down. “I still love the Pointe,” commented Tim, ‘it gives so many options in a small package and looks great on any stage.”

The 45 Spiiders and 52 BMFL Blades plus 12 BMFL Spots were the key lights and the main stage lights. With large ensembles of dancers for most of the numbers, they needed the flexibility of having lights from all angles of the rig contributing to the looks.

Two additional BMFL WashBeams on RoboSpot systems were positioned on two of the short downstage trusses rigged with pin spots for the dining tables – and were used for everything onstage including the speeches, with the operators and their BaseStations located backstage at dimmer world.

The 16 MegaPointes were mounted mainly on the set in between the side LED panels, where they were the main side dancer lighting positions as well as producing cool back lighting effects.

Time was tight for get-in, set up and programming, so the team programmed the show to work on different grandMA consoles in the same session which allowed them to establish a creative flow. Dunn said: “It was a fantastic experience and I hope we get the chance to do it again.”

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