Producer: Kevin Wallace Director: Matthew Warchus Lighting Design: Paul Pyant Associate Lighting Designer: David Howe Set & Costume Designer: Rob Howell Choreographer: Peter Darling Fight Director: Terry King Production Stage Manager: Sam Hunter
Silicon Theatre Scenery was responsible for the automation and control, including various winches and additional axes.
Showdeck: 30 tons
The showdeck consists of a 13 metre diameter revolve with 16 hydraulic scissor lifts and a centre lift. The scissor lifts move within the revolve. The complete hydraulic system, including the controller, is integrated into the revolve. This includes:
26 winches of which:
17 counter balanced winches for 400 kg flies;
2 single wire winches for special effects with a speed of 3 m/s;
6 winches for performer flying as part of the STS flight system;
A winch for five canvases that hang in a circle.
33 axes control the following:
21 Kabuki Drops, a release mechanism for canvases;
4 trusses which are driven by an electric toothed belt;
2 props that move in all directions, fold up and are inflatable.
Command and control: STS AutoStage2000
The control system consists of 44 inverters, 21 hydraulic controls and digital I / O by two IPCs which are controlled via multiple CAN buses. One of these IPCs is integrated into the revolve. Electronic data interchanges between the two IPCs is through slip rings. There is a third IPC, to SIL 3 specification, which controls the air systems.
The operation takes place at three different STS OptiStage2000 desks, Each desk is equipped with six playbacks, a Querty keyboard, emergency stop, DMBs, as well as the standard operating controls. Each desk has two 15 inch touch screens.
The operator has the various playbacks to control the speed of the programmed movements. This is a proven concept and various other productions have shown its usefulness when dealing with complex moves. It allows the operator to speed up the moves and adapt to the actor without stopping the show.
The emergency stop is fully wired and meets safety category 4. On-line the status of each emergency stop is monitored so that the operator can easily see which emergency stop has been pressed.
Reduce your programming time by 80%
Given the complexity of the revolve movements, these are programmed using a 3-D animation test package. These movements are loaded into the new control program Through this new programming interface, we have made tremendous time savings and allowed new opportunities for creative directors.
Lighting Design by Paul Pyant
The Stage Manager told me that there were 99 axes of automation on the show in total, and if the show had run for longer they had plans to automate a lever in the crew room to operate a kettle for the interval refreshments.
The substage Victorian machinery had to be completely removed to allow the massive automated revolve and lifts to fit into the theatre. After the show finished its’ run, the machinery had to be reinstated and tested (with English Heritage looking on) before parts of it were removed again for the next production (Oliver!).
According to the Stage Manager, in the whole run at Theatre Royal Drury Lane, there was never a completely ‘clean’ show (i.e. no noteworthy errors, problems or mistakes).