Russia – Moscow – Art Theatre

Dates: 1898 – present

Official website: https://mxat.ru/english/

The photos below show the huge Galaxy system, along with PIP Dimmers, that was installed by Strand at this prestigious venue in Moscow. 
The 360 channel 3 preset manual backup was an additional level of safety for the lighting team, despite the Galaxy having dual electronics. 
Track-mounted Minim spotlights were used as desk lights, due to the size. 
A Pani PEF-M system was installed beside the Geographic Mimic pod as at the time, Galaxy did not control PALS.  
(Thanks to Alan Luxford for information)  

Links to information about equipment at Moscow Art Theatre over the years

  • PIP (Strand)
  • Galaxy (Strand)
  • PEF-M (Pani)
  • Documents

    360 channel backup for the Moscow Art Theatre
    360 channel backup for the Moscow Art Theatre 
    Click on thumbnail to enlarge
    [651kb  JPEG]
    From Alan Luxford Collection
    Galaxy for the Moscow Art Theatre
    Galaxy for the Moscow Art Theatre 
    Click on thumbnail to enlarge
    [583kb  JPEG]
    From Alan Luxford Collection
    Galaxy for the Moscow Art Theatre
    Galaxy for the Moscow Art Theatre 
    Click on thumbnail to enlarge
    [604kb  JPEG]
    From Alan Luxford Collection
    Geographical Button Mimic for Moscow Art Theatre
    Geographical Button Mimic for Moscow Art Theatre 
    Click on thumbnail to enlarge
    [614kb  JPEG]
    From Alan Luxford Collection

    Location


    View in Google Maps

    Memories of Visit by the National Youth Theatre, 1989 by Rob Halliday

    Thanks to Rob for the below memories of his visit with the National Youth Theatre’s production of ‘Murder in the Cathedral’.
    Directed by Edward Wilson, designed by Brian Lee, lighting by Kevin Fitz-Simons, sound by Mic Pool, music by Geoffrey Burgon, musical director Richard Balcombe
    Assistant Director was Matthew Warchus (now Artistic Director of the Old Vic), and the cast included a young Daniel Craig!

    The Moscow Arts Theatre was remarkably equipped, no doubt due to that ‘communist’ funding (though of course that was starting to end; this was the time of Gorbachov and perestroika). It was amazing to anyone used to a UK theatre set-up, particularly a bunch of 18/19 year old youths! The theatre played in rep but with a highly mechanised system for keeping shows set up on side and rear stages that could be moved into position, and then lifts that could take sets down into a massive underground store if they weren’t going to play for a while.

    Lighting wise, the overhead rig was entirely automated, with a number (can’t remember how many) of flown lighting bridges that alternated between a bar full of Pani moving PCs with semaphore colour changers, and Pani moving beamlights. These couldn’t move particularly quickly – they were really designed for changing focus between shows rather than shifting around with shows. But it was a remarkable amount of gear that clearly worked well in their system.

    Unfortunately the lighting for our show was based on a beautiful toplight wash of sharp-edged triangle gobos to evoke a monochromatic stained-glass window feel, giving the most amazing sense of ‘flow’ as performers moved through the space. The fully automated Moscow Arts rig contained no profile spots overhead, so we had to bring a rig of Altman 360Qs with us… plus of course a telescope to be able to get up to focus them. On seeing all this, the Moscow crew looked at us as if we were completely insane…. though by the end of our time there they were happily running up the ‘scope without really bothering to check whether it was level, or if anyone was holding it.

    Plus of course lighting designers can never resist new toys when offered them and it seemed rude not to use their rig, so we started working their lights into the show, the beam lights being used for specials. Our rig was generally based around Lee 201, so we also had to change one of the colours in the PC’s semaphore colour changers… the dust on the colour we took out suggested it wasn’t changed often.

    Control was an enormous Galaxy system. My memory is that there was a main Galaxy with two of every module you could get, then a backup Galaxy with just one of every module, then a geographic mimic of the permanent rig, then all the way round the back of the room a set of manual faders as a three-preset manual backup, then if all that didn’t provide enough redundancy the Galaxy crates were in the room so you could directly to them. Many, many levels of redundancy…

    Unfortunately our first performance was a matinee that corresponded to factory shift change time, when about two minutes into our show all of the power went off, and so all of the lights went out….

    The moving light position and colour were controlled by a Pani controller, which we had to figure out how to use. My memory is that this had an ‘all good’ indicator, but any time you moved even just one light a tiny amount it seemed to poll the entire rig and not confirm all was good until every light had responded. If running a cue to move a light this made for some nervousness about whether the light had actually completed its movement before you next faded it up.

    But it was fascinating to discover a whole new way of lighting shows – which is of course now the standard way of lighting shows.

    I also have a memory of lending the theatre crew one of our interpreters for a day, to translate the Galaxy manual….

    Demonstration of the Stage Lifts
    Demonstration of the Stage Lifts (1989)
    Click on thumbnail to enlarge
    [410kb  JPEG]
    From Rob Halliday Collection
    Packing up after the show - Pani remote units can be seen on FOH bridge
    Packing up after the show - Pani remote units can be seen on FOH bridge (1989)
    Click on thumbnail to enlarge
    [524kb  JPEG]
    From Rob Halliday Collection
    Control room, with Galaxy at left and Pani programming pod at right
    Control room, with Galaxy at left and Pani programming pod at right (1989)
    Click on thumbnail to enlarge
    [479kb  JPEG]
    From Rob Halliday Collection
    Stage set for the show. Pani units visible FOH.
    Stage set for the show. Pani units visible FOH.  (1989)
    Click on thumbnail to enlarge
    [473kb  JPEG]
    From Rob Halliday Collection
    Focussing FOH remote units
    Focussing FOH remote units (1989)
    Click on thumbnail to enlarge
    [535kb  JPEG]
    From Rob Halliday Collection
    Pani remote units on overhead bar
    Pani remote units on overhead bar (1989)
    Click on thumbnail to enlarge
    [743kb  JPEG]
    From Rob Halliday Collection
    Show being struck before NYT load-in. Pani remote units visible FOH.
    Show being struck before NYT load-in. Pani remote units visible FOH. (1989)
    Click on thumbnail to enlarge
    [689kb  JPEG]
    From Rob Halliday Collection

     

    Keywords: Moscow Art Theatre, Moscow Arts Theatre