Blue Box Technical Services

Technical Theatre Consultants based in Manchester, UK and covering the North West and North Wales regions. Specialising in new-build projects and refurbishments, we offer a range of services and friendly independent specialist advice to Schools, Churches, and Entertainment Venues...

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St Clements Church

On Friday 27th May 2005, Badly Drawn Boy was invited to played a small intimate one-off gig at St Clements Church, Chorlton, Manchester as part of Chorlton Arts Festival, and to help raise funds for a new roof for the church. BBTS staff designed, rigged, and operated the lighting for this unique event.

There were a number of challenges which needed to be overcome for this project:

Firstly, the Church itself was a beautiful, yet very old church, with old electrical wiring, and no native support for stage lighting systems (i.e. no 3-phase). Therefore, one of the key issues BBTS staff were faced with was being able to draw enough power to drive a lighting rig. Time was spent in the Church prior to the event establishing the number/location of ring mains within the building. By also cutting down on the number of standard 1000w PAR64 units in the rig, and using ETC Source 4 PARS with 750w bulbs instead (equivalent light output to a to 1200w bulb!), the overall desired light level was still maintained, however the power requirements were significantly reduced. The rig we designed would need to draw no more than 63amps in total, and by utilizing three different ring mains from around the building, and by spreading the electrical load along them, we were able to draw sufficient power to drive our moderate sized rig.

The second issue was one of time - although the event itself was not due to start until 8pm, rigging and rehearsal time was limited due to another event taking place in the church that lunchtime from 12pm-1pm - Leaving only around 6 hours in which to get equipment in, rig, test, and rehearse. As this was know in advance, we were able to tailor the type of equipment we would use in order to cut down on very heavy/bulky items to reduce our get in. For example, we ditched a cumbersome lighting console, and operated lighting control via a single laptop! Also, by utilizing a number of moving heads & colour changes, less fixtures overall were needed, further reducing setup time. We also liaised with the Church to get all equipment inside the building prior to their lunchtime event, to give more setup time.

The Result? - Nearly 250 people packed out St Clements that evening, for what many fans and music critics consider to be one of Badly Drawn Boy's most memorable gigs to date. The versatility of the lighting rig, and in particular the ease-of-use of the laptop lighting control package developed by our staff, allowed a variety of creative and distinctly different lighting states to be created "on-the-fly" during the show to fit in with the current "mood" of the music. BBTS staff were praised for their enthusiasm, hard work and dedication in transforming an empty old church into a venue to rival any purpose built performance venue!

Equipment List:
x4 Martin MAC250 Entours
x8 ETC Source 4 PARS
x8 Rainbow 8" Scrollers (for ETC PARS)
x2 Rainbow Scroller PSU
x4 PAR 64
x6 Strand Prelude F
x1 Martin Magnum Hazer
x4 Zero88 Alpha Packs
x5 Powerdrive Wind-Up Stands
Lighting Control was via a custom DMX Laptop Control Package, developed by BBTS staff. This allowed full control of dimmers, scrollers, the moving heads and haze, and performed exceptionally well!

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