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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - The Johannesburg Theatre took delivery of its 20 new Robe MMX Spot fixtures from Robe’s South African distributor DWR just in time for them to go into action on the annual pantomime, which this year is Jack & the Beanstalk. This was done by special arrangement between the Theatre and Qdos, the world’s largest panto producer.
The MMXs were specified by the Theatre’s Technical Manager Enos Ramoroko together with Production Manager Simon James and Senior Lighting Technician Patrick Mbatha, all of whom were “hugely impressed” by what the lights had to offer.
The theatre already owned 18 Robe ColorWash 700E ATs which have been used with all the various productions. The units have needed little attention, so it was a logical decision for the theatre staff to choose Robe again when it came to adding moving spot fixtures to the lighting inventory.
They needed a fixture that offered the optimum versatility for the price and that would be appropriate for the wide range of productions of the busy producing and receiving house.
Several key factors made them decide on MMX, explains Ramoroko. The principle ones were the fact that they are “bright, compact lights with a host of easy-to-program effects that also bring a massive energy savings.”
The MMX Spots are installed in the theatre’s 1063-capacity Mandela auditorium – the largest of its four performance spaces – and Jack & The Beanstalk is the first show to use them.
The classic pantomime’s lighting designer is UK-based Graham McLusky, who has been lighting the theatre’s (formally known as The Civic) pantos for the last 10 years and panto in general in the UK for 35 years.
As a genre, panto is steeped in tradition, and lighting it involves a requisite amount of ‘magic’ and effects which are essential to the style and format of presentation.
Using the MMXs for the first time, the LD displayed lots of gobo work on the floor and set, bold beam sweeps, patterns and texturing, strobing, water rippling while creating plenty of vibrant colors.
The production’s South African technical team programmed the show on a grandMA console.
McLusky comments, “The theatre made a wise choice in buying the MMXs, and I found them perfect for the job.”
McLusky is increasingly becoming more of a Robe fan. He used ROBIN 300 and 600 E Spots on a large concert tour this summer and says he will specify Robe again.
Jack & The Beanstalk is produced by Janice Honeyman and runs until the end of December.
After this, the Johannesburg Theatre’s MMX Spots have a full season ahead where they will be used on all types of productions, from musicals to drama.
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