Sadler’s Wells Technical Manager, Christian Wallace. Photo credit : Lucy White

Photo credit : Lucy White

Sadler’s Well Pleased with Robert Juliat

There has been a theatre on the site of Sadler’s Wells since 1683. Christian Wallace is the Technical Manager for this, the sixth incarnation to bear the name of the original proprietor along with a nod to the health giving spring that still lie beneath the theatre. He explains the theatre’s current remit: “Sadler’s Wells presents all sorts of dance from Britain and from international companies, including tango, hip hop, ballet, flamenco, and contemporary dance. We present high profile and internationally recognised works so we need to provide the best possible equipment, which of course includes our lighting stock.”

The current building was opened in 1998 and the majority of the lighting stock is now sixteen years old. Wallace freely admits that, despite sustaining a rigorous maintenance programme, it was time to explore the newer, more advanced fixtures now on the market. The time had come for an update. “Our budget for lighting is only part of a huge upgrade of facilities and technical improvements. We’re upgrading our flying system, converting the house lights to LEDs, replacing the dimmer racks, modernising our network as well as providing a more comfortable auditorium for our audiences with new carpets and seating. None of this would have been possible without the funding support from several supporters of Sadler’s Wells and in particular with regard to the lighting, The Wolfson Foundation.”

So why Robert Juliat fixtures? “For our fresnel stock, we originally had a number of Strand Alto 2k PCs and Robert Juliat 1.2k 310s,” continues Wallace. “The RJs have been great with only one unit breaking in 16 years and we’ve retained these. We house a lot of European dance companies; they always ask for Robert Juliat or ADB and we were finding that no one really wanted to use the Altos anymore. We opted to purchase some more Robert Juliat 1.2k 310s and some 2.5k 329s so we now have just Robert Juliat both on the main stage and in our Lilian Baylis Studio space.”

Alongside the fresnel order was a purchase of new profiles. With so many models on the market and with so many new innovations since Sadler’s original investment in 1998, this was a harder call to make. “With this in mind, we did a shootout with all the leading zoom profiles,” explains Wallace. “The 600s shone (literally!) the brightest. The shuttering on the units is the best I’ve seen, they are the easiest to use, they have the best focus on them, plus you also have the additional options of locking the shutters off and also adding further shutters if needed.”

Ambersphere Solutions are the UK’s exclusive supplier of Robert Juliat fixtures and it was Matt Cowles of Technical Sales who facilitated the demonstrations of kit. “Matt was key to our decision to re-invest in R J profiles both during the shootout and in discussions afterwards. Knowing we have their constant service and support after sales definitely played a part in our final decision.”

“We’ve seen the improvements made by Robert Juliat and we believe the 600 1.2k profiles are the best zoom profiles on the market today. It is the mark of a premier manufacturer that they listen to suggestions from their clients and always continue to improve their product.”

And Wallace’s concluding thoughts? They seem to be fairly unequivocal. “I believe Robert Juliat is one of the leading manufacturers of tungsten lanterns. The build quality is superb on every fixture (profile and wash units) plus all units are very easy to focus. We used to be mainly a Strand house but now we’re a mainly Robert Juliat house with some Parcans thrown in!”

Posted: 19th of September, 2014