Lara Pulver (Louise) in Gypsy. Photo Johan Persson
Lara Pulver (Louise) and Dan Burton (Tulsa) in Gypsy. Photo Johan Persson

Photo credits : © Johan Persso

Robert Juliat delivers from all angles at Chichester Festival Theatre

Robert Juliat lighting fixtures have been spotted covering all angles of the stage from front to back at Chichester Festival Theatre in recent months.

The new production of Gypsy (see Lighting & Sound International December 2014), which transfers soon to London’s Savoy Theatre, employed four Robert Juliat Le Cin’k Fresnels, each fitted with 5000W tungsten lamp bases, in Mark Henderson’s flexible lighting design. Hired from White Light for the season, these helped to cover a busy stage with multiple areas of focus, including three moving trucks.

“We find Le Cin’k to be brighter and slightly narrower than the 5kW units we previously used which, in their rigged position, is good because control is important in a thrust space,” says the Festival Theatre’s head of lighting, Sam Garner-Gibbons. “Being a completely exposed rig, unit size is critical for aesthetic reasons and the compact RJ units are absolutely perfect.”

The Le Cin’k units were rigged on ladders up stage left and right and on the bridges immediately above them to provide, as Garner-Gibbons terms it, ‘splendid three-quarter backlight’.

Designed to theatre specifications, Le Cin’k has a double slot front cassette for coloured filter which guarantees no light spill while an optional, silent fan preserves the life of deeper coloured filters.

For Gypsy, Garner-Gibbons fitted the Le Cin’k units with 12” Rainbow PRO scrollers: “A major bonus of the Le Cin’k units is they use smaller 12" PRO scrollers which are much more reliable than the 15" units we needed before. So, in addition to the better light output, we saved on colour cut-sizes, had fewer filter replacements and used less man-hours.

“The Le Cin’k’s are much loved by all LDs and now appear in our season rig plan each year,” he continues. “We currently only run them as 5000W tungsten fixtures but I can see that the flexibility delivered by the alternative lamp bases would be enormously useful to us.”

The Le Cin’k is a unique range of 250mm Fresnel lens spotlights with removable, and interchangeable, lamp compartments. A single lamp house can accept any of five kinds of lamp – 2000W/2500W tungsten, 5000W tungsten, 1200W and 2500W HR discharge lamps. Le Cin’k is versatile and quick to transform, saving on storage space and investment in fixtures which can only perform one function.

Le Cin’k is not the first Robert Juliat fixture to find a home at Chichester Festival Theatre.

Two Robert Juliat Lucy 1200W HMI followspots were also used on Gypsy having been part of the Festival Theatre’s lighting inventory since 2010. The Lucy spots were mounted on the front-of-house bridge in newly created followspot positions, designed and built by Delstar Engineering as part of the new overhead grid during the recent RENEW project. “These positions were built specifically to accommodate the Lucy spots,” says Garner-Gibbons, “which have the same form factor as the Robert Juliat Ginger 2.5kW tungsten spots we’ve had in the Minerva Theatre since 2006.

“The Minerva has a higher proportion of plays than the Festival Theatre, and the Ginger suits the shorter throw distance. However, several musicals have taken place there in the last 4 or 5 years, such as The Pajama Game which recently had a run in the West End, and we have simply been able to swap and run the RJ Lucys in there without having to change the operating positions. It’s hugely helpful and means the choice between tungsten or discharge sources rests entirely on the creative requirements of the lighting designer.”

All Robert Juliat followspots share exceptional quality of beam, dimming ability, gobo projection and outstanding output, all wrapped in an ergonomically pleasing package. Long and short throw versions with different wattages and lamp types mean there is a Robert Juliat followspot to suit any venue or usage, from schools and small venues to the largest spectaculars and arenas.

Posted: 13th of January, 2015