UK – Manchester-based lighting specialists dbn Lighting specified Clay Paky fixtures when designing a lightweight and versatile rig for the renovation of the city’s Grade II listed, multi purpose Albert Hall.
The early 20th century gothic chapel underwent major renovation to convert it into one of the city’s most happening music venues. Stephen Page of dbn Lighting was called upon to design a lightweight and versatile lighting solution that could take care of all genres of entertainment lighting.
“The weight capacity of the Albert Hall’s roof is limited so we couldn’t use anything too heavy,” explains Page. “I also wanted the equipment to be as discreet as possible so size of fixture was also important. The reliability and compact build of the Clay Paky fixtures was therefore key in my decision to use them.”
Page specified ‘everyone’s favourite’, the Clay Paky Sharpy, complemented by a number of Clay Paky Alpha Spot 575 HPEs, to deliver a versatile and sensitive lighting solution.
“The rig’s design had to complement the hall’s architecture,” says Page. “My focus was to create strong lines that mirrored the shape of the organ pipes and the hall’s pillars. The Sharpy is perfect for such an application; it’s small and powerful and when in action its tight 189W parallel beam really brings real drama to the ‘look’. We often put in a floor package featuring additional Sharpys, which further enhances this aesthetic of the strong straight lines. This works well with the height and scale of the venue, as well as cutting through any other on-stage wash.”
Complementing the Sharpys, Page used the popular Clay Paky effects fixture – the Alpha Spot 575 HPE.
“I chose the Alpha Spot 575 HPE because it offers a really strong set of design features,” explains Page. “The fixture features a rich palette of colours and multiple projection options with three gobo wheels, plus prisms and a beam shaping effect. They may not be the newest Clay Paky fixture on the market but they are still an excellent and very bright moving light with a really responsive control.”
As both a historic building and a live music venue Page’s choice of fixtures not only had to be suitable for the surroundings but also be recognisable for visiting bands and their technicians.
“The Albert Hall is host to a large number of touring acts, and the load in can be challenging,” continues Page. “I wanted to design a rig that visiting LDs would be comfortable using and also enjoy operating. Of course, we also had to use equipment that people respect and are happy to use – the Clay Paky fixtures certainly tick those boxes. In addition, given our long historic relationship with Clay Paky, I can be confident that the fixtures are reliable and if any issues were to arise we would get the backup we needed.”
Rumoured to be haunted, the Albert Hall was once a Wesleyan Methodist chapel designed by Gothic architect W.J Morely in the early 19th century. Since its renovation the hall has already played host to the likes of Chase and Status and will be visited by stars such as Sam Smith as well as supporting classical opera renditions of Bizet’s Carmen.