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DBN Dances on The Waterfront with Clay Paky
Lighting Designer
Franco Bongioanni
DBN Lighting
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Manchester, UK based DBN Lighting supplied stage lighting to two recent high profile Liverpool City Council events, “A Wave At Picasso” and Dance On the Waterfront, working for creative producers, Walk The Plank.

The free events took place on and around the Pierhead area of downtown Liverpool, and were part of a lively programme of public shows and installations staged throughout the summer for the enjoyment of all.

A Wave at Picasso

Staged in Salthouse Quay and directed by Mark Murphy, this show was inspired by the ‘Picasso: Peace and Freedom’ exhibition – a tribute to one of Europe’s most popular twentieth century artists. The ‘Wave’ was an eclectic and imaginative combination of canoeists, co-ordinated swimmers and dancing boats, together with fire performers, pyrotechnics, sound and projections, all choreographed into a daring mixed media performance, merged with other special effects to bring the dock alive in a blaze of colour and movement, accompanied by specially composed music.

Stephen Page from DBN was asked to create a lighting design for the show which incorporated illumination of the docks and the surrounding environmental elements like jetties, as well as lighting the performers on the water – with the audience viewing from around 3 sides. He says, “Walk the Plank shows are always interesting, varied, experimental and fun, and often in great site specific locations. One of the many physical challenges of this one was that there were no rigging points for lighting!”

It was the first gig for DBN’s new Clay Paky Alpha Beam 700s, which were also positioned around the dock and used for highlighting certain areas and for special effects. Their extremely bright beams cut decisively into the night sky and they are also impressively bright enough to register in daylight.

Another challenge was the weather! It was extremely hostile on the dress rehearsal night, delivering gale force winds and torrential rain, resulting in the water level of the dock increasing considerably for the show day, and much tweaking therefore being needed to get lights pointing in the right positions!

In spite of that, everything went smoothly on the night and the show was enjoyed by around 50,000 over the weekend!

Dance on The Waterfront

Taking place a few weeks later, this extravaganza involved DBN supplying lighting for the River Stage and the Voala Stage for the 3 day event, which consisted of multiple and accessible performances at several outdoor venues by an array of international and local artists.

The Voala Stage was hosted by the Argentinean aerial artists of the same name, who performed their dramatic, breath-taking show partly on the stage as well as elevated 100 ft up in the air, suspended from a crane.

The lighting equipment was specified by their LD Franco Bongioanni and co-ordinated for DBN by Nick Walton. The River Stage’s main lighting design was based around an electric costume and lightshow contemporary dance performance by Ziya Azazi from Turkey. For the other acts appearing on this stage, Nick Walton designed a house rig, designed to work in daylight and dusk as well as after dark, which included Clay Paky Alpha Wash 575  and Clay Paky Alpha Beam 700 moving light fixtures.

The control desks were a Jands 24:48 for Voala and an Avolites Pearl for the River Stage, and DBN supplied 4 crew for the rig and de-rig periods with Chris Phillips and Pete Isherwood staying on site  for the show days.