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Automation gives Westlife a lift

Production News
27 August 2019

LIGHTING AND production designer Tom Sutherland wanted to create a set which changed “subtly and smoothly” throughout the show for Westlife and decided to use an automation system to create different spatial effects.

Using a 64ft screen which split horizontally as a backdrop, he deployed nine lighting pods running from front to back, all moveable using one-tonne Liftket hoists by automation specialist Kinesys.

The top two thirds of the screen were lifted on eight Kinesys hoists rigged along the top, while the bottom third remained in position on the deck. Another four Kinesys motors lifted the front section of the stage, a decking section also 64ft in width, which raised the band up for entrances, and then elevated them to the mid screen position from where they started the show.

“The trickiest move was reuniting the flown portion of screen with its bottom third,” says Sutherland. “The top part had to land within 3mm accuracy, which took an extremely carefully balanced and measured move.”

Two Kinesys PD-ES’s ran the system, including power distribution and emergency stop control, while up to seven spotters, each armed with an Emergency Stop button, watched every move on stage.

The tour played venues including The O2 (cap. 21,000) in London, Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena (10,000) and M&S Bank Arena (11,000), Liverpool.

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