Lighting director Howard Harrison is using ETC’s Source Four LED Series 2 Lustr fixtures for the current production of the City of Angels musical at The Donmar Warehouse in London’s Covent Garden.
The musical depicts a 1940s Hollywood writer working on a film noir thriller; the play switches between gritty, black and white film scenes and the real writer and his friends, shown in bright, vivid full colour.
“This is the first time the show has been revived,” says Howard, “and one of the biggest challenges was performing it in the 250-capacity space – we needed flexibility of colour without using too many fixtures. I’d heard about Source Four LED Series 2, but had never used them, and despite not having the time or resources to do any kind of tests or shootouts, I was keen to give them a try. They turned out to be exactly the right thing.”
The colour changing abilities of the Source Four LED meant that the show could provide film quality ‘black and white’ by using high colour temperature white light beside the warm, cosy coloured light needed for the real life scenes, which, says Howard, would have been a challenge with traditional fixtures.
The production also uses automated lights supplied by ETC dealer PRG, controlled by the Donmar’s ETC Eos control desk.
“They are a winner in a small space where there is not much room,” he continues, adding that the LEDs’ colour changing capabilities mean that he needs fewer of them than he would with conventional luminaires.
“The Series 2 units really do an awful lot. I’m an absolute convert,” he enthuses.
Howard is the lighting director for the original production of Mamma Mia! among many others, and won an Olivier Award in 2008 for Macbeth.
At the Donmar, he works closely with chief electrician George Dives and deputy chief electrician Tom Wickens, who oversaw the installation of a new Sensor3 power control system in 2014.
“Because of the ETC power and control infrastructure, Tom and George were able to seamlessly integrate the Source Four LEDs using RDM to patch the discovered channels into their system,” comments Mark White, ETC’s regional manager for the UK and Ireland.
“The Donmar Theatre Sensor3 installation also includes ThruPower modules, which were configured in this case to provide constant power to the Source Four LEDs.”