BLACKPOOL, UK – The hit musical and family favorite, A Christmas Carol, is arguably the indisputable Christmas classic. Charles Dickens’ evocative tale, with its exuberant dance sequences and magnificent settings recreating streets, graveyards and buildings of 19th century London, excites and appeals to audiences of all ages.
Tasked with bringing the tale of Christmas to life at Blackpool’s 3,000-capacity Opera House – a venue which also boasts one of Europe’s largest stages – Arranpaul’s Up & Coming LD, Oliver Wilkinson opted to include a selection of six Rogue R1 Spots and 16 Q-Wash 560Z-LED moving wash fixtures from CHAUVET Professional, as well as CHAUVET DJ PiXPars into his lighting design.
“The fixture plot I created allowed me to light any area of the stage with Chauvet’s R1 Spots, PiXPars and 560Zs,” said Wilkinson, who also handled video and audio for the production. “This combination allowed me to create an extremely wide variety of looks without compromising the budget.”
Placed on advanced truss above the stage, the Rogue R1 Spots allowed Wilkinson to weave powerful beams of light onto the stage to accent different scenic elements and demark performers from their immediate surroundings “The Rogue’s have a lovely CTO filter, which was a perfect temperature for creating indoor scenes. The iris is also a brilliant feature, which allowed me to pick up tight character specials, without the spill of light,” he elaborated. “There are certain scenes during the show that require a lot of specials, and the R1 Spots allowed me to achieve this quickly. Despite the lack of frost, the fixture’s focus system allowed me to lose that hard edge that typically comes from most spot units.”
Subtle mood changes in the production were enhanced by the colorful wash light of the Q-Wash 560Z-LED. Wilkinson flew these fixtures above the stage, changing colors to reflect the varying emotional tenor of the drama.
“Thanks to the 560Z’s wide zoom range and incredible brightness, the fixtures are perfect to give the stage a general wash,” continued Wilkinson. “The 560Z’s vast color palette of soft pastels and vivid hues gave me all the ammunition I needed to paint the stage with light. The advantage of RGBAW color mixing allowed me to re-create any color with any temperature.”
As the show has several sets representing scenes indoors and on the streets of Victorian London, being able to shift from a warm color to cooler steel was very important for Wilkinson when considering which fixtures to incorporate into his lighting design. Allowing such flexibility was Wilkinson’s fleet of CHAUVET DJ PiXPars.
“I placed the PiXPars in the wings, and used them as side lighting during certain scenes, especially the ‘link by link’ scene, where I wanted to bring in some very nice primary blues and cool lavenders to make the scene dark and mysterious. The PiXPars were perfect for adding rich colors where needed, for example, during the indoor scenes. Conversely, during the musical numbers when the stage needs to be brought to life with vibrancy and color, the PiXPars allowed me to have a dedicated fixture in one place, where I knew I needed to make that scene bold and bright.”
With Wilkinson’s design shaping the Blackpool stage into a fitting resemblance of the gritty streets of Dickensian Victorian London, the scene for this Christmas musical was well and truly set. Concluded Wilkinson: “A Christmas Carol has been a pleasure to design. I’m pleased that I was able to bring one of Europe’s largest stages to life with Chauvet.”