SJ Grevett Energized M-Shaped MOBO Awards Rig With CHAUVET Professional and DMX Productions

Posted on February 21, 2023

LONDON – Stuck smack in the middle of the alphabet, the letter “M” has a bit of an identity crisis. Being the 13th letter, it’s sometimes associated with bad luck. Palm readers say it portends danger when it’s formed by the lines in your writing hand. On the other hand, though, it’s also a sign of wealth, being used as a symbol for money; not to mention that marketers regard it as one of the most visually pleasing letters, the only one in the alphabet to have a candy (M&M) named after it!

SJ Grevett saw “both sides” of this venerable letter when designing the rig for the 25th annual MOBO Awards at Wembley, as he had to incorporate distinctive M-shaped trussing into his design. This trussing was configured in two levels, a softer, less pronounced M in the upper section that ran horizontally, and a sharper, more dramatic, and vertically oriented rendition of the letter below it.

Working with this M-and-M configuration, SJ turned the MOBO stage into a vibrant canvas that lent itself to limitless design possibilities for the award ceremony. “Having the M on the top horizontal was very good, and easy to work with,” he said “However, the lower truss rigging was interesting due to its M shape. Hanging vertically over the stage, it was a bugger to build. We already had built a concept of a truss laced with screen for a festival, but the M shape added challenges.”

These challenges were complicated further by a tight production schedule. SJ and his team had only three weeks to pull the design together, yet still managed to keep the M-shaped trussing over and on the stage. They also had only a one-day load in and had to accommodate late changes made the guest design teams for the artists, a stellar group of rap and hip-hop performers that featured Nile Rodgers and David, Kojey Radical, and Tion Wagne.


The design had to come together at the last minute, with only a few weeks’ notice. Due to the busy touring schedule of the artists who performed at the event, production teams were working up to the last second to produce content. Some artists only witnessed the final creation during their dress rehearsals, a huge amount of pre-production was the key to make sure that their creative visions to life quickly and effortlessly on the day of the show.

Nevertheless, the MOBO (“Music of Black Origin”) Awards show was supported by stunning looks for both the broadcast and live audience. Contributing to the impact of the lightshows was a collection of 126 CHAUVET Professional fixtures supplied by DMX Productions.

The design team relied on these fixtures to create a wide variety of dazzling looks on the M-shaped truss. At times, they accented the lines of its up-and-down M outline to create a sense of motion, while at others they selectively turned off some fixtures to give the truss an entirely different contour. Chase sequences running up and down the edges of the M-shaped generated an added excitement.

Key to providing this rich variety of looks were the kit’s 24 Color STRIKE M motorized strobes. SJ hung 18 of the high output fixtures on the upper M level of truss, relying on them for audience lighting and impactful special effects. He conveyed different moods throughout the program by alternating between colorful effects created with the fixture’s pixel mappable RGB face, and bright white light from its two LED tubes.


The six other Color STRIKE units in the kit were part of the ground package. From this position, they provided evocative back lighting and, working with a pair of Cloud 9 foggers, created a moody aura on the stage deck.

Outlining the M-shaped truss and connecting it to large center-stage video wall were the kit’s 40 COLORado PXL Bar 16 fixtures. The motorized tilting RGBW batten added a greater sense of depth and texture to the stage and was key for award stings and fly outs.

Energizing the show further were 24 STRIKE 1 blinders and 36 Rogue R3 Beams. Flown on the lower M truss, the high output STRIKE units were used for stropping and audience lighting, while the beams animated the show with fast-moving crossing patterns and aerial effects. The beams did much of the heavy lifting for the show as were able to punch through against the huge LED backdrops.

“This was our first year doing this show, and we had to pull it together very quickly, whilst operating under budget constraints,” said SJ. “Much of the credit for this belongs to our great crew and the production team of, Jan Genesis, Director and Rob Smalldon, Production Manager who entrusted this show to us. Also deserving credit is our show crew, which included Ben Insip, Lighting Programmer & Operator; Karl Lawton, Camera-Key Light; Tom Armstrong, Head Rigger; David Cattermole, E2 Operator, and Matt Child, Video Playback.”

Working together, this team created a production design that was universally praised, by fans, the critics, and the client. If they were grading this show, they undoubtably would have given it an “A,” or perhaps, more appropriately a “M.”