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Stage Electrics at Glyndebourne

Stage Electrics has equipped Glyndebourne Opera House with an ETC dimmer and control installation and Avolites dimmers.

The existing dimmer, lighting control and highly customized working lights installation, commissioned in 1994, was approaching the end of its reliable life and a radical change was required. The move also saw the first UK installation of ETC’s new lower amperage Sensor dimmer modules with a 10A MCB, allowing the original low-diameter wiring installation to be reused.

Glyndebourne’s technical team, with head of lighting Keith Benson, recognised that with spares and support likely to become unavailable, and the system generally ageing, it was time for a complete upgrade. Stage Electrics’ Technical Project Manager Nick Broad says: “We proposed a replacement system that incorporated the original wiring and offered greater flexibility for both the installed and touring dimmer systems.”

The new Sensor dimmer modules, designed by ETC in response to customer demand plus changes to UK electrical requirements, are fitted with 6 and 10 Amp MCBs (miniature circuit breakers) which allows Sensor dimming to be installed in many venues which could not previously accommodate higher rated Sensor standard modules, and will limit loads to 1.3kW and 2.3kW respectively.

11 Strand EC90 dimmers were replaced with 10 ESR36N ETC Sensor Enclosures, fitted with a mixture of 3kW, 5kW, Contactor, Emergency and the new 10A version of ETC’s popular dimmer module. With the increasing use of moving lights and LED fixtures, the total number of dimmers used in a production has decreased; however, the need for flexibility needed to be maintained. Therefore all of the existing dimmer wiring was terminated into the new racks, but dimmer types can be moved to where they are needed on a show by show basis.

Control has likewise been brought in to the 21st century with the provision of two ETC EOS lighting consoles, one as the main in-house desk, and the other for use at the production desk for plotting – which can then be used for touring, complete with EOS RPU back up. An ETC Net 3 network was also installed. 120 ways of Avolites Art 2000 Series portable dimmers spread over three dimmer racks will serve Glyndebourne On Tour’s requirements as well parts of the theatre that require extra dimming provision, particularly the flytower grid.

Meanwhile, house lights and working light controls were replaced by an ETC Unison Paradigm controlled system, with an additional ETC ESR36N Enclosure to house ETC ER10AF 2.3K dual relay modules. This system can also be controlled by two bespoke ETC panels complete with LCD touch screen and push buttons, as well as from existing push button panels in the dimmer room and SM desk, and from existing local switches around the venue – all using the existing cabling infrastructure.

The latter follows IT industry practice and the lighting network, which utilises a new data network cable system, allows control systems to interface with each other as well as with the dimmers. The network allows large amounts of control data to be transmitted, a key requirement as more intelligent lighting equipment comes into use at Glyndebourne, while the production lighting control desk is able to control every circuit in the installation – including the working light control system. To complete the package, Stage Electrics provided full testing, commissioning and user training.

Adrian Searle, Head of Technical and Hire at Stage Electrics, comments: “It was a privilege to work with Keith and especially Stuart Pratley, our main contact for this project, who went out of his way to ensure that it was a success bringing this wonderful opera house up to a fully modern lighting specification.”