21st October 2008
Stage Electrics provided a spectacular lighting display to illuminate the historic monuments of Ironbridge Gorge, birthplace of the industrial revolution. Stage Electrics lit a variety of World Heritage Site icons across the gorge including the Ironbridge, Bedlam Furnaces and Museum of the Gorge as part of the Cultural Olympiad 'open weekend' celebrations, and the World Heritage Site Festival. The Ironbridge (built 1779), a great symbol of the industrial age, was illuminated to create a dynamic and constant cycle of colour and produce stunning reflections in the water below. The effect was created by using 4 x 8Kw space cannons (EMF Technology), 24 Varilite VL2000 Wash lights (12 either side of the bridge), 6 x City Colours and 16 x outdoor Par64s. An LED wall at the north end of the bridge displayed images of some of the lesser known local sites and public information messages. Subtle changes in colour were achieved using the full CMY colour mixing space cannons and Varilite VL2000's, all controlled by an Avolites Pearl lighting console. Tim Routledge was commissioned by Stage Electrics to light the event fresh from his role as assistant to Lighting Designer, Durham Marenghi, and Lighting Programmer for the London handover at the Beijing Olympics.
The remains of Bedlam Furnaces, located on the banks of the River Severn, were cleverly illuminated to give the illusion that they were burning as they did over 250 years ago. Built in the 1750's, these blast furnaces were used to make the components of the Ironbridge. Stage Electrics had the challenging task of recreating the famous 1801 painting 'Coalbrookdale by Night' by Philip de Loutherberg of Bedlam Furnaces in action. Their remains were brought to life with recreated industrial sounds, hammering metal and the sound of bellows played on a sound scape. Smoke effects were created using a combination of Martin Jem ZR33 smoke machines and unique hazers. In addition a combination of HMI and HQI fixtures were used. The orange and red flame effects for the burning furnace were created using Safex FlameJettts - a new product to Stage Electrics hire portfolio, which uses easy to handle gas canisters to produce live flame effects from either a hand remote or via DMX control. All atmospheric effects of the furnace in action were controlled by an Avolites Pearl 2008 lighting console.
The grounds of the Coalbrookdale Museum of Iron hosted a main stage and series of live performances, lighting and firework displays. Staging was provided by Impact Production with a Prolyte MPT roof. On gauze at the back of the stage a bespoke video was displayed, celebrating the event and marking the 300th anniversary since the discovery of coke at Coalbrookdale and the birth of the industrial revolution. The video's production was managed by Stage Electrics in association with key partner, The Giggle Group. Stage Electrics supplied the projection system which used 2 x Sanyo XF47 projectors and lit the museum's coke furnace using 10 x Alpha 300 Beams, 8 Atomic Strobes and 8 Martin MAC 700's with fitted gobos. The museum was lit using 25 Showtec LED Arc 3 Bars, chosen because of limited power. All lighting effects at the Coalbrookdale site were controlled by a MA Lighting GrandMA, programmed by Tim Routledge.
Stage Electrics' technical project manager for the event, Robin Barton comments: "The project required careful planning and management to ensure that all of the sites were completed safely, on time and to the highest standard. Working around historic monuments always requires extra care, especially on sites as significant to our industrial heritage as those in the Ironbridge Gorge. The museum staff was very supportive from initial meetings to the conclusion of the project and helped us to install a stunning show working around the museum's day to day activities, visitors and artifacts."
Steve Miller Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust chief executive adds: "The launch of the Cultural Olympiad in the West Midlands was a major regional event with a lot of pressure on all partners. Stage Electrics did an excellent job of creating spectacular lighting effects on a range of important historic buildings and monuments in the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site. The technical team clearly understood not only the constraints of working with protected buildings, but also how to create huge impact on a limited budget. The final results were truly magical; people will be talking about the night the Iron Bridge lit up for many years to come".