A ‘Brief Encounter’ with ETC

Date Posted: 6/10/2014

Kneehigh Theatre adaptation

The Kneehigh Theatre adaptation of Noel Coward's Brief Encounter has impressed crowds in the UK, Australia and the US. As the show makes its way around the globe, its stunning lighting is accomplished thanks to a system full of ETC products.

The show was originally programmed on a different console, but migrated to an ETC Eos® console in 2009. Lighting designer Malcolm Rippeth states that this definitely proved to be the right choice, citing ETC's excellent attitude and the software's designer- and programmer-focused development. Kneehigh Theatre now owns an ETC  Ion® desk, which is in continual use on touring productions in the UK. Rippeth comments that the range of Eos-family consoles available - and their interoperability - has proven invaluable as the company works across different scales and continents.

"Brief Encounter has undertaken numerous tours in various countries, and for most of the time, the show has utilized the Eos family of consoles," explains electrician Ben Nichols. "We find the Eos software to be extremely powerful while being easy to use. This ease of use enables both Malcolm and myself to focus on lighting the show, whether it be remounting the show during an extended rehearsal period, or during a very quick tour move."

For Brief Encounter's Australian tour, Nichols used an ETC  Eos Titanium (Eos Ti™) console, complete with ETC  Gateways and an ETC  Remote Focus Unit (RFR), to facilitate the focusing process. Custom looms for the rig made patching into each venue a breeze. "The Eos Ti is a fantastic desk which I favor, due to the increased touchscreen real-estate, enabling really quick access to my direct selects and Magic Sheets, which are both invaluable tools," says Nichols. "On tour, the desk really comes into its own, allowing really easy networking setup, and the ability to have all my resources literally at my fingertips."

Rippeth has been very happy to stick to the show's original rig, which served well on tour in the UK and the US and for the show's Broadway run. The lighting rig features over sixty flown fixtures, including ETC Source Four Revolution® moving lights with custom strings and gobos, as well as  Source Four® profiles and  PARs. "There isn't anything to match the versatility of the Revolution as a tungsten source with exact colors," Rippeth says. "For much of the show, the units are in no-color, and we are able to use the scroller to run various grades of Rosco frost for perfect beam edges." The remainder of the rig consists of ten custom-built pre-rig booms, which are home to more than thirty ETC Source Four units of varying sizes. For the second US tour of Brief Encounter, Rippeth and Nichols successfully experimented with replacing scroller-fronted tungsten Source Four fixtures with  Source Four LED Lustr+ units. According to Rippeth, the color-matching has been superb.