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Jands innovative lighting control consoles and staging equipment used in Heath Ledger Theatre

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Jands  supplied and commissioned all the technical equipment currently operating within the State Theatre Centre of Western Australia, customising their lighting control consoles and staging equipment for the new 575 seat Heath Ledger Theatre, and Studio Underground, a flexible performance space with seating for over 200 persons.

Located on the corner of Roe and William Streets in Northbridge, the Centre also includes a Courtyard, a multi-purpose outdoor events space, two rehearsal rooms and two flexible use private suites. The building was designed by award-winning Kerry Hill Architects and is a defining architectural landmark for Perth.

Above the traditional stage proscenium arch stage in the Heath Ledger Theatre, the fifty four onstage fly-lines and four full-length panorama bars are suspended on Jands electric drum hoists controlled by a Stage Technologies Nomad system. These Nomad control consoles include a proprietary console and display using Windows-based software, and enable easy and complete programming and automation of fly cues.  

A 3D image of the stage and a colour-coded graphic of the flybar positions is a simple interface and by simply pressing command keys, operators can easily control the fly lines and bars. Two camera feeds of the stage area use infra-red to keep the flying system visible during black-outs.

Boyd Midgley, Head Flyman at the State Theatre Centre, said about the Nomad interface: “It’s a fantastic platform for making shows clean cut. Through the Nomad’s technology shows can have more versatility within the State Theatre Centre plus the ability to move multiple bars safely and effectively is a great attribute within shows.”

Two banks of Jands SP650 hoists are situated twenty metres overhead, ranged either side of the grid in separate winch rooms.

“The hoists have been working really well since their installation and we’ve had no issues at all with them,” said Graham Piper, Technical Manager at the State Theatre Centre.

Lighting for the main stage comes from three FOH bridges and additional circuits on the circle rail and in the perches. Overhead the lighting bars consist of twenty four 3.5m Jands JLX PRO bars with a dozen dimmer outlets on each.

The Heath Ledger theatre has 360 channels of Jands 2.5kW HPC12 dimmers and 48 channels of Jands 5kW HPD6 dimmers configured in a ‘dimmer per outlet’ setup eliminating a load patch.  

Graham said about the dimmer configuration: “It allows us to make any circuit in the building a straight mains feed rather than a chopped mains feed. There’s no RF noise from them at all and the Jands back up service for them has been amazing.”

The lighting console selected for the Heath Ledger Theatre was an ETC EOS 5000. Graham’s opinion on the ETC EOS 5000 lighting control consoles was clear: “It has a very intuitive programming set up and it’s got a very good moving light control interface which is unusual in a theatre board as usually the moving lights are an after thought. It’s just a really flexible and intuitive console.”

Jands installed 12 moving lights in total, including six VariLite VL3500Q and six VLX LED wash lights with the VLX selected for both its energy efficiency as well as the long life offered the LED light sources.

The State Theatre Centre’s new Studio Underground is also home to the first ever installation of Slingco’s CableNet system in Australia.

CableNet is a wire grid ‘virtual floor’ that provides standing access to lighting fixtures hanging above. It acts in a similar way to an extremely tight, wire-mesh trampoline constructed from 3mm wire at 70mm centres.  

CableNet is designed to provide a safe work environment for lighting riggers high over the stage that doesn’t require ladders or scissor-lifts.“The CableNet is a lighting technicians dream to be able to walk around to focus lights without having to go up ladders!” Graham said. “It saves us so much time during focusing and also set up time. It’s an incredible time saving and personnel safety device.”

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