Stage Electrics was awarded the contract to design and install a new technical infrastructure and production lighting, audio and communications systems at the Bristol Old Vic, believed to be the oldest working theatre in the UK.
Part of a £12.26m makeover, the first phase of an extensive redevelopment programme, the project has been headed by consultants Charcoalblue with design by John Stevens and project management by John Woodley, architect Andrzej Blonski and
builders Galliford Try.
The refurbishment includes the raising of the stalls and gallery to improve sightlines, a new, flexible thrust stage format, conversion of the paintshop and sidestage into fully functioning performance areas, additional rehearsal spaces, a backstage lift and other improvements designed to make the building ‘a safer, greener space’.
For Stage Electrics, the project has been heavily infrastructure based, with the bulk of the overall budget aimed at getting the building right. Work has involved the fit-out of a new production lighting system based around ETC Sensor dimmers with 465 dim and non dim channels. All of the outputs appear on stage lighting output boxes, accompanied by a number of custom-made internally wired bars to match the curve of the auditorium.
“It’s been a huge privilege to be so closely involved with the restoration of one of the country’s oldest theatres, which by pure coincidence is just a few miles from our own headquarters,” Adam Blaxill, head of marketing and strategic buying at Stage Electrics, said. “Inevitably we have an emotional involvement with the Bristol Old Vic and are delighted to contribute to its beautiful rebuilding project.”