New Windsor, NY—June 9, 2009—The Circus Starring Britney Spears is designed to evoke the spectacle found under the Big Top and this is one world tour that delivers. Designer Nick Whitehouse, working with design partner Bryan Leitch and their firm Visual Light Ltd., created the rich lighting design and collaborated with tour producer/director Steve Dixon and costume designer/style director William Baker on the production design. Whitehouse used 18 PRG Bad BoyTM luminaires to add a powerful punch to his circus-themed design. Production Resource Group (PRG) supplied the Bad Boy units and the lighting control consoles for the US tour and for the European leg, which began June 3 at London's O2 Arena.
The circular mainstage and two smaller B-stages create the three ring feel as Spears shares the stage with her own crew of dancers along with a magician, clowns, and aerialists from The Big Apple Circus. "The show is in the round and I wanted to create a pop spectacle, so I needed to put enough lights out there to accomplish that," said Whitehouse. "I wanted to cover the entire arena floor. I was looking for different angles as well, which is tricky in the round. I wanted to do some weird and wonderful stuff to get different heights, so we created some lighting pods." Each pod contains two PRG Bad Boys, two Vari-Lite VL3500 Wash units and one followspot. Whitehouse worked closely with PRG product manager Chris Conti on the design so that the Bad Boys could also travel in the pods.
"The pods hang a lot lower than the rest of the lighting rig," explained Whitehouse. "They sit over the dasher lines stage left and stage right at a lower trim which doesn't affect sightlines. In addition to the sixteen Bad Boys in the pods, I have two more Bad Boys at either end of the stage."
As well as spotlighting the stage, the Bad Boy units wash the audience with color and gobos. "When I saw the Bad Boy, it was the obvious choice," said Whitehouse. "I love the optics. With one light, I can go from a two-inch beam on the mainstage to a full look that covers about 70 feet; and it is crystal clear and bright the whole way out." Whitehouse also feels that the Bad Boy's reliability makes it a good choice for concert touring work, stating, "We did a month of rehearsals and all of the shows in the US; and I have not had one problem; not one."
Whitehouse, who operates the lighting console himself, chose the PRG Virtuoso® to control his rig on the US leg. During the changeover to the European leg, he transferred the show to the new PRG V676TM console, making this tour the console's debut. "The new V676 console from PRG has been great so far," said Whitehouse. "I love the layout of the console both in terms of ease of operation and how many functions are on the top layer. I can get to everything much more easily. The effects engine is really easy to use and very intuitive. You can build a lot of different effects in no time at all. It takes fewer button pushes; there are fewer steps; it is just much faster to program. The V676 is also physically faster in its processing. Plus, it looks really great. The mechanical design is very nice. I am looking forward to having it throughout the rest of the tour."
Prior to this tour, Whitehouse and Leitch partnered up with Steve Dixon, William Baker and touring veteran Mo Morrison to form the production company Road Rage, which is producing The Circus Starring Britney Spears tour as well as production designing the current Il Divo world tour.
For more information on PRG, please visit www.prg.com.
About Production Resource Group—Production Resource Group, LLC (PRG) is the world's leading supplier of entertainment technology solutions, including lighting, audio, video, scenery, and automation systems. PRG serves a wide range of markets, including theatre, concert tours, trade shows, corporate and special events, television and film, and themed environments. PRG provides its services worldwide through more than 17 offices in North America, Europe, and Asia.