Hamer Hall is a premium concert hall venue, home to the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (MSO) and one of the five main performance spaces at Arts Centre Melbourne, Australia, of which it is the largest indoor space with a seated capacity of 2464. It features a diverse variation of live entertainment, staging over 300 shows a year featuring local, national and international artists encompassing a multiplicity of genres and styles including pop, rock, jazz, classical, chamber, world, multi-cultural – classic and contemporary.
Built in 1982, Hamer Hall was fully refurbished in 2013 which included a full technical upgrade and updating of the lighting rig, a project specified and overseen in part by Bernie Manchee, head of lighting. The whole rig was automated for the first time as they purchased 22 X Robe MMX spots and 10 LEDWash 600s among other fixtures.
These were the first moving lights to be installed across the Arts Centre Melbourne complex. The Robes were delivered by Australian distributor, the ULA Group, and helped replace a large rig of conventionals and 5Ks … with a considerably greener and more cost efficient solution.
Robe’s news team recently visited to get an update about what a difference it had made having the Robes in the house!
Bernie and his team chose the Robe fixtures after following a tender process and undertaking a fixture shoot-out. Due to the variety of the performance schedule – from orchestra to rock ‘n’ roll - flexibility was at the essence of the decision explains Bernie.
The lights are installed and programmed to provide additional support to a standard orchestral white light ‘shell’ for MSO rehearsals and performances plus those by guest orchestras, or they can be used for other artists as a full show and effects rig.
Supervisor Matt King and lighting specialist Trent Barclay undertake around 70% of the lighting design work for the shows staged there, with the other 30% bringing their own creatives. Some artists and companies will also bring their own complete lighting rig, and another variation is a specials package carried on the tour which is combined with the house ‘top’ rig.
“The Robes are very punchy and efficient, they do everything we ask of them and having them available has also substantially increased the show turnaround times”. Often with two or three shows a day and a split shift of two working crews, this can make a serious difference!
They opted to have the wireless cards fitted into the LEDWash 600s , which are also frequently used as a ‘house’ floor package – it can be extremely quickly deployed which can add dynamics to any show.
The fixtures have also been extremely reliable.
Bernie had used Robe products before the Hamer Hall purchase and had also seen them in action and appearing more frequently with visiting productions. He also cites their excellent relationship with ULA Group which ensures that they are always kept up to speed with new and emerging technologies.
L-R: Bernie Manchee, Head of Lighting for Arts Centre Melbourne with Trent Barclay, Lighting Systems Specialist