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grandMA joins “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of The Desert”

grandMA joins “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of The Desert”

PriscillaThe spectacular new musical production of Oscar winning Australian movie “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of The Desert” hits London's West end in style and gorgeousness at the Palace Theatre, together with a grandMA full-size console controlling the moving lighting rig.

The show's lighting design has been created by Nick Schlieper, and the stage adaptation, “Priscilla Queen of the Desert - The Musical” was initially premiered at the Star Casino in Sydney in late 2006. From there, it toured Australia and New Zealand before coming to London, where it's being produced by Back Row Productions and the Really Useful Group (RUG).

Lighting equipment is being supplied by PRG, and freelance programmer Stuart Porter was asked by RUG to programme the moving and intelligent lighting components on to a grandMA. Porter has a wealth of experience and many West End productions under his belt, however this is the first time he's programmed a large scale West End musical with a grandMA: “It's a stable, powerful, reliable and well supported platform,” he comments.

The fast-paced show is a big, glitzy, glamorous affair, with 20 full-on production numbers and an awesome stage set including “Priscilla” the famous battered bus which blasts around the Australian outback with three friends and their show. It also features over 500 outrageous costumes.

The style and feel of the lighting matches the high-energy, hilarious and at times poignant storyline. Schlieper's creative starting point was in translating the ‘great outdoors' of the movie into a theatrical context “that didn't feel tokenistic, but could become its own coherent world.” He needed the lighting to be flexible and adaptive while maintaining continuity as it helped depict locational extremes from the Australian outback reality to pure fantasy”.

The grandMA is controlling 74 moving lights, which are a combination of Clay Paky Alpha Spot 1200s, Vari*Lite VL3500Qs, VL1000 ARCs (with a mix of shutters and irises) and Martin Professional fixtures.

The moving lights are used for all the standard focus and chase effects as well as for some very specific tight shuttered focuses which need to be reproduced with pinpoint accuracy. “The grandMA does this incredibly well,” comments Porter.

In addition to these fixtures, the console is also running ETC Source Four Revolutions (with colour scrollers), 6 DHA Digital Light Curtains and a myriad of inset LEDs illuminating the show's shoe set piece, which has 21 steps and three colours per step - involving a lot of chases. This was engineered and built by Stage One, together with the rest of the set for the UK production.

The grandMA is also triggering V4 video servers running projected video onto the bus and through the ‘Pixaline Net', a custom built LED cloth.

Porter has just started programming for Lighting Designer Natasha Katz on Whoopie Goldberg's “Sister Act The Musical” using a grandMA full size for its opening in June.

Photos: Copyright – Tristram Kenton

A.C.T Lighting is the exclusive North American distributor for the grandMA. A.C.T Lighting can be reached at 818-707-0884 or

Further information: , Tel.: +49 5251 688865-10

Company Profile

MA Lighting International, based in Paderborn, Germany, is the dedicated sales, support and service entity for the renowned grandMA control systems, digital dimming systems, networking tools and media servers of MA Lighting Technology, based near Wuerzburg (GER). The product range offers cutting-edge solutions for control and dimming, including the award-winning grandMA/grandMA2 consoles, the popular Lightcommander and reliable digital dimmer racks and packs. With its innovative MA Video Processing Unit (VPU) MA bridges the lighting and video worlds.

Today, MA Lighting is respected for its technical knowledge and has achieved a unique international reputation for its operational philosophy. The company offers 25 years experience and strictly follows a professional user-centric approach, getting as close as possible to the market via its own international offices and support centres in the UK, North America, Latin America, the Middle East/India and Asia Pacific – supported by a world-wide distribution and service network.

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