Live Design Blog Archive

New Parker, Colo. performing arts center features J. R. Clancy Rigging

With the opening of the Parker Arts, Culture and Events Center (PACE) in Parker, Colo. late in 2011, audiences looked forward to an exciting season of more than 60 performances of 28 different shows.

The inaugural season includes productions of A Christmas Story and Annie, the premier of an original musical, a custom light show created by Luma, the Irish dance troupe Direct from Ireland-Celtic Nights, and an interpreted production of Stuart Little for hearing and deaf audiences.

The brand-new facility's 536-seat theatre—one of two performance spaces in the extensive center—can host this diverse series of events because of the easy-to-use automated rigging system provided by J. R. Clancy, Inc., and installed by Barbizon Light of the Rockies. Barbizon's Rick Loudenburg was on the design team as the theatrical rigging and lighting integrator with Semple Brown Design Architects, David L Adams and Associates and Shaw Construction.

The new theatre features 14 Clancy PowerLift automated hoists, including eight variable-speed and six fixed-speed hoists. PowerLifts provide many built-in safety features, including a dual-braking system that ensures reliable stops, with the ability to hold loads securely for long periods.

Clancy's popular Altus digital controller was the system of choice for the project. Designed for mid-level backstage rigging systems with up to 48 hoists, Altus allows operators to create up to 200 cues with different speeds and targets for each hoist. Its 12-inch graphic touch screen makes this an easy console to learn to use, even for crewmembers with limited backstage experience. Altus gives PACE the flexibility to stage impressive set changes and dramatic visual effects.

In addition to the PowerLifts, Altus will control the H&H 462 draw curtain machine on the front curtain.

“We originally planned to go with a more expensive controller, but Altus was introduced while we were designing the system,” said Dan Obenhaus, senior project manager for Barbizon Light. “Altus did everything we needed, it was easy to use, and it brought the price of the project down. It was good for everyone.”

“We love the rigging system,” said Shaun Albrechtson, technical director at PACE. “It's very versatile and easy to use. We really enjoy that we don't have to worry so much about weights. It's freed us up from the mundane aspects of the standard rigging system. The safety features alone are phenomenal—it has everything calculated through the computer, and everything operating smoothly is just a comforting feeling.”

The theatre also features a Wenger Diva Acoustical Shell, providing full-stage acoustics for optimum onstage sound and excellent sound projection to the audience. Lightweight and easy to install, the Diva Shell includes overhead panels that can be raised and lowered with Clancy's PowerLift rigging, and stored in the fly loft when not required for the performance.

Overall, Obenhaus said, the project went as smoothly as he had expected it would. “It was a good experience,” said “I've been working with Clancy for well over 15 years on different projects, and this was a project that stood up to all the other experiences I've had with them, which have always been good.”

More information about J. R. Clancy is available at (800) 836-1885, or at

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