Brand new South African creative production and visual design practice Collective Works staged their new ‘Black Box’ live show concept at the 2017 Mediatech entertainment technology trade expo in Johannesburg in July.
Black Box is an experimental show and visual design space / experience conceived by Collective Works – Chris Bolton, Josh Cutts and Bradley Hilton – in conjunction with Simon Robinson, show director of the biennial expo which attracts visitors and exhibitors from all over Africa.
Chris and Josh created a show stopping production design in the Black Box theatre space that demonstrated their creative and technical programming talents and through the generous support of many high profile brands, organisations and companies in South Africa … put some of the latest-and-greatest lighting and visual technologies through their paces.
In addition to this, at the heart of Black Box was “Designing with Light – A Way of Thinking”, an educational seminar in three parts developed by Chris and Josh. This was open to anyone, but is specifically designed to energise those interested in embarking on a career as a lighting professional.
The Mediatech format was an hourly Black Box Main Lightshow performance which took place around a bespoke ‘floating’ stage supplied by Stageworks located in a dedicated area of the Ticketpro Dome which hosted the exhibition.
Six daily Main Lightshows - where Collective Works applied fresh and innovative visual treatments - were interspersed with two cycles of the three part seminar by Chris and Josh – so visitors had the flexibility of being able to catch all or any over the three days of Mediatech.
The fabulous sound system was designed by Marinus Visser and delivered via a d&b system and a DiGiCo SD10 console supplied by Blue Array.
Sponsors included CCPP from Cape Town, which supplied 90 per cent of the Robe kit, most of it brand new; Theo Papenfus from Stage Effects who contributed the Magic Panels and . Guillaume Ducray of LXFX and AV Unlimited who made the Martin Sceptrons and Barco kit available.
The lasers were supplied by LaserX, Richard Baker from LED Vision assisted with the LED banner wall and Warren Liss from Keystone Productions produced custom video content, while SA Draping dealt with wrapping the venue and all the soft good requirements.
Leading SA choreographer Debbie Rakusin of Debbie Rakusin Dance choreographed the performer and helped the flow of the show and Stuart Andrews from Gearhouse SA and his team undertook all the rigging.
Duncan Riley from leading SA sales company DWR Distribution and “all his people helped us in numerous ways” stated Chris.
The list of corporate sponsors was similarly impressive with Robe, Claypaky, Ayrton, MDG, DWR, Electrosonic, Stage Audio Works, DiGiCo, Green Hippo, MA Lighting, Martin, QSC and d&b … and this is remarkable in itself, as Collective Works managed to unite some of the fiercest competitors in South Africa in their support of the project!
“When Simon first approached us at Prolight in Frankfurt and we all began discussing the seeds … we had no idea how it would germinate” agreed Josh and Chris, “and with the incredibly positive response, we all really want to take this forward”.
Photos by Louise Stickland