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  •   Royal Albert Hall Fitted Out By A.C. Lighting

Royal Albert Hall Fitted Out By A.C. Lighting

15th May 2000

One of London's most famous venues, the Royal Albert Hall, is currently undergoing its first comprehensive programme of building development since Queen Victoria first opened the building in 1871. Scheduled to continue until 2003, the entire programme has a cost of £66.3 Million, and includes a complete overhaul and restoration of the venue's famous organ, which is the second largest in the United Kingdom. The work, which originally began in 1995, is being tightly co-ordinated to ensure that the Hall does not close for public use unnecessarily, which is quite some feat for a programme lasting 8 years, at a venue that puts on hundreds of events every year.

As part of the refurbishment programme, A.C. Lighting's Special Projects division recently completed the installation and upgrade of part of the lighting cabling and control system at the venue.

Initial meetings took place in 1999 between A.C. Lighting's Adam Beaumont and the Royal Albert Hall's Deputy Technical Show Manager, Mark Jones, who designed and specified the system.

Because of shows that were already booked at the venue, the upgrade work had to be completed to a tight, and non-negotiable, deadline. Following the load out of their Millennium Eve show on New Years Day, the team from A.C. Lighting had until January 28th when the next show, Madame Butterfly, loaded in.

The major part of the work was to upgrade the circle rail of the venue with new power and control wiring for their front of house circuits. This involved some intricate and careful work as the Royal Albert Hall has a Grade I listing on it to preserve its original architecture. With this in mind, all of the front panels from the existing trunking were removed and replaced with customised 2 metre long front panel sections. Each of these sections was painted in the Royal Albert Hall colours, and contained 12 16 Amp sockets for 6 dimming channels along with two independent power circuits for moving lights and colour scrollers. Using Tourflex Datasafe 4 cable, a total of 12 DMX connectors, covering 2 DMX 512 universes were also installed around the circle rail for the control of additional DMX fixtures. The dimming channels on each panel were also paralleled up to Socapex multicore outlets, for use by touring acts visiting the venue.

On stage, A.C. Lighting installed 3 6-way stage boxes, and continued the new DMX wiring with a series of outlets at ground level. These then extended out to the front of house area of the venue where more ground level DMX connection points were also installed. Throughout the project A.C. Lighting were assisted on site by Scott Nielson, the Assistant Technical Show Manager at the Royal Albert Hall.

Along with this cabling work, A.C. Lighting also supplied and installed 5 customised 16 Amp dimmer patch panels with a total coverage of 144 dimmer channels, and upgraded their existing Arri dimmer system with the addition of a further 24 2kW channels.

At the nerve centre of the Royal Albert Hall's lighting control, A.C. installed a fully customised DMX distribution centre containing, amongst other parts, Artistic Licence rackmounted Splitters and Merge units, cabled again with Tourflex Datasafe 4. All of the work by A.C. Lighting was completed ahead of schedule, over a three week period, led by A.C. Lighting's Adam Beaumont, who worked in conjunction with principal consultants BDP and construction managers, Taylor Woodrow Construction.