Channing School Becomes a Different Class with White Light


Based in North London, Channing School is a centre of academic excellence which ensures every one of its students feels empowered, valued and supported. It provides a stimulating and vibrant educational experience that nurtures and sustains independent thinking, confidence and creativity. Arts plays a huge role in the girls’ education and the school has its own multi-purpose performance building – known as The Arundel Centre – which regularly holds its own industry-standard productions for the students to perform in. To ensure the space continues to house the most up-to-date lighting equipment possible, Channing School approached White Light (WL), a d&b solutions company, to upgrade its existing fixtures. 

This recent lighting investment at Channing School was overseen by Simon Maliphant-Gray, Theatre Manager at The Arundel Centre. He comments: “My role is to manage all the performance spaces in the school and look after maintaining, upgrading and installing new equipment. Our main theatre space was built around six years ago so the first task when starting at the school was to spec all the loose equipment for the new space. It’s always been a big aim of mine to ensure that the equipment for the space was as professional and state-of-the-art as the budget would allow. We were able to achieve this back then with the help of WL who arranged a series of on-site demos and helped put together a full package of equipment for the space.   

He continues: “Obviously some time has passed since then; during which technology has evolved at a rapid rate. As such, I knew we were approaching the point when we’d need to upgrade some of the equipment. What’s great is the fixtures which WL originally supplied are robust enough that they are still in great working order – something that’s very impressive given we use the space on almost a daily basis for a variety of purposes! The main issue is that, due to the busy nature of the space, it puts a huge strain on my time as I always seem to spend it either rigging or refocusing! As such, I was looking to supplement the existing rig with some further intelligent fixtures that could save me time. Having worked with them previously, I knew WL would be able to help find the lights that I required”. 

Simon began his quest to find these fixtures at the PLASA Show where he visited several manufacturers and came up with a shortlist of products he felt would work in the space. That same PLASA Show also saw him visit the WL stand, who soon arranged a demo day in which he could see the fixtures in situ. WL’s Antony Vine comments: “It was important for Simon to see what the products looked like within the Theatre space, in particular in terms of brightness and beam angles. We were also able to offer him advice based on our other client’s experiences and ensure he chose the fixtures that matched his precise needs going forward”.  

Following this demo and subsequent discussions, Simon drew on a range of High End Halcyon Golds, High End Lonestars, ETC Gio@5 and a motorised ETC Fader Wing. The Halcyon Golds output 31,000 lumens and are ideal for short to medium throw applications whereas the Lonestars provide rich colours, powerful zoom, full curtain framing and prism effects for those wanting maximum performance from a compact-sized automated fixture. The ETC Gio@5 features motorised playbacks and a built-in touchscreen access to all the Eos programming tools, whilst the motorised fader wing adds extra motorised or standard playbacks, providing on-demand, modular control. 

Simon explains: “Most of these fixtures are rigged above the stage in areas where focusing would traditionally take a significant amount of time. Given the various types of performances in short turnarounds we have in the space, this flexibility above stage is a huge asset. These new fixtures have already been put to immediate use on a production of Chicago; which also saw us use WL’s services for an additional small hire. We used lots of haze and textured beams to create different locations whilst the motorised shutters in the new units allowed me to close down tight areas of the stage without the need of several generic fixtures”. 

Channing is one of many schools that WL works with across the UK to ensure they are equipped with state-of-the-art technology, whether that’s for the benefit of the performers on stage or those undertaking technical courses who are able to learn using industry-standard equipment. It also has a Service Contract, meaning WL’s expert Technical Service team is able to maintain the equipment and ensure it continues to work as efficiently as possible. If you are interested in speaking to one of our Sales team about how they could help your educational institution, then please visit SalesWL.com or email info@SalesWL.com

Simon concludes: “I’d like to say a very big thanks to WL for all the help and guidance they offered; not just for this recent investment but also over the past few years. Working alone in a venue can be very challenging but knowing someone is there you can pick up the phone and speak to, and who’ll then work hard to make your vision a reality, is invaluable and something I’m extremely grateful for”.  

Images from Chicago can be viewed here: https://www.instagram.com/p/C0ByfNNs7bq/

Chicago Credits:

Set and costume design –  Jessica Maliphant-Gray
Lighting design – Simon Maliphant-Gray
Photos by – Will Ireland www.willireland.com

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