Techies’ year in the spotlight

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2012 has been a year of highlights for the technical team at The Dukes in Lancaster.

The ‘techies’ whose work always puts performers in the limelight have had their own skills recognised by others beyond the theatre walls recently.

Within a week this autumn, they illuminated a stretch of Lancaster Canal for The Dukes’ A Phoenix From The Ashes event and just a few days later, they lit up Lancaster Town Hall for Light Up Lancaster and provided the lighting for the city council’s Fireworks Spectacular which attracted 14,500 people.

All three of these outdoor events were firsts for The Dukes techies – Brent Lees, Rory Howson and John Maudsley – who also provided the light and sound for The Dukes’ Christmas show, Treasure Island, and lit the first Christmas market to be held at Lancaster Castle.

The team are also responsible for the technical back-up for the touring shows visiting The Dukes, projecting the extensive film programme shown all year round in the cinema as well as maintenance at the theatre and DT3, the youth specific venue, which has its own programme of events and activities requiring their expertise too.

“The amount of events we cover is amazing for the kind of venue we are,” said chief technician, Brent who has worked at The Dukes for more than 20 years.

But one event missing this year was The Dukes’ nationally renowned walkabout shows in Williamson Park which are made extra special thanks to the lighting and sound skills of the technical team.

“The park show is a major interest for technicians and we’ve developed it over the years,” said Brent.

But The Dukes still had a presence in the park during the summer when, for the first time, it staged Sunset Screenings, a long weekend of outdoor films which involved the techies lighting The Dell.

And also during the summer, Brent had designed the lighting for the national tour of Sabbat.

“Touring Sabbat was exciting because we were working with different venues. All were fantastic but Hoghton Tower was a real treat to light because it was so different,” said Brent.

Senior assistant technician, Rory, went on the road with Sabbat and had only just returned from the tour when he, Brent and John became heavily involved with preparations for the lighting and sound for The Dukes’ next big project – Metropolis.

This young person’s production took place in Preston Guild Hall as part of the city’s Guild celebrations and was another first for the Lancaster theatre – and the techies whose work in 2012 has been under the spotlight more than ever before.