Chauvet Professional Helps Bring New Life To Unity Works
22 April 2015
Unity Works is aptly named. A grass roots initiative started by a community that came together with a shared goal in mind, that has given this historic building a new lease on live.
This rebirth is reflected in the structure’s cutting edge fittings, including its lighting system, which features the new Rogue R2 Spot, moving LED spot and an extensive collection of other technologically advanced fixtures from Chauvet Professional.
Unity Hall is a stately building and a Grade II listed Victorian landmark, with all the installation challenges to match. The community based Unity House (Wakefield) venture managed to find £200,000 in private capital to begin getting the old pile back on its feet - a benchmark that then enabled the successful application for over £4m in national renovation awards, which set the building on its way to being fully restored.
In the past the building had served as a cinema, ballroom and wrestling venue, but it is most fondly remembered as a rock music venue. For generations of Yorkshire music fans, going to Unity Hall to see bands like The Specials, The Boomtown Rats, Iron Maiden and Def Leppard, was a rite of passage.
At the heart of today’s new Unity Works is a revitalised 600-seat hall, extensively kitted out with rigging, lighting and audio supplied by leading UK full service provider SSE Audio Group. According to Wakefield local and SSE Sales Manager Ryan Thomas, SSE won a tender that already specified Chauvet Professional in its highly discerning list of requirements.
“We were delighted to find that the new management of the venue knew their stuff,” he said, “and that included Chauvet for the lighting. In any tender proposal we would make recommendations based on technical or pricing merit if we thought there was a better solution. But in this case there was no need. We totally agreed that they’d arrived at by far the best solution for the project.”
Controlled by an Avolites Tiger Touch II LED lighting control desk, the new lighting arrangement features four of the Rogue R2 Spot LED fixtures; six Legend 412Z fixtures; 20 COLORdash Par-Quad 18s with barn door attachments that further enhance the colour spectrum already available; four Ovation F-95WW Fresnel fixtures with gel frames; and two Ovation E-190WW ellipsoidals, also with gel frame.
With this collection of Chauvet Professional fixtures, the lighting arrangement has the versatility to handle the wide array of performances, from rock to stand up to theatre, which will take place at the revitalised Unity Works. For example, whilst the Rogue and Legend fixtures provide the movement and intensity called for by rock performances, the Ovation fixtures deliver a beautiful flat field for theatrical applications.
Mark Hatfield is SSE Audio’s Project Manager and worked on the installation very closely: “Due to the listed nature of the venue, a floor-standing truss system was required to accommodate the PA and effects lighting system,” he commented.
“The decision to go with Chauvet was based on performance, versatility, budget and efficiency. Any of the numerous events hosted at Unity Works could potentially require a different lighting layout from the next, so it was important for the venue to have access to fittings that would work well together for anything from a live performance to a wedding.
“The Rogue R2 Spots, Legend 412Z moving heads, COLORdash Par-Quad 18 washes and Ovation lights provide high output and are packed with features to accommodate every eventuality. Another advantage with these fixtures is that they are LED, meaning they are low maintenance and have a low environmental impact,” he added.
Over the stage, SSE has installed a 10m by 5m by 5m box section truss for the extensive Chauvet payload, which also makes use of internally wired lighting bars both here and at the FOH position. Control panels throughout the venue address both lighting and audio, and provide access to a wiring infrastructure that will easily accommodate further additions to the technical inventory.
Sound reinforcement is provided by d&b audiotechnik’s xA series loudspeakers, powered by d&b D12 digital amplifiers, a DiGiCo SD9 digital console at FOH and four channels of Sennheiser EW335 G3 vocal wireless. Stage monitoring courtesy of six QSC Audio K12 powered loudspeakers.
In addition to its performance venue, Unity Works has a smaller function room, some independent shops, an art gallery, a café bar and small business facilities. “This contributes to the strong community feel already present here,” added Thomas. “Everyone seemed to have an interest in this project.
Indie band The Cribs, who remember coming to gigs at Unity Hall when they were just kids, were among the people with roots here who helped raise the money in the first place. They also headlined the opening night, to get things off to a great start. The initial capital came from selling shares in the venue – shares in the idea of Unity, if you like. Maybe that helped formulate such a knowledgeable tender.”
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