Total Production

dbn Supplies Lighting for Wales Millennium Centre Celebrations

December 2015

Manchester-based dbn Lighting collaborated with producers Walk The Plank to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the landmark Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay, Wales.


Stephen Page of dbn was asked to design lighting for the spectacle, staged outside along the main concourse approach to the centre. Staged on Saturday 12 September, the show, Ar Waith Ar Daith, was a year in the planning and making and with over 600 participants, the largest outdoor theatre production in Wales to date.


The show attracted crowds exceeding 12,000 to witness old tales of Welsh history, myth, allegory and magic unfold via a series of promenade choreography, large format projections onto the side of the building, aerial stunts, lantern processions, choral singing, dance numbers and a pyrotechnic finale.


Walk The Plank’s Liz Pugh directed the show, with fellow co-founder John Wasell as Creative Producer. The work featured a specially composed soundtrack by BAFTA award winner composer John Rea.

“It was a fantastic project in which to be involved, energising all the ingenuity of the Walk The Plank team, and requiring a truly lateral approach to lighting.”


Page said: “I enjoyed the many challenges and being part of another great creative team delivering a show that was shared and appreciated by so many people.”


Ar Waith Ar Daith was designed to celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Wales and in doing so placed the Wales Millennium Centre as a focal point for a broad spectrum of creative inspiration. The 200 metre performance space stretched from the Millennium Centre right down to the waterfront in Cardiff Bay and features a series of large concrete pillars, which could not be touched, and also included the Welsh National Assembly and the Pierhead buildings at the further end of the site.


Eleven custom combined lighting / sound towers were built and distributed around the site rigged with assorted fixtures, supported by a massive quantity of lights spread out along the floor. Rows of dbn SGM P5 LED floods were used as ‘foot lights’ running the length of the site.
The towers were loaded with a selection of fixtures including 21 Clay Paky Mythos, 16 Clay Paky Sharpy Washes, 16 Alpha Beam 700’s and 12 Clay Paky Sharpys. There were also four Alpha Beam 300s on each of the towers and around 40 PARcans distributed between them.

Eight of the original version City Colors were positioned on the floor adjacent to the Millennium Centre building and used to back light the performance space.  The columns positioned all the way down the performance space restricted the placement and focusing of equipment, which had to be factored in at every juncture.

Working alongside Page from dbn was Nick Buckley, who co-ordinated a lot of the prep work on site and operated lights for the show, along with Moss Everhard and Pete Isherwood. Becky Heslop and Josh Kroon, students from the Royal Welsh College of Speech & Drama,  assisted them.

The dbn get-in commenced on the Tuesday ahead of Saturday’s show, described by Ken Skates, the Welsh Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport & Tourism as, “the best show I have ever seen outdoors in Wales.”


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