300 Robe fixtures illuminate Davina Michelle

TWOFIFTYK and Marc Heinz create a dynamic production design for Davina Michelle at Rotterdam’s Ahoy Arena with some 300 Robe lighting fixtures. Photo: Louise Stickland

Artistic Directors, Sophie and Sander Reneman of TWOFIFTYK and Marc Heinz helped curate a dynamic production design for Davina Michelle at Rotterdam’s Ahoy Arena. For the two sold-out shows, Heinz specified nearly 300 Robe moving lights, working closely with Assistant Lighting Designers, Jordy Veenstra and Koen van Elderen.

The set concept was based on perceptions of space and proximity. A custom 10 seven metre glass riser was installed as a set centrepiece, underlit with LED sources. Custom glass risers on top were lit from above with a grid of Robe T2 Profiles and LEDBeam 350 fixtures to create a ‘cage-like’ effect. 

“We wanted a big, bold and confident aesthetic offering all the fluidity and grace of a dance show with the power and attitude of rock ‘n roll to compliment the artist’s lively and energetic stage presence and the solidity of her band,” explained Heinz. 

At Davina Michelle’s request, the band risers were also positioned close to her onstage space. A runway emanating from the front of the stage created an ‘almost-in-the-round’ layout which ensured she could be close to her fans.

A very large and elegant portrait orientated LED screen, flanked by two narrower left and right screens made up a powerful central lightsource in addition to the underlit floor, so Heinz required ‘plenty of firepower and punch’ from his luminaires to cut through and produce the ‘bold colour washes, specials and vivid linear looks’ during the show. 

Four trusses precision rigged immediately above the centre glass topped stage area were each rigged with seven Robe T2 Profiles alternating with eight LEDBeam 350s and a single T1 Profile on the downstage end of each truss for key lighting.

Around 28 T2 Profiles produced the chic and tightly defined lines of the ‘cage’ together with a variety of other looks which became a signature of these shows combining their columns of light, shuttering and colour washes, while the LEDBeam 350s were used for a miscellany of effects including strobing. 

Inside these four ‘cage trusses’ were five smaller automated trusses rigged with LED strip fixtures which came in to create alternative shaping for the space. Some 116 LEDBeam350s were deployed above, below and on vertical ladders in between the upstage LED screens where they stunned everyone with big bold sweeps and fly-aways into the audience, helping the artist connect with her fans and to move the energy off the stage and all around the room.

Around 12 T2 profiles were rigged as front and side lighting on a U-shaped truss flown above the end of the catwalk together with three Robe BMFL WashBeams that were hooked up to a remote follow spotting system. A further 60 Pointes were used to outline the stage at the front and in a long line along the back to blow-through and generally create dramatic and fun looks from these angles. 

The complete lighting, video, and rigging package was supplied via Unlimited Productions, a task overseen by the show’s production director, Bart Roelen. Many of the Robe fixtures came from Rent-All, and 66 additional LEDBeam 150s from Ampco Flashlight Rental were rigged around the balconies to provide audience lighting when it was confirmed that the shows would also be recorded for later digital broadcast.

Lighting was programmed by Heinz, Veenstra, and van Elderen on two grandMA2 consoles and mostly ran to timecode. van Elderen, a regular collaborator with Heinz and Veenstra, ran the main effects lighting console while Veenstra took care of the followspots, house lights, audience illumination and other extras. 

“It was great working with TWOFIFTYK again,” commented Heinz. “We enjoy a fantastic and fluid creative synergy which really helps a show narrative to evolve quickly and meaningfully.”

For Roelen, sourcing kit was a major consideration. “We at Unlimited Productions also love to work with Robe,” he noted. “The kit is good quality and reliable, widely available around the world and the support we know we can get from Robe if needed via its distribution network is fantastic!”

Unlimited Productions tapped Faber AV to deliver the video, Unbranded provided décor, SoulMates co-ordinated the creative LED elements, with lighting and production rigging completed by Apexx and Rotterdam Rigging in conjunction with house rigging providers.