Another Bumper Panto Season for HSL

Peter Pan, Birmingham, lighting designed by Ben Cracknell, Louise Stickland

HSL supplied lighting equipment to 32 high profile Qdos pantomime productions all over the UK for their 2018-2019 season, together with a full rigging – truss and motors package.

Qdos has a reputation for producing fantastic pantos – action-packed with smart humour related to contemporary music and social and political issues alongside traditional theatrical elements – all served with extremely high production values.

Lighting the colourful, fantasy environments that characterise this specific genre of comedic melodrama, HSL worked with 17 different LDs. HSL’s 2018 panto team was led by Jordan Hanson.

Hanson commented: “Fluid communication, having a cool head for logistics and being organised about the prep is essential. Ensuring the whole team is onboard from the start and in touch and in tune with each other and the overall picture at all times is also key. Qdos has incredibly high standards, and we enjoy rising to the challenge each year.”

Hanson started collaborating with Qdos’s Production Director Mark Sherwood in May, Qdos then appointed the LDs and started selecting their kit lists for the show.

Lighting Designer Tim Oliver designed the Glasgow show which is typically the largest in terms of production and venue size but other key productions included; Peter Pan in Birmingham, Beauty and the Beast in Edinburgh and Aladdin in Bradford.

3,200 custom gobos were made which accompanied the several different types of moving lights. Each one was fitted in the venues at the start of the season and was moved once the season commenced.

A supply of 2,500 intelligent lighting fixtures was provided – a mix of moving lights, LED and pixel sources. The number of generics approached 1000 – profiles, fresnels, PARs and blinders, and to feed power and data to all of these there was over 100 miles of cable – multicore, power and data. Around 1500 boom arms were supplied for rigging various lights.

HSL also supplied lighting control and follow spots to some venues where these were not available in-house. This and a variety of associated kit including power distros customised for each production all left Blackburn in between the 16 November 2018 and 13 December 2018.

“The interdepartmental co-ordination and attention to detail needed to keep everything rolling is intense,” stated Hanson. “Adding that to accommodate amendments, changes and tweaks to the specs, their workflow must be fluid, streamlined and smooth.”

The run-up to panto season started in June, and 2018’s project is finally closed in March 2019 so resource wise it is a nine-month operation that built up to a crescendo in November 2018 and December 2018.

Sherwood added: “Another amazing season by HSL. To service 32 shows all of which open pretty much at the same time and yet preserve the one-to-one service with the Lighting Designers, Production LX Teams and the venues is no mean task. Jordan acts as our conduit to all the departments and his 24-hour commitment to the product is the best.”