Proud Embankment in London’s West End is a venue defined by its world-class cabaret shows, embodying the spirit of true diversity with the sounds, styles, and vibes of a spectacular show-stopping mix including International circus and cabaret acts, death-defying aerialists, fearsome fire breathers, and astonishing acrobats, headlined by celebrity comperes.
This iconic venue, situated on the North bank of the River Thames and at the heart of the UK’s vibrant metropolis, was determined to have a high-impact post-Covid reopening. One of the first venues to open its doors after the second lockdown, Proud had undergone a transformative renovation, with a huge investment in its production values and the installation of 14 new Robe Pointe moving lights to accompany the talent, colour, and energy of the performances.
The new Pointes were specified by Proud Embankment’s in-house lighting designer Jack Knight and purchased specially for the venue by regular lighting supplier, North London rental and installation specialist, Halo.
The Pointes are a completely new addition to the existing house lighting rig and are positioned all around the stage with several on a goal post at the back, from where they provide the main effects lighting looks.
Robe’s highly versatile Pointe was an easy choice for Jack.
“It is a properly ‘multipurpose fixture’ in every sense of the word,” he stated. “As well as being fast and virtually instantaneous in response, Pointes are hugely flexible with a great range of colours, gobos and effects that allow you to be highly creative.”
He adds that the small size of the luminaire is also ideal to create a cosy and intimate atmosphere in a vast, spectacular space with a double-height atrium and high ceilings.
Jack has been using Robe products in his lighting work for about the last six years and has been the chief house lighting and sound technician at Proud Embankment for the last three years.
In that time there have been various other Robe fixtures on the rig including MMX Spots and Spiiders, and overall, Jack considers the brand to be “highly reliable and a gold standard” in moving light technology.
Proud Embankment’s Cabaret All Stars show runs Wednesdays through Saturday evenings, with the new Proud Late nightclub on Fridays and Saturdays and weekend daytime brunches, alongside private hire parties, award ceremonies and film shoots, so all the lights on the rig are worked overtime!
The late-night events tend to be lit to create a slightly darker and moodier atmosphere, while the main shows are brighter, sparkling with the glamour and glitz of a West End sellout success. The Pointes are a good all-around moving light that is “ideal” for any occasion.
A challenge in lighting the space is that the room is almost 360 degrees around the stage, so everything must look good from all angles. Effectively it is an in-the-round scenario.
Making this work for the range of shows and events is also one of the fun parts of being a resident LD and tech, explains Jack who must be prepared for anything! There are several ‘busking’ pages set up in the Avolites Tiger Touch II console containing basic building blocks from which he can evolve a slick-looking show almost on the fly, and with the Pointes to hand, he knows there is plenty of scope for producing great results.
Jack lights most of the Proud Embankment shows himself and also runs audio.
Re-opening has generated serious excitement on all levels – from performers and artists eager to get back onstage and in front of their audience, to technical production and operational staff looking forward to welcoming VIPs, celebrities and its loyal customers back.
Halo has been Proud Embankment’s lighting supplier for the last 10 years, and the company has also been a steady and long-term customer of Robe UK. Halo owner / founder Yann Guenancia stated:
“I am constantly impressed with the team at Proud and their trailblazing policies of investing in technical production to get an edge. This latest addition of Robe Pointes underscores the importance of good lighting to enhance and deliver the best overall show presentations for guests and artists.”
He believes today’s audiences are more tech-savvy than ever and are highly likely to appreciate visual and sonic improvements but also notice when sound and light effects are poor.
“As a brand, Proud is definitely standing out in its commitment to audiences in a highly competitive market, and we are very happy to be part of that journey.”
Photo: Alex Rice, courtesy and copyright of Proud Group, The Strand Photography Gallery Limited.