The University of Bedfordshire, a multi-site academic facility including campuses in Bedford and Luton, UK, recently upgraded three of their performance spaces with powerful theatrical lighting control from Zero 88, a Signify (Euronext: LIGHT) entertainment lighting brand.
“We had three different theatrical spaces in need of upgrades, and we wanted a consistent experience across all of them,” explained Jamie Spirito, technician / demonstrator at the University of Bedfordshire. “The smaller Luton Campus theatre needed a powerful, yet straightforward console. Our Bedford Campus Theatre and Studio Theatre needed a bit more refined control capabilities, but with the same product quality and ease of use. That’s why I went with Zero 88 control solutions.”
Stage Electrics supplied the university with two Zero 88 consoles, a FLX for the 110-seat Luton Campus Theatre and a FLX S48 for the 125-seat Studio Theatre, both of which run the award-winning ZerOS software. For the larger 255-seat Bedford Campus Theatre, a ZerOS Server was installed, along with two 24-channel Zero 88 RigSwitch units. DMX distribution in the facility was upgraded to Zero 88 Gateway 8 and Splitter 8 devices as well.
When operational, these spaces host a hectic festival-style schedule, including a myriad of activities performed by students from the University’s various performing arts-related courses. In addition to full-on productions and rehearsals, seminars and lectures also occur in the spaces, requiring quick setup and often a short turnaround for another event the same day.
Some of these events, especially in the Luton venue, are run by students, while others, particularly events in the Bedford Theatre, are run by a professional crew. This variety of events and operator proficiency required solutions that could cater to different levels of technical knowledge and experience, while also being intuitive enough for everyone to learn and feel comfortable operating as well.
Spirito credits the easy-to-use ZerOS software for delivering this flexible experience. “I devised special ‘speed training’ courses for the FLX consoles that allowed students and staff to grasp the basics in 20 minutes,” adds Spirito. “This has proved to be hugely popular and helped everyone become confident about being able to use the lighting to the best effect for their requirements in a short amount of time.”