The second largest performing arts complex in the Southeastern United States, the Straz Center is home to the Patel Conservatory, a leading education facility for theatre, music and dance. The 250-seat TECO Theater is used exclusively by the education programs for professionally produced, student performed productions. Consequently, there is a need to keep the technical equipment as current as possible.
In upgrading the lighting system, there was also a desire for the benefits of flexibility, ease of rigging, low energy and low maintenance that high quality LED fixtures could bring. Specific requirements included LED replacements for the theaters’ Par fixtures and for its heavy, outdated cyc lights.
Joshua Young, Technical Manager for the TECO Theater, already had a new cyc light product in mind. He says, “Previously, we used large, heavy cyc light units. Each required four people to move it and three 2kW dimmers to operate. After renting some Philips SL Bar 640s for one of our lighting designers we were very impressed, so they became our first purchase. The biggest selling point was their versatility and the features that allowed us to create visual effects on our cyc which we had never been able to accomplish before. Another great benefit is that one person can move them!”
After evaluating various LED Par options, Young chose 16 Philips Showline SL Punchlite 220 fixtures. He says, “These 16 fixtures replace 48 575W Pars previously being used for top light. The SL Punchlites rose to the top right away with their ability to zoom and to produce multiple color patterns from the same fixture. Also, their perfectly uniform output, with no hot spots, is what our designers see in their heads and it helps to achieve seamless blending with adjacent lights.”
Commenting on the time and labor savings, Young says, “The addition of Philips Entertainment Lighting LED lighting systems allows us to move from one show to the next much more quickly, and with far less labor required, as the color changing fixtures like the Punchlight 220s allow us to significantly reduce our instrument count.”
The response to the new lighting rig has been very positive, says Young, “The audience response to our lighting upgrades has been tremendous. I often get compliments on the new, more professional look our shows have taken on. Our lighting designers and crew all say the new lighting fixtures have made light hangs and show design easier and have provided us with so many more design options than before with no limits on how much color can be used in a show.”