- by Jacob Coakley
Stage Technologies created a 50-axis automation and control system for the West End production of The Bodyguard. The new musical is based on the 1992 film of the same name, but instead of Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner, the star of the stage version is the stage. Tim Hatley designed a “filmic” set which “glides” from one scene to the next using a camera-like shutter. Automation is present in almost every scene in the show, so after Production Manager Matt Towell contracted Stage Technologies they built a system that used 25 BigTow counterweight assist winches, 10 AU:tour control racks, three hydraulic scissor lifts, a projector truss, a rotating truck, a performer flying truss and much more.
Stage Technologies automates cinematic new West End musical The BodyGuard
The Stage Technologies UK rentals team was contracted by Production Manager Matt Towell to provide a 50-axis automation and control system for the new West End musical The BodyGuard. The system comprised equipment for performer flying and movement of scenic pieces including a rotating cabin and a huge mansion wall, and hydraulic scissor lifts by sister company Delstar Engineering.
Based on Lawrence Kasdan’s 1992 film and directed by Thea Sharrock, the show opened in London’s Adelphi Theatre on 5 December 2012. In addition to the thriller storyline taken from the film, the show features dazzling musical scenes featuring songs from the Whitney Houston catalogue. Designer Tim Hatley references the show’s cinematic roots with a “filmic” set in which scenes glide from one to the next through the use of a huge camera-like shutter.
Automation is present in every scene in the show. The Stage Technologies system features 25 BigTow counterweight assist winches, 10 AU:tour control racks, three hydraulic scissor lifts, a projector truss, a rotating truck, a performer flying truss and much more. Matt Towell said: “It was important on The Bodyguard that the Automation control company worked very tightly with the engineering, and with Stage Technologies and Delstar we got a brilliant service from the conception stage all the way through construction, commissioning and programming. The seamless scene changes are a massive part of the production and have been executed brilliantly.”
Reviewers have taken note of the scenic elements, with Time Out London’s Andrzej Lukowski stating that “the undoubted star of Thea Sharrock's stylish production is the extraordinary set - a series of mobile panels which open and close like a giant, mobile camera shutter, blinking in and out, and panning cinematographically in every direction.”
For more information visit www.stagetech.com