Heading East... by Rob Halliday

With Storyhouse successfully open and its first three shows up and running, Rob has now headed east, to Tokyo, for the new Japanese production of Billy Elliot.

Rob is the Associate Lighting Designer and Lighting Programmer for the show, working alongside Lighting Designer Rick Fisher. Rob has previously served the same role on Billy’s last US tour, the Dutch production, and the current UK tour which is about to set off to Germany to play a season in Hamburg. He also adapted the original production from Strand to ETC lighting control during its long run in London.

Produced by HoriPro, Billy Elliot opens at the Akasaka ACT Theatre in Tokyo in late July and plays there until the autumn before transferring to Osaka. 

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Show Three at Storyhouse by Rob Halliday

Rob returns this week to Storyhouse in Chester, to light the third show of the opening season - A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The show is directed by Storyhouse’s Artistic Director, Alex Clifton, and designed by Jess Curtis, continuing the collaboration from the theatre’s opening show, The Beggar’s Opera; that show continues as part of what will soon be a four show rep season.

Rob also lit the second show in the season, Alice in Wonderland, and is delighted to be part of the hugely successful opening of this exciting new theatre.

[Storyhouse]

Speaking At Showlight by Rob Halliday

Rob will be speaking at Showlight, the quadrennial international event for those fascinated by lighting to get together with others fascinated by lighting to talk about... lighting!

Rob’s talk is entitled ‘Warm Velvety Darkness to Spinning Dichroic Discs’, and is a reflection on the process of creating the dance show Tree of Codes, working alongside the visual artist Olafur Eliasson and director/choreaographer Wayne McGregor.

Rob is just one of a list of remarkable speakers covering an enormous range of subjects: more details of the talks can be found here.

Rob last spoke at Showlight in 2009; highlights of that talk can be found here.

Tickets are still available for this year’s Showlight, which takes place in Florence, Italy, from May 20-23rd, and looks set to continue Showlight’s reputation for providing a fantastic, convivial few days of socialising, learning, eating, drinking, and generally having a good time.

[Showlight]

Writing, March-April 2017 by Rob Halliday

Recently published articles by Rob include:

Four pieces in LSi:

  • A look at the lighting upgrades to An Inspector Calls to mark its 25th anniversary, including a great deal of fascinating insight from lighting designer Rick Fisher
  • A visit to the LED by Theatre event, which saw lighting manufacturer Robe supporting a student production at the Guildford School of Acting as a way of showing how their LED fixtures can be put to use lighting theatre shows
  • Classic Gear, this month covering the seemingly mundane but nonetheless crucial product that is the Hook Clamp.
  • Tools from Beyond, looking at a website that makes sure you're paying as little as possible when fuelling your car.

Plus a column in The Stage, remembering Ken Bennett-Hunter, who passed away at the end of March, and from that commenting that we really should work to record the memories of those who helped establish and then shape our industry, before it's too late.

Presenting: Storyhouse by Rob Halliday

Rob is delighted to have been chosen to light much of the opening rep season of shows at the new Storyhouse theatre in Chester.

Storyhouse is a conversion of the abandoned 1930s Odeon cinema by architects Bennetts Associates, incorporating a theatre, a studio theatre, a cinema, and a library together with wonderful foyers spaces in what was the original cinema auditorium. The main theatre has a very particular trick: for most of the year it will operate as a proscenium arch theatre facing three levels of seating, perfect for receiving incoming tours. But for Storyhouse's own shows, it converts to a wonderfully intimate thrust stage, of the kind familiar to anyone who has visited the summer seasons of outdoor theatre at Chester’s Grovesnor Park Open Air Theatre over the last few years. The team behind Grovesnor Park are now running Storyhouse, and in fact three of the shows that open indoors at Storyhouse will later transfer outdoors to the park over the summer.

Rob has been involved with Storyhouse for the last three years, helping to oversee the technical planning for the theatre alongside theatre consultants Charcoalblue, and identifying the range of lighting fixtures and control systems needed to best deal with the theatre’s dual nature, before working with the theatre’s technical team to create the final shopping list of lighting equipment for the venue. As he says, “that probably then makes me the perfect choice to light the opening season of shows, since on the one hand I have a deep hypothetical knowledge of the theatre from years of staring at drawings of it, and on the other if I'm not happy with the equipment stock the theatre has the only person I can complain to is me!”

In the opening season, Rob will light The Beggar’s Opera and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, both directed by Storyhouse’s Artistic Director, Alex Clifton, and Alice In Wonderland, directed by Derek Bond. All three productions are designed by Jess Curtis.

The opening performance, of Beggar’s Opera, takes place on Thursday 11th May; it then plays in rep with the other shows and the season's fourth production, Julius Caesar

[Storyhouse]

Les Misérables in Batley by Rob Halliday

Rob, together with his wife Mary Halliday (props supervisor on shows including An American in Paris and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child), spent the weekend in Batley, near Leeds, running workshops on lighting, props and life backstage as part of the audition and interview day for the creation of the Batley & Spen Youth Theatre and their first production, the Les Miserables School Edition.

The production is being staged to commemorate the life of local MP Jo Cox, the area’s local MP until her tragic death; Les Miserables was her favourite musical. 

The day saw local young people interested in working backstage on the show learning about light, lighting and its power to shape performance from Rob, including an interactive session experimenting with hand-held lights and colour to see this in action live, and then learning about scenery, props and how in theatre even the most obvious things are often not quite what they actually seem from Mary. A sugar-glass bottle gave a dramatic example of this...

“I grew up in a youth theatre, and went on to spend number of years working on production of Les Mis around the world,” comments Rob. “This weekend was a perfect combination of those two worlds, and it was great to be there with a  bunch of people interested, excited and hugely enthusiastic about spending their summer creating a show.”

The Batley & Spen Youth Theatre’s production of Les Miserables will run during August 2017.

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