S+H Technical Support provided substantial quantities of its LED starcloth product to production designer Sid Scott of Scott Callaghan Art Production for the 2017 National Eisteddfod of Wales.
The 9-day event was staged in a large field near Bodedern on Ynys Môn (the Isle of Anglesey), around 8 miles from Caergybi (Holyhead) and approximately 20 miles from Bangor on mainland Wales.
The main entertainment hub on site was the Pafiliwn, a 40 metre deep 1800 capacity pavilion built by Neptunus Structures, which was new in 2016, and once again utilized throughout the Eisteddfod for a diverse mix of entertainment, from a Sunday service to rock concerts, stand-up comedy, etc. in the evenings as well as a variety of competitions – dance, poetry, music, etc. – during the daytime.
Sid created the Pafiliwn production design in close collaboration with lighting director Nigel Catmur, Eisteddfod producer Medwyn Parri and Huw Aled Jones, the Eisteddfod’s head of technical operations.
Their objective was to create an immersive theatrical environment in the venue that would help engage the audience and take them on a journey for each performance, transforming the white box-style marquee into an exciting and invigorating live experience.
Having used the Neptunus structure for the first time last year, the team wanted to make several enhancements to the presentation space this year.
The LED starcloth wrap ran 120 metres down both sides of the structure and behind the audience, and also around two sets of 15 metre wide stage wings – stage left and stage right. S+H also provided drapes for a blacked-out backstage area on both sides.
The ‘wrap’ elements were all “painstakingly” rigged from the structure by S+H’s crew explained Sid, using a combination of tensioned drift wires and slug-slider fittings for attachment by the crew who utilized 7 metre high scissor platforms. The results were spectacular in terms of changing the look, feel and ambience of the space.
Further runs of starcloth were rigged behind a series of LED screens and columns which Nigel integrated into the visual design for this year, and these were rigged from an ELP ground support rig that provided lighting and video positions around and above the stage.
The DMX-controlled starcloths were all controlled via Nigel’s Roadhog 4 lighting console.
Sid has been involved with the Eisteddfod for several years, however this was the second time he designed the main Pafiliwn venue, building on the success of the new fresh look created in 2016.
Additionally this year, Sid designed the Literature & Poetry Pafiliwn (Pabell Len). S&H also draped this out with blacks to create a theatre / studio space, with Sid’s set at the one end. He also designed the Welsh Learner’s Marquee – the Maes D.
He’s used S+H for a number of years on different shows like the LE series ‘Noson Lawen’ on S4C plus kid’s TV and chat shows.
He comments, “Terry and the S+H team have always been 100% committed from the start of any enquiry,right through the delivery and installation to the de-rig process, giving full support and back-up when required. It is always a pleasure to work with them”.
The biggest challenges of the event include working in a boggy field and contending with the erratic weather, which usually includes some rainy days!
Although temporary heavy-duty trackway was laid throughout the site, it was no guarantee to not getting stuck in the exceptionally thick and adhesive quality of Welsh mud present!
Working inside the venue itself was relatively straightforward, and although finding suitable fixing points for the drapes that didn’t affect the structure required some lateral thinking, this was soon solved liaising closely with the Neptunus crew.
Sid and his scenic team also worked closely with Tony Thomas, construction manager for the Eisteddfod, Kevin Richmond of GET SET Scenery & Sion Tomos of CAINC construction and their crews, all of whom assisted in building & producing scenery for this Eisteddfod.
Says S+H’s Terry Murtha, “It was fantastic working with Sid again on this, and we were very proud to be part of another successful Eisteddfod; an event which continues to raise its production values and provide great entertainment that is widely enjoyed”.
Photo: Sid Scott