Robert Juliat followspots installed at The Lowry

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A pair of Robert Juliat Arthur 800W LED followspots has been installed by Stage Electrics at The Lowry in Salford, Manchester, UK.

The Arthur 5°-15° followspots were supplied to Stage Electrics by Ambersphere Solutions, Robert Juliat’s exclusive UK distributor.

The 1,700+ seat Lowry is an important theatre for the Northwest of England and runs a varied programme of plays, musical theatre, ballet, opera, stand-up comedy, and rock and roll gigs, and has also hosted ITV television’s Britain’s Got Talent and The Royal Variety Performance.

The RJ Arthur followspots were selected for their output, which Robert Juliat said is capable of matching the lumen output of an HMI 2500W Aramis followspot at similar angles.

“The Lowry has been operating with RJ Aramis followspots since we opened in April 2000,” said Dave Wimpenny, one of the technical managers at The Lowry. “One of them finally gave up the ghost in late 2021 so we took the decision to upgrade to two new spots after 22 years! We looked for LED alternatives to the Aramis and the Arthur looked very good on paper. I spoke to Jayney Bell (technical sales consultant at Stage Electrics) who assured me that these would be the best option and managed to bring them in within our budget.”

Mark Eastwood using one of the new RJ Arthur followspots on The Lowry’s production of Les Miserables. Image courtesy of The Lowry

The RJ Arthur units were installed in The Lowry’s front-of-house followspot box, which is 15m (49.2ft) above the auditorium floor with a throw distance of 28m (91.9ft) at 37° from the edge of the stage. Their first mission was on a run of Les Miserables in April 2022. “They proved themselves to be good units which were plenty bright enough,” said Wimpenny. “Mark Eastwood, one of our experienced operators, reported using them for the song Bring Him Home at around just 25-30%!”

Now the technicians have had a chance to use the new Arthur spots, what do they think of their performance? “They are of a very high spec and have a similar punch and colour temperature to the Aramis,” said Wimpenny. “I compared the two Arthurs and one remaining Aramis together and the difference is very slight. The spot ops found them comfortable and easy to use. I like the placement and smoothness of the dimmer and it’s right next to where your hand sits while operating.”

If past experience is anything to go by, the Arthur followspots are looking forward to a long career at The Lowry: “Our remaining, original RJ Aramis followspot is still in service as a backup or a third spot if needed,” said Wimpenny.

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Izzy became editor of Auditoria magazine in 2018, having previously served as assistant editor on the title earlier in her career. She is also the editor of Business Jet Interiors International, Railway Interiors International and new launch Cruise Liner Interiors International. Over the course of a decade as a business-to-business magazine editor, Izzy has covered everything from airline catering to car safety technologies, autonomous vehicles and business aviation airports. Outside of work, Izzy loves watercolour painting, live music and travel.

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