2015: A Busy Year of Show Tracking
31st December 2015

Tree of Codes

2015 proved another busy year for FocusTrack, which helped its users precisely document their show lighting to allow shows to be maintained over their long runs, transferred to new theatres or even new countries, toured, or re-created in festival appearances around the world.

In January, the hit New York musical Beautiful: The Carole King Story created a new production in London. Lighting designer Peter Kaczorowski and his associate John Viesta worked re-created their lighting using the precise documentation of the New York production they’d created using FocusTrack. This proved invaluable particularly when changes to the rig were made, Martin Mac Vipers replacing the older Mac2000s used in the US. An updated version of the FocusTrack was then created to leave the London show crew with clear, precise documentation to allow them to maintain the rig. That paperwork would go on to form the basis of the US tour of the show, which opened later in the year.

The middle of the year saw FocusTrack documenting a brand new London show, Bend It Like Beckham, based on the film of the same name. The show lighting, designed by Neil Austin, used a wide range of moving light fixtures, working them hard throughout the show to transform Miriam Buether’s set. FocusTrack quickly and precisely documented the show lighting, once again blowing it to be precisely maintained throughout the show’s run at London’s Phoenix Theatre.

The summer saw the return of the biennial Manchester International Festival. A highlight of the festival was the new dance show Tree of Codes, directed and choreographed by Wayne McGregor with music by Jamie XX, visual concept by Olafur Eliasson, with lighting realisation by Rob Halliday, the creator of FocusTrack. Unsurprisingly, Halliday chose to use FocusTrack to document the show’s lighting, to assist with its re-creation at venues over the following two years, starting at New York’s Park Avenue Armory in the autumn.

The autumn also saw the start of a new theatrical venture in London: a year-long season of plays mounted by the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company at the Garrick Theatre, beginning with a rep season of The Winter’s Tale, starring Branagh along with Dame Judi Dench, and a double bill of two Rattigan plays, Harlequinade and All On Her Own, starring Branagh with ZoŽ Wanamaker. FocusTrack quickly documented the lighting for both shows, and subsequently also the lighting for the next show in the season, Red Velvet, lit by Oliver Fenwick.

The end of the year saw FocusTrack being used in the planning phase of the first British tour of the hit musical Billy Elliot, lit by Rick Fisher, FocusTrack providing detailed information from previous productions in the US and Holland, allowing the rig to be rationalised into touring form. The tour will open at Plymouth’s Theatre Royal in February 2016.

Further details of the many shows FocusTrack has allowed its users to quickly and precisely document over its ten year history can be found here.


Picture: Tree of Codes, photo by Ravi Depress