To cater for top-notch theatre productions Priscilla Queen of the Desert (South Africa and Hong Kong Season), The Sound of Music (Asian tour 2017/18) and Evita (South African and Asian Tour 2017/18), South African based Gearhouse Splitbeam, a theatre equipment rental company, has invested in 90 additional Prolyft motors and six controllers supplied by DWR Distribution. Alistair Kilbee, Managing Director of Splitbeam elaborates on his experience with the brand and why he went this route.

“I have always liked the Prolyft brand and this purchase made sense as we already had a stock holding of 57 Prolyft motors (1 Ton and ¼ Ton). The new acquisition, consisting of 85 Prolyte Prolyft Aetos 1 Ton and 5 Prolyte Prolyft Aetos 2 Ton, all in cases, along with 6 Aetos Pro range low voltage 8-way control, fits in nicely with our current stock holding to give us a total of 147 motors within Splitbeam. 

While the rest of the Gearhouse Group use CM, I felt that it was best to stay with a brand that I know and trust…..We now stock 2 ton, 1 ton and ¼ ton motors. There was also the consideration that the Prolyft are easy to upgrade to double brake for the future-proofing of the purchase. There is the noise factor that very few “non-theatre” people worry about, but which in our market, is a critical consideration. The new Prolyft motors are so quiet, it is hardly noticeable that something is moving unless you see it happening.

Theatre shows over the last few years have been getting bigger and heavier and the motor counts have been increasing every year. Our largest show to date was War Horse with 70 motors, which for a 'play' is extraordinary. There are now theatre tours that have well over 120 motors each; so to stay competitive in the theatre rigging market we had to increase our stock. 

Supplying rigging for tours to other countries is not easy but as Splitbeam has had a lot of experience with working on Asian tours, we are perfectly placed to deal with the changes in law and have an in-depth knowledge of what is required to rig in these markets. We have even supplied motors to Australia (which is very hard to do) where the safety laws were much more stringent than in other parts of Asia and the style of rigging was also different, but in the end, you all find a common ground and things get done. 

Splitbeam is committed to helping grow the South African Theatre industry and if we can supply equipment at a price that makes sense for our producers, all the better for us and the industry as a whole. The more the South African shows make financial sense, the more the producers will do them and as a result there will be more work for our local Cast, Crew and more work for the equipment.”

 Story and photos reprinted courtesy DWR Distribution

Nov 30, 2017

The Gearhouse Group of Companies