Madame Zingara’s unique South African travelling theatrical experience is reinventing itself in bigger, better and more opulent surroundings than ever before. The installation of the custom built, triple story speigelpaleis, known as the “Queen of Flanders” on Cape Town’s Grand Parade offers the creative energies of the Madame Zingara team even more scope to dazzle and astound their audiences. “The Celebration” is the culmination of 15 years of the dinner cirque’s fantastical journey and looks set to live up to every bit of hype around it.

Taking the Madame Zingara experience to new heights has meant enhancing the technological theatrics of the production as well and who better to do that than theatre rental specialist Gearhouse Splitbeam. Madame Zingara’s Richard Griffin brought Splitbeam and well-known lighting designer, Mannie Manim, together with the Zingara team to add the requisite zing to the production…and then some!

Splitbeam, part of the Gearhouse Group of companies, provides equipment-rental packages specifically priced for longer term hire on theatrical productions and is, as a result, the perfect fit to supply both Lighting and Audio for this production.

With the dual objectives of raising the roof on the sensory experience whilst keeping the technical elements themselves inconspicuous, the choice of equipment was carefully considered. Splitbeam supplied a compact PA system comprising of 12 Meyer Sound M1D loudspeakers along with Meyer Sound UPM’s, UPJ’s and UP Juniors to create even coverage with professional audio quality. Making use of a combination of Sennheiser radio mic systems, DPA d:fine 66 Headset microphones and a Pioneer Nexus DJ system guaranteed quality sound in keeping with Madame Zingara’s style. Splitbeam is using a Midas Pro1 Mixing console to control the system.

The stage design with audience “in the round”, with performers working both on the stage and above it, presented the challenge of lighting the performers for maximum effect without blinding the audience or performers. The lighting was rigged as high as possible over the stage in sections to help meet this requirement and the use of profile fixtures with variable beam size like the VL 2500 spots and the Robe Pointes further overcame this challenge in a clever design supported by VL2500 wash and Robe 600.

Manim requested Martin MH4 beam lights and Rush LED Zoom pars as under-stage uplighters. Both were essential to the feel required and the Splitbeam team purchased the fixtures specifically to fill these requirements. The lighting was programmed on a MA2 Lite by Glen Duncan and JP Willson and the show is run by a MA on PC with command wing.

Moving a technical installation into a brand new venue meant that the technical team were discovering the space they would be working in… as it was built. “The process involved many different elements coming together at the same time with a certain degree of fluidity. We needed mutual co-operation and a ‘big picture’ approach to the delivery” says Helen Surgeson, Splitbeam’s Key Account Manager. “We have worked closely with the Madame Zingara team and our Cape Town - based lighting distributor to bring everything together. It has been a magical journey and the results are simply breathtaking.”

The Celebration opened in Cape Town on the 7th of July 2015 on the Grand Parade. Cape Town audiences are experiencing a thrilling sensory experience to top anything they have seen from the Madame before. The production opens at Montecasino in Johannesburg on 4 November, in time for the festive season. All booking is via 0861623263. Age restriction 16+ 

Story Robyn D’Alessandro, Photo Anton de Beer

Aug 24, 2015

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