IT was centre-stage for Coventry-based LED lighting manufacturer Maxilux at the BAFTAs.
The firm played a starring part in Royal Shakespeare Company’s BAFTA-nominated show Shakespeare Live! From the RSC, which was nominated in the Best Live Event category, which was won by ITV’s The Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebrations.
Broadcast on BBC2 in April 2016 to mark the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death, Shakespeare Live! celebrated the playwright’s legacy and his enduring influence on all performance art forms from opera to jazz, dance to musicals.
The star-studded evening, hosted by David Tennant and Catherine Tate, featured Benedict Cumberbatch, Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Helen Mirren, Meera Syal, David Suchet, Rufus Wainwright, Tim Minchin, Gregory Porter, Joseph Fiennes, English National Opera, and The Royal Ballet, among others.
In the audience was RSC president Prince Charles, who even took to the stage briefly to demonstrate how Hamlet’s ‘To be, or not to be’ should be delivered.
Maxilux managing director, Richard Cockayne, said: “Shakespeare Live! From the RSC was the largest, most challenging brief we’ve been given by the RSC to date.
“We worked with the RSC’s lighting department for over three months, planning and developing prototypes before installing high performance strips of embedded stage floor lighting, just one detail of the show’s enormous and complex design vision. A one-off, live production, there was absolutely no margin for error. Durability and reliability over the two-hour performance were key.
“We are privileged to be working alongside some of the best lighting professionals in the world and working with experts in the RSC’s lighting department is hugely rewarding.”
RSC’s Head of lighting, Vince Herbert, said Maxilux had been a regular feature of productions in recent years.
He added: “It’s actually hard to think of any production in the past few years in which we haven’t used even the smallest Maxilux component to meet a production requirement or solve a lighting issue.”
Last year’s ground-breaking, high-tech production of The Tempest featured highly complex Maxilux LED lighting; so too, the RSC’s recent production of Hamlet set in West Africa.
The current production of Julius Caesar also includes dramatically sweeping strips of LED tape, each embedded with 1,630 bulbs, allowing a lighting technician to operate floor to ceiling columns of intense coloured lights via a touch-screen computer programme.
Maxilux also created a coloured lighting installation for The RSC’s permanent exhibition, The Play’s the Thing, which opened at its Swan Theatre last autumn and celebrates 100 years of theatre-making in Stratford.