Hi all

miriam

Active Member
Well, I guess I'm new.
I've been involved in tech theater for awhile now, but mainly as the-sole person-interested-in-backstage-work-with-no-budget-to-speak-of-and-no-equipment type of environment. Also, I live in Israel, in a religious community, so the shows I have worked are women-only affairs. The sound, light, and video professionals can be men if no women are available with the necesary expertise.
That's where I come in. I was the female who knew the show who explained the tech requirements to the technicians. Usually during the actual show, trying to whisper through headsets and not disturb, because of course the time set aside for tech rehearsal got eaten away by so many other things and the audience was waiting outside for an hour now.
So it has been fun. I've done actual lighting a little bit, and lots of stage managing (I call it stage-manager-wannabe-technical-director). I usually find other people who can do the sewing and painting.
Right now I am in a course to learn sound, and after that is done I want to learn how to light up dances and concerts to make them out of this world. I can do indoor/outdoor pretty easily, but beyond that is beyond me.
After that, we'll see. To work in an ACTUAL theater, with UPDATED equipment, well that is not my world. When I read the posts here about equipment I usually have no idea what you are talking about.
But my dream is the Cirque du Soleil.
Miriam

gafftaper

Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
Welcome Miriam, Feel free to ask any questions! We love to encourage young people with dreams. Many of us spent our formative years working in similar no budget sorts of productions so we completely understand the environment you are working in now. If you don't understand what a piece of equipment that it being discussed just ask. Use the search function, there is a lot of old information here that is very educational... pick a topic and start reading in the archives. Ask questions. We will answer. The control booth is a wonderful community of professionals at the top of the industry, people who work for manufacturers, people who work in community theater, educators, college students pursuing their degrees, high school students, people who know it all, and people with no experience at all.

Last edited:

Van

CBMod
CB Mods
And what a beautiful dream it is ! We'll help you as much as we can. There are a lot of folks with a lot of knowledge, and a lot of sound folks, with a lot of knowledge. < had to edit that, didn't read quite right the first time I typed it>
Anyway, Welcome aboard and ask away !

Logos

Well-Known Member
Shalom from Australia. Ask any question you want and we will no doubt give you both the real answer and a silly one. Ignore the silly one. Unless you don't want to. We look forward to your involvement.

gafftaper

Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
here are a lot of folks with a lot of knowledge, and a lot of sound folks, with a lot of knowledge.
The sound folks have knowledge? Who gave it to them and how long have they had it?

Hey Miriam, I don't think I was very clear about this before. If you are reading a thread and you want to understand it better, feel free to jump right in and ask. Don't be afraid of asking a dumb question or a question that is too basic... we won't bite (well Hughesie bites, but only if you dislike the metric system).

Last edited:

Van

CBMod
CB Mods
The sound folks have knowledge? Who gave it to them and how long have they had it? ...........quote]

Well you see the first time I wrote that sentence it read, "We have a lot of people with a lot of knowledge here, and a lot of sound people." I did get a giggle out of it, but thought I might make some folks angry, you know how I hate to ruffle feathers.

icewolf08

CBMod
CB Mods
Shalom Miriam. It's nice to have a new country represented, I don't think we have any Israeli's besides you. I am hoping to find my way back to Israel this summer, but who knows.

Dreaming big is not a bad thing, it is probably how most of us got to where we are now. If Cirque is your dream, then go for it, and keep us posted when you get there!

This is a great place to come when you feel lost or overwhelmed. We love to help, and we can be as simple and straight forward as you need. No question you can ask is too simplistic. My Hebrew is limited, but I certainly can help if you need (though you probably are more fluent than I).

After that I think it has all been said. Welcome aboard!

avkid

Not a New User
Fight Leukemia
The sound folks have knowledge? Who gave it to them and how long have they had it?
We stole it whilst you were busy making flashy effects and generally wasting time.

Hughesie

Well-Known Member
But my dream is the Cirque du Soleil.
same, it's a great dream to have, but with hard work we can get there

it's always interesting to go on the cirque website and look at the job listings, last i checked they were looking for a head of sound, but i just checked the position was filled, i think there are a couple of people around the booth who work for cirque, might be worth hitting them up with a question about what it is like working for cirque and how they got in, everyone here is great and very helpful.

miriam

Active Member
What a friendly place this is! I must say I feel very welcomed.

I saw Cirque twice when they came. I basically ignored the ring, just looked up into the top of the tent and drooled. And applauded when I saw anyone in black moving around up there. A tech really cannot be afraid of heights. They probably hire lots of local crew, correct? I imagine just the top techs get flown all over. So if I drop everything, go pitch a tent right near them, and ask to bring them their coffee, they'll say welcome aboard.

Yeah, me and all the other groupies.

Anyways, hi. And its great to meet everyone!

miriam

Active Member
In a masssive tent full of people and instruments, how would a person go about figuring the best way to position the sound equipment? And where would the operators be? And if there's a problem anywhere, how do you figure out where the problem is? My goodness. And whoever has the top job (all of the top jobs) better have so much patience under pressure. Too bad they don't give classes in that.

gafftaper

Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
One of the tricks to the cirque magic... besides an outrageous budget and some of the most talented people in the business... is that it's the same everywhere they go. You are looking at and thinking "how on earth would I do this for one show". They do the same show night after night all over the world. Same tent. Same sound positions. Same size audience. It's all designed to work exactly the same no matter where they are in the world. Every time they set that tent up everything goes right back to the same spot it was designed to go. In many ways it's probably much easier for Cirque than it is for a large traveling musical theater or concert production. The musical/concert goes into a different theater with completely different lighting and sound positions every week (sometimes every night). They have to make their show fit whatever the space is.

OH DEREK...
Derek works in a large Las Vegas theater where every week a different top act comes through... Boxing Match, Musician, Magician, Theatrical performance, Motorocycle race... they all come through a different show every week. Hey Derek would you mind commenting on the trials of being a major tour but having to make your show fit into a variety of venues?

Oh and Miram. It might be difficult for you to get these magazines delivered, but there are several trade magazines you can read on-line. In them you'll find lots of interesting articles about designers and amazing shows. Along with articles about new technologies and products.
Check out Live Design... on the right side of the screen click on select an issue and there are about 2 years of magazines available to read.
Stage Directions is another great magazine you can read on line. The current magazine is on the right side and there are archives at the bottom. FOH is a sound magazine with archives at the bottom. PLSN is the sister magazine for Projection, Lighting, and staging... also has one of the best tech theater bookstores around the PLSN Bookshelf. Lighting and Sound America is another great magazine but they don't let you read it for free on line.
That should keep you busy dreaming for a month or two.

Last edited:

Hughesie

Well-Known Member
i went and saw varekai, when it was here

and the sound and light op's were in the back of the tent in the centre (so they had the best view) but it depends on the show and stage setup, i know for delrium most of it is computer controlled, and they had 3 truss spot operators (highly talented, you will understand if you see the show) and they were seriously just dangling there just by safety lines

also you need to keep your eyes open, this was recently posted on the ALIA website

Cirque du Solei Technical positions: recruiters in Australia
You don’t have to be an acrobat to work for Cirque du Soleil. In fact, Cirque du Soleil has over 2,500 employees who provide support for our shows 365 days a year. Our recruiters will be Down Under next month to hire new technical talent for our existing touring shows and our upcoming projects in Asia.
They are on the lookout for a variety of technical/staging staff, particularly in the following areas:
Automation: Manage all automation- and motorization-related equipment during shows, as well as concerned personnel.
Rigging: Manage use and maintenance of rigging equipment employed by artists during performances, rehearsals and training periods.
Lighting: Manage and supervise all lighting department operations and lighting personnel while preserving the artistic integrity of lighting design.
Special effects: Supervise the proper storage, operation, maintenance and disposal of gas and pyrotechnic effects as required by the ATF and in accordance with local codes and regulations, as well as preserve the ongoing, long-term artistic integrity of the effects during performances and for rehearsals in keeping with the original intent of the Special Effects Designer.
Fluid effects: Responsible for all air, water, and hydraulic special effects and power systems, while preserving the artistic integrity of the fluid effects design.
Sound: Manage all aspects of sound related to the show, including the maintenance and update of the show sound records, maintenance log, system updates and sound archives.
Carpentry: Manage all aspects of staging and set operations during shows as well as supervise backstage area and equipment and train the set crew.
Aquatic: Responsible for all pool surface and underwater safety in this unusual working environment and in charge of the continual development of aquatic systems.
Wardrobe: Supervise and take part in daily maintenance of wigs, hats, costumes, shoes, etc., respond to requests from designers, and artistic and technical coordinators and supervise the wardrobe team.
Props: Manage and supervise all operations of the props department, research the possibility of acquiring new props for performers, and ensure that technical staff adhere to standards and regulations pertaining to the safety of props and employees.
Production Management: Manage show planning (analyze artistic, production and operational needs) and the various production teams to ensure concepts are adhered to, in accordance with company expectations, from the development stage until the stabilization of work.
Join Cirque, travel the world and become involved in our shows and their every day technical challenges. Send us your profile to receive an invitation to a unique recruiting event in May 2007.
We look forward to seeing you backstage!
Visit www.cirquedusoleil.com for up to date information
(Posted March 13th 2007)

http://www.alia.com.au/

the point is, cirque and other companies are looking for crew, there is a huge shortage of QUALIFIED tech's out there

Last edited:

derekleffew

Resident Curmudgeon
Senior Team
i...i know for delrium most of it is computer controlled, and they had 3 truss spot operators (highly talented, you will understand if you see the show) and they were seriously just dangling there just by safety lines...
Actually, DELIRIUM, at least the US Tour, used four truss spot operators, and they were the local house personnel in each venue. They worked a partial rehearsal in the afternoon and then ran the show that night, only having seen (most of) the show once. Rarely does a show bring its own spotlight operators. Economics and union rules generally prohibit it.

As far as adapting a show to each unique venue, a show is designed to fit into all of the arenas it's booked. Almost every arena has at least a 65' ceiling, and a flat floor of at least 100' x 200'. Many acts have discovered the benefits of carrying their own stage, so that trusses can be flown and lights hung while the stage is being built at the other end. By 3pm the stage is rolled into place Since all lighting relative to the stage is in almost exactly the same place, even very little touch-up focus is required. The location of the speaker hangs is generally consistent also, but the vertical angles may change, as some arenas have seating higher than others. And of courser each room is different acoustically, but in this day of "steerable" line arrays and digital consoles, "tweaking" the sound system to fit the room is relative simple. In the afternoon, before the act's sound check, the soundpersons walk around the room to each seating location with a wireless PC and adjust the sound as required, EQ, delay, etc.

The only real unknown is the locations of the front followspots, as each arena has them in a slightly different space, at a different distance and angle. On their latest tours, Billy Joel and Justin Timberlake didn't use any house followspots at all, they brought their own, (but used House Operators) so even the followspot locations were consistent.

Touring a legit theatre show is much more difficult, as no two theatres are alike. The FOH lighting positions are going to be radically different from one theatre to the next. One theatre may have it fly system battens on 6" centers, while another has 8" centers. One theatre may have lots of storage offstage right, but none SL, and at the next theatre is just the opposite. Touring theatre people may marvel at what I do (a small show is 5 or 6 semi-trucks); I marvel at what they do. The grass is always greener, or this this case, the grass seems so much harder...

gafftaper

gafftaper

Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
Thanks Derek. My point being that Cirque has it easy because everything is designed into that tent from the start. Going over to the sound thread, you know all those things that you were asked about in order to determine the acoustics of the space? I'm sure Cirque start out with a computer model of exactly what the space will look like, sound like, where the lighting positions and rigging points have to be for the people to fly through the air... then they have the tent custom built to their computer model's specifications.

Hughesie

Well-Known Member
ooops bad grammer, varekai had 3 truss spots, i don't know about the other one, sorry my mind was a mess when i was typing that

miriam

Active Member
Wow, how awesome to have a space built exacly for the requirements! And how totally, completely expensive. I wonder what they do with the old tents each time. Sell them on ebay for 5 million dollars to pay for the next tent, most likely.

So first comes the show, then the lights, sound, rigs, props, etc, THEN comes the venue. And a travelling venue no less. I will definitely keep my eyes and ears open for when they are coming.

And if they did not have a tent like that, but were a travelling show, then the sound, lights, and scenery would have to be tweaked for every stop along the way. And whose job is that- the show or the venue?

I must say, we live in a fascinating world. And some people don't even know about this part of the world. Too bad for them.

derekleffew

Resident Curmudgeon
Senior Team
...
And if they did not have a tent like that, but were a travelling show, then the sound, lights, and scenery would have to be tweaked for every stop along the way. And whose job is that- the show or the venue?...
The Cirque du Soleil show, DELIRIUM, was designed to play arenas, not in Cirque's tent. See my post above regarding arena shows. Again, only some aspects of the sound needed to be tweaked due to relationship changes between the speaker hanging positions and the audience seating. This is the responsibility of the production, not the venue. Venue personnel don't know what the show is supposed to sound like.

Cirque has just opened a show in New York at the Madison Square Garden Theatre called Wintuk. In this case, it was designed as a touring theatre show, and they have to deal with all of the problems of touring that any Broadway or West End show has.

In addition to their travelling "tent" shows, CDS has a number of "resident" shows, in theatres built to their specifications. La Nouba, at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL, where the venue is built to resemble a tent but isn't designed to be moved. For Mystere, O, Zumanity, KA, and Love, in Las Vegas, CDS, together with the building's owners, spent between $30-$100 million US just to build/remodel the building, before production costs.

It used to be possible to open a Las Vegas show for $5-10 million. Now that audiences expect the venue to match the show, one needs to add at least$20 million for venue remodel before production costs.

And Cirque's tents/audience seating/infrastructure DO do get re-used for new shows, depending on the budget and design of the new show. But they also sell them. The tent used for Nouvelle Experience, Las Vegas' first CDS show at the Mirage in 1992, became a theatre of some sort in Myrtle Beach, SC. Don't know if it's still there or not, after all the hurricanes in the past 15 years.

Last edited:

gafftaper

Senior Team
Senior Team
Fight Leukemia
Fascinating Derek. I had never thought about the resale value on a used Cirque tent.

"So come on down to Bob's Used Circus Tent World! No credit No problem. We are CRAZY to make you a deal!"

Senior Team