Manchester-based dbn Lighting collaborated with producers Walk The Plank to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the landmark Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay, Wales.
Stephen Page of dbn was asked to design lighting for the spectacle, staged outside along the main concourse approach to the centre. Staged on Saturday 12 September, the show, Ar Waith Ar Daith, was a year in the planning and making and with over 600 participants, the largest outdoor theatre production in Wales to date.
The show attracted crowds exceeding 12,000 to witness old tales of Welsh history, myth, allegory and magic unfold via a series of promenade choreography, large format projections onto the side of the building, aerial stunts, lantern processions, choral singing, dance numbers and a pyrotechnic finale.
Walk The Plank’s Liz Pugh directed the show, with fellow co-founder John Wasell as Creative Producer. The work featured a specially composed soundtrack by BAFTA award winner composer John Rea.
“It was a fantastic project in which to be involved, energising all the ingenuity of the Walk The Plank team, and requiring a truly lateral approach to lighting.”
Page said: “I enjoyed the many challenges and being part of another great creative team delivering a show that was shared and appreciated by so many people.”
Ar Waith Ar Daith was designed to celebrate the rich cultural heritage of Wales and in doing so placed the Wales Millennium Centre as a focal point for a broad spectrum of creative inspiration. The 200 metre performance space stretched from the Millennium Centre right down to the waterfront in Cardiff Bay and features a series of large concrete pillars, which could not be touched, and also included the Welsh National Assembly and the Pierhead buildings at the further end of the site.
A row of SGM P-5 LED wash lights – one of Page’s favourite fixtures for this type of outdoor application - were used as ‘foot lights’ running the length of the site.
From a lighting perspective, having to light for television as well as the live audience required special attention to detail. A lot of the more subtle ‘live’ techniques had to be adapted to also work on TV, whist not losing any of their dramatic resonance … and as always Page and the dbn team rose to the occasion, producing some beautiful, vivid and theatrical results with resourceful lighting.
Working alongside Page from dbn were Nick Buckley who co-ordinated a lot of the prep work on site and operated lights for the show, plus Moss Everhard and Pete Isherwood. They were very ably assisted by Becky Heslop and Josh Kroon, students from the Royal Welsh College of Speech & Drama.
The dbn get-in commenced on the Tuesday ahead of Saturday’s show, described by Ken Skates, the Welsh Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism as: “The best show I have ever seen outdoors in Wales.”