Star of the Show

Star of the Show

Byline: Stephen Porter, Video Systems online editor

It’s no surprise that “We Will Rock You,” a musical inspired by the rock group Queen and written by award-winning British comedic laureate Ben Elton, would be a bizarre, over-the-top affair with wild costumes and an even wilder story line. But what video and technology professionals will appreciate is the prominent role played by LED displays.

The Lighthouse LVP1010C Quarter Bin LED screens employed in the musical, which opened in May at London’s Dominion Theatre in the West End, do more than provide a backdrop of colorful graphics and video. They are an intrinsic part of the stage action.

The stage features eight separate Lighthouse screens, each configured as 4×5 panels – 160 panels in all. Four of the screens are at floor level on individually powered, steerable trucks, and another four are flown in the air via an automated motion system. The motion system, devised and built by Brilliant Stages, allows lateral and vertical movement. At various times the flown screens pair off to left and right, then meet up with one another lower down and rest on top of the other four on stage.

“In some scenes the screens become a mobile backdrop,” says production manager Ted Irwin. “In others, they become windows through which people call to each other from screen to screen, and in another they become a travel screen where a character hops on a Harley-Davidson in Geneva and drives to Wembley. It’s stuff that has simply never been done in the West End before.”

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