As we approach the anniversary of our nation’s theatre being shut down, we reflect on October 2020; SLX hosted the technical crew from the smash hit musical production of SIX ahead of its return to a new venue in the West End, which allowed for a socially distanced audience.
Having been the lighting supplier to SIX for its sold out run pre-pandemic at The Arts Theatre, London, we were pleased to be approached by the production when they decided to temporarily move to the larger Lyric Theatre to accommodate socially distanced audiences.
Throughout the summer of 2020 we adapted our business to enable safe warehouse working and on-site delivery of many broadcast projects and it was the expertise learned on these events that allowed us to create a COVID safe preshow environment where technicians from outside the SLX family could prepare their shows. This new area of our warehouse was designed to be physically separated from our main working areas with only an equipment “airlock” between the two. The staff had their own dedicated access, green room area, toilets and handwash facilities.
Katy Lowe of SLX says:
“As with any pre-show, the technical requirements change as the preshow progresses, to enable this we created a disinfectant airlock using UVC radiation system to allow any extra equipment needed to go in one side, treated with the UVC, and then out the other side to the SIX crew! It was quite surreal to begin with, working in this way, but both the team and I soon got used to it. The hardest thing about the whole job was not having the normal social interaction and evening meals out.”
Sam Floyd, Production Electrician on SIX, says:
“It was wonderful to be at SLX, prepping a show for the first time since February. Katy and the team at SLX did amazingly to implement very effective practices which kept us COVID secure in those crucial weeks as we prepared. In times of uncertainty it was a breath of fresh air having such clear and concise information on how SLX would be dealing with our prep period. All the systems in place worked very well, we felt safe and were incredibly well looked after. If this must be the ‘new normal’, SLX have made it incredibly easy to adapt to. A huge thank you and well done to Katy and the team”.
Whilst here at SLX we remain open, continuing to work with our broadcast customers and supplying virtual event solutions to clients, the third national lockdown means theatre – socially distanced or otherwise – has come to a complete stop once again and questions over when it might reasonably resume remain unanswered. However, the team here at SLX are in active dialogue with all production partners and theatre venue clients, confident that when the industry is given the go ahead, we are ready to provide safe working environments for all the vital production teams making theatre possible – as well as of course continuing to keep all customers and staff safe in the meantime.