The new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, which opens September 16 in Kansas City, Missouri, has taken delivery of six Robert Juliat Victor 1800W MSR followspots provided by Clair Brothers Systems.
A new venue for music, opera, theater and dance, The Kauffman Center will be the home of the Kansas City Ballet, Kansas City Symphony and Lyric Opera of Kansas City. Its 1,800-seat Muriel Kauffman Theatre and 1,600-seat Helzberg Hall are housed in a dramatic shell, designed by famed architect Moshe Safdie, and sheathed in glass and stainless steel. The Muriel Kauffman Theatre will host dance and theatrical performances; Helzberg Hall will be the principal locale for music, from chamber groups and jazz and pop performers to full orchestras.
Placido Domino, Itzhak Perlman and Diana Krall inaugurated the Kauffman Center with two days of glittering grand-opening events and performances.
According to Patrick Donnelly, director of theater operations for the Kauffman Center, the Robert Juliat Victor followspots will “support our resident symphony, ballet and opera companies as well as touring Broadway shows and other events” scheduled for the new venue. Typically, three Victors each will be available to the Muriel Kauffman Theatre and Helzberg Hall.
Project Manager Michael Ferguson specified the Robert Juliat fixtures “for their superior optics – there’s absolutely nothing better on the market.” He also liked their ease of use. “They are instinctive and smooth, which is key for ballet and opera,” he says.
Ferguson demo’d all the fixtures he specified so the Kauffman Center’s operators would have a hands-on opportunity to see how they performed. “The Robert Juliats won over the users,” he reports. “I had actually specified a less powerful Robert Juliat followspot, then I discovered Victor. I wanted to make sure we had enough punch and that the fixtures were future-proof, so we upgraded to Victor. They were exactly the right choice.”
Originally, four Victors were slated to be shared by the two venues for core use. But before the Kauffman Center opened the subject came up of what to do if additional followspots were required. “Nothing else would stand up to the Victors, and no Victors were easily available on the rental market,” says Ferguson. “So we purchased two more Victors. Now we can simultaneously use up to four for ballet or opera and two in the concert hall.”
“The product’s quality is outstanding, and they are very well-designed,” says Donnelly. “And they certainly fill the bill for being user-friendly.”
Ferguson notes that he received “really great support from everyone at Robert Juliat USA. They lived up to their reputation for being very attentive to their customers.”
He adds that, prior to the Kauffman Center’s grand opening, the Kansas City Ballet had been in rehearsals of the world premiere of the commissioned ballet “Tom Sawyer.” “They had already put the Victors to use, and I’ve heard nothing but good things about them.”
About Robert Juliat
Robert Juliat is a three-generation, independent family-run company dedicated to the manufacturing of professional stage lighting products. Robert Juliat lights are used by customers who include Cirque du Soleil, Celine Dion, New York’s Lincoln Center, LA’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Bruce Springsteen, Disney Theme Parks, Carnegie Hall, The San Francisco Opera and Ballet, The Royal Shakespeare Company, The Comedie Francaise, The Sydney Opera House, plus theatres, schools and public venues around the world.
R&D, production and the company headquarters are based in the village of Fresnoy-en-Thelle, 50 km north of Paris. Robert Juliat USA is located in Wallingford, Connecticut. For more information visit