San Antonio's new Tobin Center for the Performing Arts will open in September with a complement of grandMA2 consoles and six Clay Paky Alpha Spot QWO 800 fixtures dedicated to both the H-E-B Performance Hall and the Carlos Alvarez Studio Theater. A.C.T Lighting, Inc. is the exclusive distributor of both brands in North America.
Rising behind the façade of the former San Antonio Municipal Auditorium along downtown's famed River Walk, the 1,750-seat multi-purpose venue will be the home of the San Antonio Symphony and other resident companies. It also plans to offer a diverse array of entertainment from comedy legend Bill Cosby and radio icon Garrison Keillor and "The Prairie Home Companion" to the Scottish Ballet's production of "A Streetcar Named Desire."
The four-level H-E-B Performance Hall is the largest of the Tobin Center's performance spaces; the Carlos Alvarez Studio Theater is a black box-style space with multiple seating options. Dealer Texas Scenic and rep Roy Harline are providing both the grandMA2 and Clay Paky products.
A grandMA2 light console with grandMA2 replay unit will be located in each of the performance spaces. H-E-B Performance Hall will also be equipped with a grandMA2 NPU for multiple universes and MA's top-of-the-line VPU plus video processing unit.
Tobin Center Technical Director Stefan De Wilde is no stranger to grandMA2 consoles. "I have purchased and specified many grandMA1 and 2 consoles for Disney, Cirque du Soleil, the New World Symphony and the several universities," says the Emmy-nominated lighting designer. "For three years 'The Pageant of Peace,' the National Christmas Tree Lighting in Washington, D.C., was illuminated by various grandma consoles."
De Wilde says grandMA2 is his "console of choice" for its "incredible reliability, flexibility and power. It efficiently manages vast quantities of information quickly and efficiently."
He notes that longevity is a key factor for equipment selected for the Tobin Center. "The equipment must effectively operate for at least 10 years and meet every need for every show. We're a world-class performing arts center and require world-class technology in every department. We also have an array of grandMA2 nodes throughout our lighting control system."
Adding a MA VPU plus video processing unit to the grandMA2 console in the H-E-B Performance Hall will enable projection cues for several Panasonic 20K projectors to be written into the unit's cue plan for easy content management.
Six Clay Paky Alpha Spot QWO 800s were selected as "the best fit" for both performance spaces. "We required, quiet, low-maintenance fixtures that offer a variety of design options and would last for many years," says De Wilde. "Following extensive research, The QWO 800s had the smallest footprint, the lightest weight and the least amount of ambient noise. Their efficient lamp also has incredible output. The QWO 800s are also extremely flexible since they can be used as a wash or a spot fixture."
The fixtures will be shared by both the H-E-B Performance Hall and the Carlos Alvarez Studio Theater.
A.C.T Lighting will train Tobin Center staff on the grandMA2 consoles. "A.C.T sets the standard in the entertainment industry for technical service and support," De Wilde reports. "Bob Gordon, Chris Patton, George Masek and Will Murphy are members of our All Star Team for the project. Their ongoing partnership and support, coupled with reliable and powerful technology is why I select A.C.T's gear every time."