Featuring a lighting rig from Robe, the newly built Atlas Theatre in Emmen, Netherlands is a multi-functional performance space in the heart of the city and part of a €250 million development.

In addition to the two Atlas auditoriums with capacities of 822 and 300, the complex also includes a full convention centre, catering outlets, offices and is an access point for the Wildlands Adventure Zoo.

The project has been a long time coming in that the plan to replace the old De Muzeval theatre in the city was actually first proposed around 40 years ago.

The construction eventually commenced in 2014 and was finished in 2016, offering a very modern architectural style and state of the art AV including Robe lighting.

The technical specifications were completed by Amsterdam based theatre consultants Theateradvies and the bid to supply lighting was won by Controllux.

Twenty-four moving lights were specified with Controllux proposing 12 x Robe DL7S Profiles and 12 x BMFL Spots as the most practical and flexible options for the theatre. The project was managed for them by Kuno van Velzen.

The construction company completing the build is also responsible for the building’s maintenance for the next 20 years, so reliability was key to choosing kit.

The technical team led by Koos Maris and including Nick Unij and Jan Honouwer – both also involved with the old theatre – were delighted with the choice of Robes.

The original plan was to have 24 x BMFLs, but they hadn’t seen the DL7S Profile at that point as it had not been launched. However, when they did – at PLASA 2015 – explained Nick and Jan – they decided to test them thoroughly, were pleased with the results and were then able to tweak the spec so 12 could be included.

Specially designed for theatre and television applications, low noise was a feature making the DL7S an attractive choice, especially for classical events.

So quietness together with the strong colours and the framing shutters, handy for anything from a conference to a live art performance, plus the LED lightsource being sensible from a longevity aspect, all helped. “It’s an adaptable fixture that consumes very little power,” says Nick, adding that they also find the colour temperature correction very useful.

The BMFLs they both love for the brightness, colours, smooth and even output, striking gobos, etc. and the fact that it can double as a wash fixture.

The BMFLs and DL7Ss have already been used extensively on a wide variety of events and they are a great combination according to Nick.

The Atlas Theatre is a busy receiving house for theatre shows and tours and also hosts conferences, amateur and community productions as well as an annual singing contest which is televised locally. It’s in use almost every day of the year.

The new theatre is the culmination of an ambition stretching back 40 years

Light envy

Apparently, the new Robes are the envy of many of the guest crews, and right now the Atlas theatre is one of the best equipped in the Netherlands. They also have cutting edge audio, video and rigging kit and facilities making them totally self-sufficient in all the production elements.

The technical team provide the full lighting service to any show that does not have its own LDs or technicians, which accounts for around 20% of the incoming work, and they work closely with the 80% which do have their own touring crew, who will also generally be using the house equipment including the moving lights.

The Atlas is a stellar improvement technically on the old theatre which had a low ceiling, no flying facilities and seriously restricted creativity. Now the crew can offer clients and visiting artists and companies the very best.