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Set and automation for War Of The Worlds

LS-Live has worked on Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version Of The War Of The Worlds stage set design and build for the last three years, a production that “evolves each time and gets more complex”. Steve Nolan approached LS-Live’s Director Ben Brooks to project manage the set design and build for a rental package, which involved the provision of a rolling house stage and the development of custom automated set pieces. “This year’s production demanded more automation lifts and effects than ever before, but we were well equipped to meet requirements due to our large rental fleet of on stage machinery, and our house engineering and hydraulics expertise,” said Brooks.

“That said it was one of the most challenging periods of the year for us because we were working on the Chris Brown stage set at the same time. We used our secondary 130,000 sq ft pre-build warehouse for the Chris Brown production and built the War of the Worlds set in our 17,664 sq ft studio in the main LS-Live building.”

LS-Live had recently taken on new General Manager Mark Blount, who brought with him over a decade of experience in the hydraulics and engineering industry, and he project managed the build on site.

LS-Live provided a 60’ by 40’ rolling house stage for the show, installed with two 8’ by 4’ aluminium scissor lifts, a new curved orchestra riser with custom colour-changing LED fascias (installed by LS-Live’s electronics department) and LiteDecks with apertures cut out for the stage pyrotechnics to come up through the stage floor. “We will be developing a new range of ultra low, electric scissor lifts and a telescopic artist lift in 2013 to add to our existing range of automation equipment,” said Brooks. “But for this project we adapted one of the existing scissor lifts to be a low rise props lift with a trapdoor, so that it could both bring up props on stage and allow a performer to disappear through the floor.”

But by far the most complex piece of electrical actuation was the holographic automated screen, which LS-Live designed to fold out from underneath the downstage edge to stand 8ft high at the push of a button.

Said Production Manager Phil Murphy: “I love working with everybody at LS-Live. Ben and the team are always a great help when starting up a production, very helpful, full of ideas and always at the end of the phone.”