The Cairns Civic Theatre, owned and operated by the Cairns Regional Council, has been presenting arts and entertainment since it was opened in 1974. More than 230 performances are presented at the theatre each year, ranging from local amateur shows to national and international touring extravaganzas.

For many years the theatre has been home to ETC lighting consoles including an Express 125, Insight 3 and their latest acquisition an ETC Ion 1500.

Jon Driver, Technical Manager for the Cairns Civic Theatre, explained, “In fact we purchased two ETC Ion 1500 consoles so I can have one as a back up. I also purchased two 2x20 fader wings and two 19” ELO touch screen panels. I’ve configured the system so that it runs ArtNet. I have a wireless network which runs the ETC Ion via an iPad. I also run a laptop in client mode on the stage, so I can either control lighting functions off the laptop keyboard or I can plug a USB wing into the laptop for the smaller, one-state shows. Having the ETC client control on stage saves me walking to the control room just to softpatch a dimmer.”

Despite a long association with ETC and Jands , Jon still researched other consoles available but couldn’t help returning to a tried and tested brand that has never failed him.

“ETC was the measuring stick for other controls,” he explained. “At the time of purchase, the only thing that it didn’t do was pixel mapping, but soon with software v1.9.5, pixel mapping will be possible.

Jon also went on to explain that the Cairns Civic Theatre caters for a wide range of lighting operators from local school children using the standard lighting rig, to touring technicians with their show on a USB stick.

“Really the ETC Ion 1500 was exactly what we needed. I like the library personalities and how easy it is to edit/create new personalities. I also like the touch screen panels, the ability to change screen views and layouts, also the amount of accessible information shown on screens and being able to tab between your pages, such as cue list, patch, park, groups live channels and so on. The ETC way of programming is both easy and great – for theatre it gives you a GO button operation and with the two wings we can run more rock’n’roll type shows,” he said.