Leading Australian distributor of lighting, sound and staging systems, Jands collaborated with the UK-based Slingco to create an invisible grid strong enough to carry the lighting rig as well as technicians above the audience section at Darlinghurst’s Burton St Tabernacle.

The Darlinghurst Theatre Company, the City of Sydney and architects Tonkin Zulaikha Greer set about to renovate the Burton St Tabernacle as ‘The Eternity Playhouse’. Originally constructed as a Baptist church in 1887, the building now had to be adapted to run lights, sound, power and flybars, as well as accommodate clear sightlines for the audience.

The heritage building featured several examples of skilful workmanship, including an intricate decorative timber ceiling carved with timber inlays. However, the beautifully restored ceiling also presented a challenge for installing a functional lighting rig and grid without blocking the view.

Jands Staging worked with Darlinghurst Theatre Co. on a see-through grid created using Cablenet, which is a tension wire grid platform by Slingco, a cabling and rigging company headquartered in the UK. Jands used Cablenet to create the see-through virtual ceiling, which when installed above the audience’s head, carries the load of both the lighting rig and the technicians with complete safety, without compromising the lighting director’s vision or the audience’s enjoyment of the beautiful heritage ceiling.

According to Darlinghurst Theatre Co. Associate Producer and Production Manager Liz Jenkins, the grid extends from the back of the theatre to halfway onto the stage, and features four lighting bars and patch points. Offering a weight loading capacity of a tonne, the grid combines function with aesthetics.

Paul Lewis, Systems Manager at lighting company Barbizon was tasked with ensuring that Cablenet didn’t degrade the performance of the LED lighting rig. He was happy with the performance of the lighting system.

Cablenet has been ensuring both safety and sightlines around the world since 1996, and installations can be found on four continents at venues including London’s iconic Camden Roundhouse, and the theatre at the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Jands Staging installed the first Australian Cablenet system in the State Theatre Centre of WA in 2010 and works in close partnership with architects and theatre consultants to support all Cablenet solutions, from initial load calculations and computer modelling through to the design and installation.