Britney Spears’ “The Circus Tour” has been designed to evoke the wonder, magic and mystery found under the Big Top.

It features twelve dancers, four aerialists, eight circus performers, five band members and of course Britney herself; all of whom perform on a massive in the round stage. All of performers need to be lit with speedy, accurate lighting as they parade, tumble, fly, dance and generally appear and disappear all over the stage.

Lighting designer Nick Whitehouse has met the challenge head-on with a stage lighting design featuring over 200 VARI-LITE automated luminaries. The VARI-LITE stage lighting totals include 58 VL500s, 80 VL3000 Spots, 64 VL3500 Washes, and 16 VL3500 Spot fixtures.

Whitehouse makes sure he is up to date on all the latest lighting technology, and always ends up with VARI-LITEs. He states that they are reliable and their optics one of the best on the market.

Inspiration for the set was the traditional three-ring circus. The large central circular stage incorporates a large circular video screen above it and this also houses VARI-LITEs. This enables Whitehouse to bring them down low and behind the performers onstage.

The ring of VARI-LITE stage lighting includes 16 VL3500s and 16 VL3000s, whilst within that, rigged from the underside of the "doughnut" deck, is a ring of 10 VL500 washes. The two small rings of trussing hold 12 VL3000s and 12 VL3500s.

A unique setting of placing lights around the outside rim of the centre stage ring inside the stage floor was also developed by Whitehouse. This consists of 16 VL3500 washes and 36 VL500s sitting in a custom height stage channel so they are flush with the stage.

Eight pods that provide the top and side light eased the difficulty of lighting in the round. Each pod was carefully engineered to deliver lighting down low where required while ensuring that they didn’t block sight lines yet. Each pod holds 2 VL3500 Washes and 2 PRG Bad Boy spotlights.

Nick uses VL3500 washes on everything he does, and the ones he had placed outside of the set do a lot of the key light on the dancers. They’re great because he can zoom down almost to a pinpoint and pick out the performers he wants. The washes above the stage and in the stage floor have great colours and a brilliant brightness. The washed enable the light to go from a washed-out look across the whole stage to a fantastic series of tight beams shooting across a sold-out arena.

VARI-LIGHT lighting is available from Jands .