In The Limelight

News, updates and tips, February 2014.

Boars Head Festival

Boar’s Head Festival

One of the more interesting annual events on the Limelight calendar is the Boar’s Head Festival at Trinity United Methodist Church in Springfield, Massachusetts.

“For your safety and the safety of others, we ask that no one attempt to touch or pet the animals that are part of the procession.”

Boar’s Head is “An Ancient Epiphany Processional Celebration” incorporating acting, dancing, live music as well as live animals. The Trinity United Methodist Church’s building is a striking example of Gothic Revival architecture, designed by Allen and Collens of Boston, and awarded first prize in the National Church Building Contest, held in conjunction with the Conference on Church Architecture in Cleveland, Ohio in 1930.

Trinity Church

Working with technical supervisor Al Isaacson, Limelight has been providing and installing the lighting equipment for the festival for over 20 years. Installing a lighting package in a cathedral-style space for a production that uses virtually the entirety of the space over the course of the performance presents some unique challenges, including limited power supply, in addition to the complete lack of actual hanging positions for lighting equipment.

The basic lighting control system is modest by theatre standards consisting of two Strand 12 x 2.4kW dimmer packs, controlled by an ETC Ion console and fader wing. An old school A/B switch box allows for dimmers to do double duty over the course of the evening.

The lighting for the main aisle processional comes from an array of 24 ETC Source Four Parnels hung from specially fabricated brackets designed by LPI to create hanging positions from the existing chandeliers.

The lighting for the front altar and steps is achieved by using side lights in the house and lights from the balcony hung from box truss.

Existing architectural lighting, such as the cross over the altar, is tied into the control system temporarily for the production. Existing Source Four Pars on booms in the choir area are used to fill in the upper altar area. Lighting for the rear balcony area is provided by Source Four Ellipsoidals suspended from the chandeliers.

The Boar’s Head Festival is a welcome annual diversion for the Limelight crew. It’s not every day we have the opportunity to serve a production involving live animals, set in such a spectacular space.

Photos courtesy of Trinity United Methodist Church.

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