London, UK based Entec Sound & Light supplied lighting, sound and video production and crew for the recent Friends of the Earth’s star studded comedy extravaganza at the HMV Hammersmith Apollo, “Laugh or the Polar Bear Gets It”.
The line up of eight comedians, one singer and one larger than life polar bear’s head set piece featured Tim Minchin, Josie Long, Badly Drawn Boy and Richard Herring and was presented by Greg Davies. The venue was completely sold out as all united in an evening of true hilarity and arctic proportions.

Laughing all the way to the lighting desk was Entec’s Ryan Brown, who created a production lighting design for the evening – which resembled a festival in style and execution.

His aim was to compliment the main set piece, a giant polystyrene polar bear’s head, so to connect this to its immediate environment, he imbibed the stage with an arctic ambience, choosing 24 Clay Paky HPE 300 moving lights as the main fixtures. These were rigged on two low-hung side stage trusses and a front truss. The ones on the side trusses were used to shoot beams diagonally across the stage in a selection of arctic colours – steels and pale blues and lavenders.

The HPE 300s were also chosen as a powerful but energy efficient lightsource. “There was an element of trying to keep it as expedient on the power consumption as possible,” says Brown, in keeping with the theme of the evening!

Six Martin Professional MAC700s Washes were used as back lighting, contrasting vividly in appearance with the side beams.

At the back of the set, Entec provided a 24ft wide projection screen, which was fed with two Barco R10 projectors, edge blended together to form a single image. Content for this – a mix of logo loops, stings and pre-recorded VT footage was stored on two Green Hippo Grasshopper media servers, which were triggered by Brown from the grandMA2 light console.

The lighting package also included two follow spots.

Entec’s head of Sound Dick Hayes originally quoted  and confirmed the event with a d&b Q-Series sound system, similar to the one they had used in 2009 for Friends Of the Earth’s ‘Livestock’ show at the same venue, however, this time, the spec ended up being changed to the J-Series, which is currently the first choice of Pete Clements, Tim Minchin’s FOH engineer.

The system was configured as a standard Entec Apollo set up with slightly less sub than usual.

The full system was fourteen x J8s and four  x J12s flown left and right, plus six  J-Subs ground stacked left & right, together with four Q7s and two Q10s for infill,  all driven by d&bs D12 amps.

Hayes also upgraded the FOH console to a Midas Pro6, another favourite of Clements!

The monitors were mixed on a Yamaha PM5D with d&b E12/E15 side fills & M4 wedges, all run passively which is ideal for this type of scenario.

Entec supplied a 6 way Shure UHFR radio system with a mix of handheld 58s & Countryman headsets along with AKG414s for the grand piano and a splattering of other mics and DIs for the various acts.

The crew were Kevin Smith, who looked after FOH, systems tech James Kerridge and monitor engineer Chris Trimby, all of whom together with lighting crew were highly entertained for the evening and all came back to the warehouse with smiling faces.

Jilia Barraclough from Friends of The Earth’s Events & Promotions department says, “It’s very reassuring to work with a professional and proficient production company like Entec. After successfully working together in 2009 in bringing ‘LIVEstock’ to life, we had no doubt who we wanted to help us realise our vision for ‘Laugh or the Polar Bear Gets It’.

“Entec are friendly and truly lovely to work alongside, in addition to being effortlessly competent, highly creative and environmentally conscious, which is something that’s vital to Friends of the Earth.

“As one of our key signature fundraising events, we challenged Entec to work to a tight budget and deadline. They rose to this effortlessly, remaining flexible, lending us their expertise, suggestions and providing solutions with the end objective of helping us to achieve our targets by producing a high quality production”.

Entec are looking forward to being involved in next year’s event.

The money raised will help fund Friends of the Earth’s critical campaigning work, including the fight against climate change and keeping the polar bears safe.