Martin Cyclos help green The Sydney Theatre Company

Posted on Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

The Sydney Theatre Company recently purchased twenty Martin Cyclos through Herkes Lighting. The Cyclo Series provides a simple dynamic lighting solution with a fluorescent linear luminaire that uniformly washes surfaces in colour and variable colour temperature white light.

Over the past few months, The Sydney Theatre Company has been going through a ‘Greening The Wharf’ project which aims to show how all buildings – even heritage ones – can be made more sustainable.

Greening The Wharf has seen Pier 4/5 become home to the second largest capacity roof-top solar energy system in Australia, which allows STC to derive the majority of its required energy from renewable sources. At the same time, all arts organisations housed on Pier 4/5 are working to minimise current levels of energy and water use through the introduction of new technologies and changes to the way they operate.

“The lighting department has been tasked with looking into alternative lighting sources and I’ve done quite extensive research resulting in our purchase of the Martin Cyclos,” remarked Graham Henstock, Head of Lighting at Sydney Theatre Company. “As a fluorescent unit, they use significantly less power than our conventional fixtures.”

Previously, Sydney Theatre Company had hired in Cyclos for performances and Graham reports that they were always popular.

“Our designers have always liked them,” he said. “They do a nice colour mix and have a good light output.”

One of the first lighting designers to use the STC’s new Cyclos was Nick Schlieper on a production of Thornton Wilder’s ‘Our Town’. Nick used nine of the Cyclos positioned in a very small truck designed as an incredibly naturalistic miniature kitchen in which actors could still stand. The rest of the stage was empty.

“The whole premise of the play is that there is no scenery”, explained Nick. “It’s not until right at the end of the play that this miniature kitchen in a truck is produced. It has a very low ceiling and so lighting in this confined space was very tricky. It starts off almost hyper-coloured, although vaguely naturalistic, and then the colour drains out of it. The Cyclos were ideal as I only had two feet of headroom above the actors’ heads and I wanted to light the entirety of the box smoothly and seamlessly. Plus I needed to do the gradual colour shift within it.”

Photos: Brett Boardman