PLASA08: technology, education and record registrations

Posted on Monday, August 18th, 2008

The promise of new technologies and applications, and a dramatically expanded educational programme, has helped drive the PLASA Show to its highest-ever pre-registration figures, with a record total of over 10,000 industry professionals already registered to attend.

With the show a year on since its redesign, the one-floor, two-hall layout has been refined and expanded to allow for new and returning exhibitors.

And with new products topping the ‘wish list’ of the majority of visitors, there’s no doubt that PLASA08 will definitely deliver, according to Show Director Nicola Rowland. “There’s a real buzz building around the wide range of technologies and expertise on offer at the show and how these can be applied across the industry. It’s a unique chance to see how projects are being delivered, how lighting, sound and AV systems are being re-thought around new technologies and how events, productions and architectural installations, are benefiting from innovative developments.”

The trend reflects the growth in demand for products which push the boundaries, with a broadening variety of lighting, video display media, networked audio, data and control systems, becoming the new backbones from which the industry is reinventing the way forward.

Also boosting pre-registration is the fact that, for the first time ever, there is no diary overlap with IBC, helping attract major first-time exhibitors to PLASA08, as well as the return of several major audio and lighting manufacturers, while the presence of staging specialists is also expanding.

PLASA08’s education programme will see a significant expansion of last year’s seminars, along with several exciting new initiatives and partnerships. They build on the organisation’s existing relationships with US trade body ESTA – which is hosting an expanded North American Pavilion – alongside pavilions supported by the ISCE and IOA.

With a strong focus on industry technologies, the seminars will address existing and emerging audio, AV and lighting technologies and their applications, and will be hosted by some of the industry’s best-known manufacturers and innovators.

Leading the charge is the first ever PLASA Masterclass, hosted by the winner of the inaugural Gottelier Award, Funktion-One co-founder Tony Andrews.

Cirque du Soleil follows last year’s standing room-only session with a new presentation on the ‘Challenges of Automation’, while a second theatre will host a full programme of Special Interest Sessions. Amongst the issues being addressed in this programme are sustainability, with a presentation by London’s Arcola Theatre – the world’s first carbon neutral theatre – addressing the implementation and use of energy efficient lighting, a Theatres Trust-led session on Display Energy Certificates and a presentation from the team at the National Theatre on its sustainable lighting strategies.

Another session will focus on the increasingly diverse and exciting world of display technologies from small-format interactive to large-format LED, whilst also under discussion will be the new BS8901 (Sustainable Event Management) standard which will re-shape the way events and venues are delivered in the future.

Other leading industry organisations lending their name to the seminar programme include InfoComm, the Institute of Acoustics and a whole series of seminars from Technologies for Worship. All of these sessions will be free to visitors.

In addition, there will be a series of ‘fee-based’ intensive training sessions delivered by CAST Software on its range of visualisation packages.

In a major development, PLASA08 will also be the industry platform for the official launch of the Mayor of London’s Green Theatre Programme, as part of which there will be a special exhibition focusing on climate change initiatives.

A new Industry Skills Zone, sponsored by PLASA Qualifications, will also spotlight skills development in the sector and will feature industry organisations such as the Arts Council, ABTT, the National Student Drama Festival, the Sector Skills Councils and the team from the new National Skills Academy. It will also act as the Information Point for the new National Rigging Certificate and NVQ developments in the audio and AV sectors, all of which have been given momentum by PLASA’s recent accreditation as an Awarding Body by the QCA – the first trade association to be recognised in the entertainment, conference, architectural and communications industries.

The team from the National Physical Laboratory – the UK’s National Measurement Institute and a world leading centre in developing and applying accurate measurement standards – will also be in attendance as part of a joint initiative with PLASA to develop collaborative ways of working with the industry.

Sunday’s DJ events will also feature a DJ programme, supported by KAM, which includes the Drum & Bass Arena vs Forum DJs spin-off – a chance for aspiring DJs to match their talents against the leading names in drum and bass.

With exhibition space close to being fully sold out, half price visitor pre-registration is receiving record hits as visitors take advantage of the 50% discount on entry passes.

New visitor features will include a coffee lounge, extended wi-fi facilities and fully-equipped registration areas at both Earls Court 1 and 2 entrances.

PLASA08 goes live at Earls Court on Sunday 7 September and runs through to Wednesday 10 September 2008. Register now at