Sydney’s State Theatre gets the Schnick Schnack treatment

Posted on Friday, September 16th, 2011


Sydney’s State Theatre is without doubt a truly magnificent and unique building. Its importance has been recognised by The National Trust of Australia that has classified it as “a building of great historical significance and high architectural quality, the preservation of which is regarded as essential to our heritage”.

For over seventy years it has enchanted and captivated all those who have used and continue to use its surroundings and facilities. But even this old theatrical dame has to occasionally get with the times such was the case when the proscenium lighting was recently renovated.

Rhys Robinson from Riser, who manages aspects of the State Theatre, called upon Show Technology’s Mark McInnes to discuss ideas for updating the proscenium lighting. The theatre had four rows of older 45watt incandescent lamps which they could simply switch on in rows to produce an ever increasing glow around the archway.

However, over a long period of time the wiring and switches became so dilapidated they increasingly ceased working and large sections of their lamps simply didn’t switch on at all.

The original idea was to light the proscenium to mimic dawn, peak daylight and dusk lighting by using the older lamps in banks, turning them on or off to increase the intensity. Rhys was very keen to try re-create this as much as possible, preferably using LED systems so that he could get a larger range of colours from the proscenium.

Ever the committed professionals, Mark McInnes and Vince Haddad made several trips to the Theatre to test different LED solutions. Eventually they settled on Schnick Schnack LED strips.

“Using a custom piece of channel we spaced the 250mm LED strips 250mm apart,” explained Mark McInnes. “Due to their high out put and very good colour consistency, we were able to cover the forty odd meters of archway with just twenty metres of LED. We were helped by the golden colour of the back areas of the State’s proscenium which is a perfect canvas. The house light operator now has control of the colour and brightness of the proscenium. When a show lighting operator is in he can connect straight to the DMX control of the Schnick Schnack strip from the lighting console enabling the proscenium to be part of the show.”

The reaction to the new proscenium lighting has been so positive the venue has decided to give the dome area directly above the beautiful chandelier the Schnick Schnack treatment in the very near future.