Dracula’s was born in a dark, dingy Melbourne laneway in 1980, and four decades later has sold over five million tickets, embracing a cult following that spans generations.
“However, the touring show is a relatively new concept for us,” commented Luke Newman, CEO of Newman Entertainment. “Last year we trialled a small, 4-stop tour and hired lighting locally. It was a bit of a mess with different fixtures in each city requiring long nights to achieve the quality we were aiming for. Once we got to Hobart and started working with PMLS, everything clicked. So it was a perfect fit for us this year to engage them for the entire tour.”
Nick Morse, Company Director/Owner of PMLS, added that Luke and his team are a pleasure to work with and right from the planning stage to on the road, it has been an exciting project.
“We formed a relationship with Luke when he came to Tasmania with his show 18 months ago,” he explained. “Our lighting designer Reuben Willmot took to this show with his creative side and with hard work, is really giving it a great consistent edge. It is really is inspiring to see a young guy work hard and earn his place in the industry.”
Dracula’s is a unique mash-up of theatre, circus, rock concert and burlesque. Reuben’s brief was to have a rock concert rig that is flexible and versatile enough to also achieve more intimate states. The producers also wanted plenty of “bling” through strobes and blinders.
“Being version one of the Dracula’s touring model, we want audiences leaving surprised with how big the show feels,” added Luke. “The lighting and audio are key to this, as audiences are not used to seeing a stadium feel rock show in their local theatre. We want the energy of the sound and lighting design to get people up and out of their seats by the end of the show.”
Reuben says that his biggest challenge was turnaround time as the start of the tour was tight. Lighting was brought in after rehearsals, in the first city, so pre-visualisation was essential in the preparation process. For this he utilised Vectorworks Spotlight (2023) for planning/paperwork and Vectorworks Vision (2023) for programming and concept renders.
In the rig is a trio of Martin MAC fixtures: 26 x Martin MAC Quantum Spots, 12 x Martin MAC Quantum Washes and 12 x Martin MAC Aura XB Washes.
The front truss carries four MAC Quantum Washes and two MAC Quantum Profiles allowing for a flexible mix of hard and soft edged front light. All remaining fixtures in the design are utilised as backlight, again lending itself to a more traditional rock’n’roll feel. Three trusses raked downstage each carry four MAC Aura XBs, with two of those trusses holding six MAC Quantum Profiles and the remaining truss holding four. Each truss is strategically placed with choreography in mind as to maximise the range and throw of each fixture when being used as key-light.
On the floor are four MAC Quantum Profiles on road cases, behind a set of risers. Six risers at varying heights feature one ShowPRO LED Blinder II on each, allowing for maximum punch and throw. Reuben says that he chose the ShowPRO LED Blinder IIs as they’re a super bright and fast responding unit, which are rock solid.
“The MAC Quantum Spots and Washes are great for touring,” said Reuben. “They’re super lightweight (one-person lift), and for their size they are one of the brightest fixtures on the market. We love the richness and flexibility of colour that the Martin fixtures are capable of producing. The spots are very versatile in terms of the gobos and variability of features, and along with the MAC Aura XBs and MAC Quantum Washes have excellent zoom/focus capabilities and range.
“We chose Aura XBs as a great value fixture to fill out the rig. With unrivalled colour production, this was an obvious choice for us. In addition, the Aura’s unique ‘aura backlight’ effect is utilised throughout the show, adding extra depth and space to the design.”
For control, Reuben runs an MA Lighting grandMA3 light in 2 mode. His cue list is setup similar to a band set, so each individual act stands alone. The show features over five-hundred cues, plus a series of executor buttons and faders to busk effects on top of cues. This brings dynamics and flair into the lighting.