Despite COVID-19’s best efforts, TAIT’s installation work has continued apace throughout 2020 and 2021. Our teams in Asia have been particularly busy over the past 24 months creating a once-in-a-lifetime theatre experience at Sunac Guangzhou Grand Theatre in the Huadu District of Guangzhou, China.
Designed by London-based Steven Chilton Architects for estate owners, Sunac, the theatre is a purpose-built, 2000-seat venue in the heart of southern China, designed primarily as a 360-degree ‘in-the-round’ theatre that can also be transformed into several different configurations.
TAIT’s scope was to create an awe-inspiring visual spectacle with Theater Consultants, Auerbach Pollock Friedlander, that would allow touring productions to deliver spectacular performer flying experiences with all of the necessary infrastructure in place to cater for every eventuality.
Kevin Taylor, TAIT’s CEO of Asia, explains, “Audiences in Asia are well-used to spectacular theatre experiences. This pushed us to raise the bar of our creative engineering practices to compliment show productions in a way that truly create awe-inspiring experiences for the audience.”
The rigging and performer flying system installed in the overhead grid of this theatre was designed and manufactured by TAIT out of its UK office, with the team delivering a complete performer flying solution comprising of 25 BigTow winches;12 of which were used for performer flying winches with the remaining 13 being used for scenery. In addition to this, TAIT installed three track and trolley systems and a scenic gantry into the overhead grid. A fully stocked rigging system like this gives the theatre’s production team the ultimate flexibility to program shows with central acrobatic flights, drop overs to the stage and the ability to create both 2D and 3D flights over the audience.
TAIT’s team, based out of its Asia offices in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, oversaw the installation onsite and were on the ground to create the complex ‘spider web’ overhead grid of hoists, winches and trolleys required to allow the theatre team to create those 2D and 3D experiences.
Steven Snow, Director of Controls based out of TAIT’s Asian offices, was heavily involved in the day-to-day oversight of the project, “With a complex undertaking such as this, it took all of our engineering skills and performer flying expertise to realise the extraordinary experiences that Guangzhou Grand Theatre will be able to offer. We’re immensely proud to have been chosen to partner with Sunac and SCA to engineer, supply and manufacture the theatre’s automated equipment for this incredible project.”
The theatre was originally due to be completed in early 2020, but the pandemic pushed the final handover to Q4 2020. The theatre’s now open and operates as a receiving house for various touring musicals and theatre shows.
Key to the smooth delivery of the project was Susan Snow who coordinated the TAIT team and pulled together this ambitious installation with collaboration from our partners and a wide variety of suppliers across multiple TAIT locations. “Despite the inevitable delays created by COVID and the tireless work of everyone involved, we are proud to have delivered an innovative, exhilarating rigging system that will give theatre-goers something to really get excited about in 2021.”