On 3 and 4 May, delegates from TechSet (set workshops and technical stage managers) and Technical & Production departments from opera houses from all of Europe came together in Staatstheater Mainz. The conference was organised by the steering groups TechSet and Technical & Production of Opera Europa. Rolf Hauser, Head of the Production Workshop of Dutch National Opera & Ballet and member of the TechSet steering group and Bob Brandsen, Director of Technology and Production and member of the steering group Technical & Production, were involved in the conference as co-organisers and participants.
As during previous editions of the conference, there was a special focus on sustainability during the this month’s edition in Mainz. The first day – Wednesday 3 May – was especially dedicated to this topic. Throughout this day, the participants discussed and demonstrated their achievements on improving their sustainability situations and reflected on working with the guidelines of the Theatre Green Book, which were discussed during last year’s meeting in Ghent. Within this context, Director of Technology and Production Bob Brandsen shared NO&B’s achievements on sustainability, with getting a formalized Green Deal document as an important part. This deal is to be signed by all artistic teams, to ‘volunteer’ in assisting NO&B in reducing the environmental impact of their productions.
Improved transportation and monitoring systems
The second day of the meeting offered the opportunity for the participants to discuss the technical developments they wanted to share. On this day, Head of Production Workshop Rolf Hauser, together with colleagues from opera houses in Helsinki and Copenhagen, led a conversation about the (international) exchange of staff between different theatres. He also moderated a conversation about interesting, innovative and sustainable experiences from the past year. During this conversation, Johannes Brands, production manager at the Royal Danish Theatre, shared his team’s developments on the transport of sets, which follow the loading and transportation system that NO&B has used since 2000. Later, Rutger Flierman and Wil Hoogervorst, programmers light and video at NO&B, shared their improvements of the conductor monitoring system that is used during performances to show the movements of the conductor at various places on and around the stage. For example, they managed to reduce the delay time in the LED screens between the moment they receive the data and the moment the light leaves the screen. Their approach was received enthusiastically.
The conference was closed by Rolf Hauser.
The organisers look back on a successful meeting. The next edition will take place in Oslo, at a still to determined date in de Spring of 2024.