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Cambridge Town Hall


The Cambridge Town Hall is a multipurpose community hall that was built in 1907 and is of significant historical importance. Located in the heart of the Cambridge township, about 24km Southeast of Hamilton City in the North Island of New Zealand, the building comprises of the main hall and stage, several side rooms and a kitchen. The town's visitor information centre is housed in one of the attached rooms.

A major project in 2001 to upgrade the building included seismic strengthening, rewiring, redecorating, upgrading of the stage facilities and exterior landscaping. Adena provided theatre consultancy services, supplied the stage lighting equipment and co-ordinated specialist theatre contractors to install the new house curtain and rigging for the new FOH spot bar.

Cambridge Town Hall Auditorium View Toward Stage

This photo shows the newly redecorated auditorium and the new house curtain. The house curtain was custom manufactured in the same style as the original house curtain

The new FOH spot bar can be seen below the ceiling. The spot bar, designed and manufactured by Adena, is prewired with nine dimmer circuits and finished with a white powder-coat paint.

Cambridge Town Hall Auditorium View Toward Back

This photo is taken from the stage looking back towards the camera location for the photo above.

imitation windows are electrically lit internally to produce the desired effect. They can be opened to provide a place to hang a theatre spot light for stage lighting purposes.

The auditorium lighting consists of two separate systems to provide the range of flexibility required for such a multipurpose venue. The main system includes the centrepiece and wall lights, all of which are fitted with incandescent lamps controlled by Theatrelight Moodset dimmer units. The Moodsets provide three preset levels and off with an automatic ten second fade between levels. The second system comprises of metal-halide downlights recessed into the ceiling. These downlights are switched on when high levels of light are required.

Cambridge Town Hall Auditorium House Curtain

The new house curtain (photo left) is designed in the same "waterfall" style as the original curtain. The new curtain was supplied and installed by John Herber Ltd.
The original ornate metal panels surrounding the proscenium arch are a carefully preserved feature of the completed renovation.

As the stage has no fly tower (the grid is about 1.5 metres above the proscenium arch) the house curtain is raised by lifting from the tail batten with the fabric stacking as it rises.

The original mechanism for raising and lowering the curtain comprised of sixteen wire ropes, numerous pulleys and a hand winch, all of which had to be replaced to correct reliability and safety concerns. The new mechanism is a completely new development by John Herber's that eliminates most of the wires and pulleys and the need for a winch. Operation of the curtain now uses the familiar hand-line and rope brake typical of many counterweighted theatre systems.

The new electrical installation (photo below) is designed for optimum user convenience and safety. Located in the prompt side corner all essential controls are at the stage managers finger tips. The manila hand-line and rope lock for raising and lowering the house curtain can also be seen next to the edge of the curtain.

Cambridge Town Hall Electrical Installation

The main components of the electrical installation (photo left) are...

1 - Auditorium Dimmers

2 - Stage Lighting Dimmers

3 - Auditorium Distribution Board

4 - Stage Lighting Distribution Board

5 - Work Light

6 - Stage Lighting Control Desk

7 - Wings and General Lighting Switches

8 - Auditorium Lighting Dimmer Controls

The stage lighting dimmers are controlled by a Theatrelight Starlet DMX control panel. The Starlet provides the functionality of a 12-channel 2-preset manual lighting desk with a dipless crossfader in a very compact unit. For this installation we mounted the Starlet onto the inside lid of a standard lockable electrical enclosure to provide a level of security and dust protection. The enclosure opens downward to provide a convenient "desk" for the Starlet to be operated from.

Cambridge Town Hall Theatrelight Starlet Control Panel

The main switch for the dimmer packs, a power point for the Starlet's plug-pack and the DMX input to the dimmers are mounted in the top right hand corner of the enclosure.

An opening to enable DMX cable entry is provided in the bottom of the enclosure so that other DMX controlled equipment can readily be connected whenever users wish to do so for a larger production.

Two Theatrelight Rack-Pack 12-channel DMX dimmer packs are permanently wired to socket outlets on the FOH spot bar and adjacent to the on-stage spot bar positions. Most of the dimmer channels are wired to socket outlets at more than one location to optimise the flexibility of the installation without installing an excessive number of dimmers.

When being controlled by the Starlet, the DMX addresses for the dimmer packs are set to run both packs in parallel to give twelve controlled channels from the FOH spot bar to the Cyc bar outlets. When the dimmer packs are set to concurrent DMX addresses twenty four control channels are spread from the FOH spot bar to Cyc bar outlets and any DMX lighting desk can be used to control the system. A spare three phase 32-Amp socket is provided to allow an additional dimmer pack to be brought in by hall users when desired.