PRG Bad Boys Join the Circus with Britney Spears

by PLSN Staff • in
  • International News
• Created: June 18, 2009

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LONDON — Production Resource Group (PRG) supplied 18 PRG Bad Boy luminaires for the U.S. and European leg of Britney Spears’ Circus tour, as specified by designer Nick Whitehouse, who worked with design partner Bryan Leitch and their firm, Visual Light Ltd. The set for the tour features a circular main stage and two smaller B-stages, which create a three-ring circus feel as Spears shares the stage with dancers, a magician, clowns and aerialists from The Big Apple Circus.

“The show is in the round and I wanted to create a pop spectacle, so I needed to put enough lights out there to accomplish that,” said Whitehouse. “I wanted to cover the entire arena floor. I was looking for different angles as well, which is tricky in the round. I wanted to do some weird and wonderful stuff to get different heights, so we created some lighting pods.”

Each pod contains two PRG Bad Boys, two Vari-Lite VL3500 Wash units and one followspot. Whitehouse worked closely with PRG product manager Chris Conti on the design so that the Bad Boys could also travel in the pods.

“The pods hang a lot lower than the rest of the lighting rig,” explained Whitehouse. “They sit over the dasher lines stage left and stage right at a lower trim which doesn’t affect sightlines. In addition to the 16 Bad Boys in the pods, I have two more Bad Boys at either end of the stage.”

Along with the role they play spotlighting the stage, the Bad Boy units wash the audience with color and gobos. “When I saw the Bad Boy, it was the obvious choice,” said Whitehouse. “I love the optics. With one light, I can go from a two-inch beam on the main stage to a full look that covers about 70 feet; and it is crystal clear and bright the whole way out.” Whitehouse also credited the gear for reliability, noting that after “a month of rehearsals and all of the shows in the U.S., I have not had one problem; not one.”

Whitehouse, who operates the lighting console himself, chose the PRG Virtuoso to control his rig on the U.S. leg. During the changeover to the European leg, he transferred the show to the new PRG V676 console, making this tour the console’s debut.

“The new V676 console from PRG has been great so far,” said Whitehouse. “I love the layout of the console both in terms of ease of operation and how many functions are on the top layer. I can get to everything much more easily. The effects engine is really easy to use and very intuitive. You can build a lot of different effects in no time at all. It takes fewer button pushes; there are fewer steps; it is just much faster to program. The V676 is also physically faster in it’s processing. Plus, it looks really great. The mechanical design is very nice. I am looking forward to having it throughout the rest of the tour.”

Whitehouse and Leitch worked in collaboration with tour producer/director Steve Dixon and costume designer/style director William Baker on the overall production design. Prior to the tour, Whitehouse, Leitch, Dixon, Baker and touring veteran Mo Morrison formed the production company Road Rage, which is producing The Circus Starring Britney Spears tour as well as serving as the production design firm for the current Il Divo world tour.

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