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The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) has upgraded its lighting fleet, adding seven new Martin by Harman MAC Encore Performance moving heads to its shared stock. These were commissioned by Paul Halgarth, Lecturer in Lighting, Electrics and Programming at LIPA, and supplied by Martin by Harman dealer, Stage Electrics. The new fixtures will enable students on both the Theatre and Performance Design and Technology degree courses to have access to cutting-edge technology.

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Photo above: LIPA students with the new Martin MAC Encore Performance fixtures. Pic courtesy: Tracey Gibbs. 

Halgarth waited patiently for the release of these ground-breaking fixtures and then acted swiftly. Explaining his rationale, he said, “We always need the latest technology and we pride ourselves in having industry standard equipment. It’s vital as students can go from our course straight into employment.”

As such, over its 22-year history LIPA has routinely undertaken regular equipment reviews and this latest capital bid sees them replace existing stock as a first phase lighting overhaul, with a second phase to follow soon.

The search for the best replacement solution began with a call to Rob Beamer, then at Stage Electrics and now with Sound Technology, the Martin by Harman distributor.

“I specifically wanted units with framing shutters because we didn't have any,” Paul Halgarth explained. “Stage [Electrics] were extremely helpful and I looked at all the leading [competitive] brands as well as the Martin MAC Viper and MAC Quantum.

“I really wanted to go down the LED route. I dismissed some as being unsuitable, and while the MAC Viper ticked all the boxes, and I felt had an intense quality of light and stunning deep contrast when using textured gobos, I knew it would be great if we could have an LED source. And that’s when Rob told me to hold on!”

Soon some of the first MAC Encore Performances appeared, and a working demo at Theatr Clwyd confirmed everything Halgarth needed to know.

“It had all the functionality of the Viper at the size of a Quantum — and it also had colour flags and a white source, which was exactly what I needed.“Martin themselves then came in and held a demo and workshop for our students, as I wanted their opinions.”

And their positive reaction was all the convincing he needed.“The only decision to make then,” he continued, “was whether to go for the warm or cold version.”

He reasoned that in view of the diversity of work that takes place at LIPA, and the fact that they are producing live concerts and events as well as pure theatre, they should opt for cold. This fully-featured, LED moving head delivers levels of light quality and consistent operation rarely seen before in an LED-based stage lighting unit.

Designed to produce premium white light in a wide variety of applications, MAC Encore Performance is available in two dedicated colour temperature variants: WRM for unparalleled, 3000 K warm incandescent emulation and CLD for crisp, 6000 K neutral daylight. The innovative low-noise light engine has been engineered to generate full spectrum light with ultra-high colour rendition, with precise framing shutters and CTC flags installed as standard.

“The Encores are already on our first production and the reaction from students has been immensely positive,” Paul Halgarth confirmed. “They find the fixtures easy to control, with accuracy, and are now able to learn how to manipulate framing shutters. They are impressed with both the power and colour output; the Martin MAC colour flags make them feel professional and these fixtures complement our existing tungsten lanterns beautifully.”

The new units will be available for use not only in the Paul McCartney Auditorium and Sennheiser Studio Theatre, which have been part of the Institute’s fabric since it opened in 1996, but also a new studio theatre at LIPA that is due to open in 2019.

For further information please call Martin by HARMAN UK distributor Sound Technology Ltd on 01462 480000.


  • Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts
  • Higher education institute for performers and those who want to make performance possible.

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