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LD Johanna Town praises whisper-quiet performance and tungsten emulation impact on gothic horror

The recent adaptation of Frankenstein at Manchester’s Royal Exchange by celebrated playwright April de Angelis, marked 200 years since the publication of Mary Shelley’s famous gothic horror.

To help maintain the suspense and ratchet up the tension, lighting designer Johanna Town, used four MAC Encore Performance WRM, provided by HSL, in her armoury of effects.

The class-leading, whisper-silent performance of the warm white fixture was critical for the in-the-round space, as she acknowledged.

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"Since the Royal Exchange Theatre is in the round, and the audience sits amongst the lighting fixtures, we needed a moving light that was super quiet — and I have to say we were extremely pleased with the Martin MAC Encore. The lantern has a beautiful tungsten feel to warm white but at the same time is also able to be used for cold attack effects. The beam has a really nice flat field with a good zoom range.

She added, “The units come with some nice breakups and water effect gobos, and we found the animation wheel really useful. We used the on-board LED motion flicker (Animotion FX system) throughout the show to great effect.

“Overall we were very impressed with the Encore, it felt like a high quality moving light designed for the theatre market," she concluded.

Her assessment was echoed by Mark Distin Webster, head of lighting at the Royal Exchange Theatre. “We were very impressed with our first encounter with the MAC Encore; physically it is a very easy unit to manipulate and rig with handles in all the right places. Our intimate, in-the-round space means noise is a huge factor when specifying kit and the Encore is certainly one of the quietest we've used.”

He added that he was a big fan of the single well mapped out mode structure. “It makes it a very hassle-free plug and play unit,” he remarked. “I was also impressed at how naturally it fitted into the existing lighting rig, easily emulating a tungsten profile shot one moment then becoming an effects moving head the next.

“It’s a great addition to the theatre lighting toolbox … in fact we have already arranged our next hire of them with HSL.

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Distributed in the UK by Sound Technology, the Martin by HARMAN portfolio has been boosted by the arrival of the MAC Encore Performance. The WRM version integrates cutting-edge LED technology with a proprietary and innovative light engine carefully engineered to generate pristine, full spectrum light with ultra-high colour rendition. The feature-packed moving head offers unparalleled 3000K warm tungsten emulation that challenges the output quality of a real incandescent light source — a feature that certainly made an impact on Frankenstein.

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

All Photo Credits: Johan Persson / Royal Exchange Theatre


  • Frankenstein at The Royal Exchange
  • The Royal Exchange, Manchester

Project Team

  • Lighting Designer: Johanna Town
  • Head of Lighting: Mark Distin Webster
  • Supplier: HSL Group


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