entertainment • presentation • installation

Exhibitors label PLASA 2011 a great success

This year's event sets the scene for a strong return to Earls Court in 2012 (photo: Chris Toulmin)

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19 September 2011

UK - With preliminary visitor figures of over 12,000, showing a marginal increase over 2010 and strong international engagement from across the world, organisers PLASA Events are "delighted" with the positive feedback to this year's PLASA 2011, which last week closed its doors at Earls Court after a vibrant four days.

This year's event sets the scene for a strong return to Earls Court in 2012. Events manager Sophie Atkinson commented: "Exhibitors have been enthusing about the high quality of visitors and the rate of sales enquiries, and with hundreds of new products being launched, there has been a great return on investment for them. We expect to see many back here at Earls Court next year."

Visitors also relished being first to get their hands on some of the industry's hottest new products. Over 500 products were launched at the show, including major new developments in audio, AV, lighting and staging, plus there were a number of 'behind closed doors' prototype demonstrations of ideas expected to be unveiled in full next year.

PLASA 2011 also delivered an enhanced visitor experience, with a raft of new interactive features drawing substantial crowds, including the STLD's LED luminaire shootout, the expanded Theatres Trust Ecovenue feature and the new PLASA Production Bar in Earls Court 2.

Another big success was the second PLASA Rigging Conference, attended by 175 delegates from 18 countries, some travelling from as far as Malaysia, Singapore, Sweden, Canada, the USA, Hong Kong and Australia, to share their know-how and explore best practice in a fast changing field.

Over 70 rigging professionals also turned out for the informal Riggers' Forum on the afternoon of Sunday 11 September - an increase of 60% on expected numbers.

Conference consultant Chris Higgs, of Total Solutions Group, comments: "The Conference was a great opportunity to continue the important discussions first begun in 2010 and to introduce debate on wider working practices. The global rigging community shares a lot of common methods, interests and aims, and we're keen that PLASA should be a central resource for riggers from the UK, Europe and North America. We have great plans for the next one in 2012."

Equally popular was the expanded Education and Learning Programme, which drew over 2,200 people. Several key sessions, including the Gottelier Masterclass by ETC's Fred Foster, 'Lighting Visualisation at the Royal Opera House', the ALD's '50 Years of Lighting', the RST and Stage Electrics' 'Transforming Theatres', Bernie Davies' 'Lighting Big Events for Television' and MA Lighting's 'How the Sun works and why the fixture weighs so much!' were all standing room only.

Dave Swallow's much anticipated session on 'The Art of Mixing a Show' was so oversubscribed that it was switched to the much larger Cromwell Room to meet demand for places.

Adds Atkinson: "The seminar programme has continued to grow in both quantity and quality, and its popularity means we are being offered ever more exciting ideas for providing unique insights and sharing knowledge across the industry."

Exhibitors were queuing up to praise the exhibition and its cluster of supporting events.

Mark Vassallo, VP of global sales at ETC, commented, "The show just gets better and better - it's busy from beginning to end and our distributors and customers come from all over Europe, not just the UK, to check out the new products. We actually premiere a lot of the products before they go to America for LDI so PLASA's a very important show for us."

Andrew Richardson, managing director for Adam Hall, said, "It's been another great PLASA for us. The show helped to attract visitors from all over the world keen to see many new products. We're looking forward to next year's PLASA already."

Michael Budmani, Bath University's subject leader in theatre production, commented, "PLASA 2011 has been a huge success for Bath Spa University. As well as the opportunity to talk to potential students about our exciting BA (Hons) Theatre Production programme, it was a wonderful opportunity to catch up with friends and colleagues old and new, talk over the hot industry issues of the day, and to share best practice. Will we be back next year? Absolutely. It's a no-brainer!"

David Faulkes, Miltec's sales director, added, "We've had our best PLASA show - we've made substantial sales and seen lots of new faces."

Alexandra Kozub, Communications & Creative Lab at Philips Lumiblade, was equally enthusiastic, "It is the first time we've exhibited at PLASA and we made the right choice in taking part. We're really happy with the quality of visitors - the people we have seen have been serious buyers and we are extremely pleased."

Clay Paky's Pio Nahum echoed the views of many, "The show has been very good. We had a very strong attendance, and our stand was always full of people with our range of new products being extremely well received."

Core Lighting's Nick Letheren reported a vibrant event, "It's been a very good show. We've had some really good leads and even some potentially very big orders. We've seen higher quality people who are actively ready to purchase - and especially overseas interest."

At Martin Professional, Larry Beck said the company's new products had been "very well received. We've been ecstatic with the reception to our new product, which is our big launch here at the show. And winning a PLASA award put everybody in an even better mood. The show's been good, and as far as the quality of customer is concerned we couldn't be happier. A great premiere to our 25th anniversary next year."

GDS picked up both an Innovation Award and the Sustainability Award, and their MD Matt Lloyd was ecstatic: "The show's been phenomenally successful for us. We launched two big products and PLASA is the best place to do that, without a doubt. It's the biggest show we do, and export is a very important part of our business. At PLASA you see distributors, end users, designers and specifiers from across the world - it's excellent."

Highlite International's Malcolm Burlow, said, "The show for us was our best for 10 years, the quality of trade leads has gone up, such a more diverse range of potential new business. We look forward to being back in 2012."

Richard Ferriday, brand development manager at Midas, had the happy problem of contending with large crowds for the company's various product launches. "It's been a fantastic show for us. We launched three new products and had a crowd of people around the consoles throughout the show. We were taking orders constantly and had people from across the world - it's been a really good mix of people."

Karl Christmas at Yamaha commented, "We've seen a good mix of pan-European attendees and it's good to see that there is still a lot of interest out there despite the economic woes. From a pan-European perspective, PLASA is viewed as an important show with a fair amount of international coverage as well."

Vincenzo Borrelli, Cadac's international sales manager, was savouring the launch of the company's new live sound console. "This is our first PLASA Show with the new product ranges and it's been exciting. The response from the press, the public and our distributors and retailers has been awesome. The show for us has been heaving and I wasn't able to leave the stand for three days - so I think that's the mark of how good a show it is."

Jiri Baros at Robe commented, "PLASA is a very international show covering all parts of the world, and the response to our new products has been great - we've taken significant orders for some of them, so we're very happy."

Simon Smith, sales director for Christie EMEA, was enjoying the positive response to the company's projection demonstration and to its innovative new display system: "In terms of footfall through the stand we've been consistently busy. Our stand has created a lot of interest, and we met a lot of end users at PLASA."

Richard Moreles, a video technician at London's Barbican Theatre, had visited the show partly to check out new products, but also had an eye on the seminar programme. "I think the whole seminar programme is a great thing to have, and considering that the whole industry's here it's a great opportunity to hear the thoughts of people that you wouldn't if you were just looking at products."

Sophie Atkinson adds, "The strength of the PLASA Show, its vibrant atmosphere, its supporting programme of events and the fact that so many exhibitors choose it as their new product launchpad, underlines its importance in the international marketplace.

"Take up for next year is already very strong, we're already working on the next generation of ideas and we're looking forward to a great PLASA 2012."

The PLASA Show returns to Earls Court from Sunday 9 to Wednesday 12 September 2012.

(Jim Evans)



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