Claypaky Is On The A Team For Ed Sheeran
World – The Claypaky Scenius Unico and Claypaky Mythos2 have been selected by award-winning lighting and production designer Mark Cunniffe and lighting director Matt Jones as the workhorse fixtures for Ed Sheeran in his current record-breaking worldwide tour.
Cunniffe has been working with Ed since the artist began touring in 2011, developing a close creative partnership that has evolved over time as the star’s music has spread to reach international acclaim.
“The first thing that we created for Ed was so small it fitted into the back of a truck,” says Cunniffe. “Since then the shows have grown to reflect Ed’s natural career progression. For this tour, we wanted a show that could go from arena to stadium. We wanted it to play as wide as it possibly could.”
To achieve this, Cunniffe designed a goblet-shaped set, fondly named ‘the chalice’ by the designer who worked closely with production manager Chris Marsh and Jeremy Lloyd from international technical production practice, Wonder Works, in blue-printing the construction of the concept.
The chalice comprises five curved video screens that begin at stage level and run up a central stem to flare out to create a live stage ‘ceiling’ of video and light before curving upward again to form a top rim. The structure was engineered by Tait Industries.
Between each of the video screens forming the chalice’s ceiling is a triangular pod – there are four in total – containing 10 Mythos2. Each pod moves in and out of the set via a Kinesys system recommended by UK rental experts Light Control Rigging (LCR). LCR, operated and owned by Mike Oates and Ryan Hopkins, worked in collaboration with US outfit SES to supply all the lighting fixtures, control, cable and crew for the duration of the World Tour.
“The new Clay Paky fixtures are brilliant,” says Oates. “They are very reliable. We needed fixtures that were tough and durable and able to withstand getting shipped all over the world. The Claypaky range have a wonderful colour mixing system and consistent bright output across all fixtures which helps give the show the impact it needs.”
Cunniffe also cites the size of Claypaky fixtures in being instrumental in his decision to select them, “With the Mythos2 I knew I could hang the fixture on its side,” says Cunniffe. “It is relatively light and it can fit through an aperture. I can hide 30% to 40% of the unit behind the structure and you just see the aperture and the lens. It looks as though it’s built into the production, as opposed to being hung on it.”
As well as supplying the 128 Mythos2, LCR supplied the 32 Scenius Unico, 16 of which are hidden in the mother gird in four trusses of four, with a further four fixtures positioned on either side of the stage.
“When the lighting pods come in, upstage of that are four linear trusses with 24 of the Scenius Unicos that shine through the holes,” says Cunniffe. “However, you can’t see source, as the source is 56ft high. What you can see are the beams of light. It’s a secondary level of lighting that’s not visible.”
Discussing why he chose Claypaky’s multi-functional Spot and Wash light, Cunniffe says, “The Scenius Unico is the midpoint between theatre and rock and roll, so it has a bright beam, it’s at least twice the size of the Mythos and it has full shuttering. I think the Scenius Unico is a fantastic stadium profile, because it’s so bright and has such an advanced shuttering system. It just has a bigger presence.”
Following his headline slot at Glastonbury 2017, the US leg of the tour will commence in Kansas City on 29 June. The artist’s third studio album, Divide, has reached number one in 14 countries.