From the Archives

I found this photo from the archive (well bottom desk drawer) – the first theatre automation desk I worked on – installed at the Baribican Theatre in 1981 (the 2nd automation system installed in the UK). My first job in theatre was maintaining this beast (3.5m long, 1.2m High and 1m deep – all full of electronics). Custom built from TTL logic, and positioning systems from a Chieftain tank. Could run up to 12 bars (from 24 patched in), with 2 programmable target positions, and 2 presets. . Note the use of colour (Red, yellow, green and blue) for the playbacks – it’s been a feature of desks Ive been involved in designing ever since. Looking forward to launching the new XDesk at ABTT in 2 weeks time, somewhat smaller than this one – but still with those colour playbacks (though in a different order). Do come along and see the latest iteration of theatre automation.

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