Alfred University’s new Miller Theatre has opened in Alfred, New York with a pair of Robert Juliat Topaze followspots that Zachary Hamm, technical director for the Division of Performing Arts, calls “the best spotlights I’ve ever used.”
Barbizon Lighting NY was the integrator and supplier for the theatre, working with Milford, OH’s Beck Studios, which was responsible for the venue’s rigging. The Miller Theatre is the latest addition to the Miller Performing Arts Center, which features the C.D. Smith III Flexible Theatre, a black-box space, The Rod Brown Acting Studio, dance and instrumental music rehearsal halls, a scene shop, and faculty offices.
The new proscenium theatre is a multifunctional venue designed to host larger theatre, dance and music performances. Both the Performing Arts Center, which opened in 1995, and the new theatre are the gifts of Dr. Marlin Miller, class of 1954 and former chair and current member of the Board of Trustees. The 498-seat Miller Theatre has a stage measuring 3,000 square feet with a three-section lift at the front of the stage; the area above the stage is 49.5 feet high with a series of computer-controlled battens attached to the building’s I-beams. Moveable concert shells can be used to change the shape of the space.
The theatre “is a bit of a challenging space since it has to meet different needs, all of which have different lighting requirements,” Hamm said. “We love the Topaze followspots. They are very quiet and don’t get as hot as others I’ve used. Their ease of movement is great, and they work well in a tripod system.
“The most unique feature of the Topaze fixtures is the ability to fade the light intensity, which you can’t do on most spots.”
Robert Juliat’s Topaze followspots supplement the theatre’s inventory of conventional and moving fixtures and 200 dimmers. The Topaze 1200W MSD followspot is a heavy-duty yet compact fixture with a high-performance double condenser optical system. It offers a 100 percent closing iris with backplate follower in a removable cassette; a 100 percent closing mechanical dimmer; an ‘A’-size movable gobo holder; and a six-way color changer system filled with removable filter frames.
The new fixtures were used in the theatre’s inaugural event, the Brian Brooks Moving Company’s performance of “MOTOR,” and will be tapped for an upcoming production of Tennessee Williams’s “A Streetcar Named Desire.”
David Weiss of Charlottesville, VA served as theatre consultant for both the Performing Arts Center and the Miller Theatre.