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Over the past twelve months Pearce Hire has been working on an intricate and very different style of project from what they are most known for. This time last year, the theatre group 'Shakespeare at The George' got in touch to ask for Pearce Hire's expertise in project managing and building a bespoke temporary stage set for their annual performances. But it is no ordinary stage set as the production takes place outdoors in the middle of an olde English Inn in the heart of Huntingdon, Cambs, that dates back to Cromwell's time.
Pearce Hire were charged with producing a solid and reliable temporary stage system for use in an environment akin to how it would have been in Shakespeare's time. With the intricacies and detail of a Jacobean Courtyard to contend with, it was certainly not going to be a simple straightforward installation of standard stage components.
Explains Richard Brown of 'Shakespeare at The George', 'We had been struggling for a couple of years to find a solution for replacing our loyal but very worn wooden, cumbersome stage structure, and a chance meeting with Pearce Hire seemed to answer all our problems. Pearce Hire took on board from the start just how intricate this project was, but offered a solution in a calm, knowledgeable manner, and at the right price and it just instilled in us an enormous amount of confidence in their team'.
The project has involved months of technical and engineering planning, a number of detailed on-site visits to take accurate measurements and for technical trials.
The result has been a stunning, bespoke built stage set which received its inauguration this summer with a fortnight run of Macbeth in the courtyard of The George Hotel in Huntingdon, Cambs.
Working alongside Pearce Hire on the delivery of the project was Prolyte Group who manufactured a specially engineered stage which allows for the slightest change in floor level throughout the courtyard, and worked around the pillars of the 17th century listed building.
Prolyte's Nick Williams explains: 'We have always had a great business relationship with Pearce Hire via our distribution network, and so when Shaun Pearce asked use to get involved we were only too pleased to take up the challenge with them. We took our standard LiteDeck product as a start point, and then custom designed it to match the tricky requirements of the space. The reason it was so complex was because the courtyard walls were not at 90 degrees square and the stage structure required needed to fit into the exact space. So Pearce Hire had to take each measurement individually to ensure that each corner section would have some tolerance, and fit perfectly. It also had to be designed to avoid disruption to the day-to-day working of the hotel during the time it was in situ. All in all, it was an unusual request of a temporary demountable structure and accuracy was critical.'
Richard Brown sums it up: 'Pearce Hire and Prolyte have provided a performing area that is safe, durable, easy to construct and de-rig, and will last us for many years. Throughout the project they were accommodating, very professional and kept us up-to-date on progress at all times. It is a fantastic stage to act on and it made an enormous difference to the cast. I wouldn't hesitate in recommending Pearce Hire to any other amateur dramatic company with a similar challenge, and we are hoping for an ongoing relationship with them for any future requirements'.
In conclusion, Simon Maylor, Publicity Trustee for Shakespeare at the George was delighted to report that the stage was dismantled in just one and a half hours, rather than a whole day with the previous structure. 'Fitting the stage into the exact space that we have to work with at The George is a work of genius'.
Pearce Hire are proud to have been involved in the recent launch of Princess Cruises' latest addition to their fleet - the Royal Princess.
The cruise ship's naming ceremony and christening took place in June in Southampton, and was the Duchess of Cambridge's last solo official engagement before the birth of Prince George in July.
Pearce Hire was contracted to provide all the production and show power for the event, including a pair of synchronised 300kVA sets for the audio, screen, lighting and requirements for outside broadcast from a significant press contingent.
Pearce Hire also supplied a 40kVA generator for the outside production offices and temporary workshops which were set up on site specifically for the ship's naming ceremony.
Security was of course of paramount importance given the VIP guest list, and security and late night working were all managed under tower-lights provided by Pearce Hire.
With an extensive crew on site for the build up to the naming ceremony, lighting and power distribution were also required for a large crew catering marquee, additional lighting and power distribution in the main terminal for the event organising team and press facilities.
With a global audience and high levels of security throughout the build-up and official launch event, there were high levels of expectation for a faultless delivery from Pearce Hire and other contractors within a tight time schedule. All of which was achieved in time for the arrival of the Duchess of Cambridge.
The key project manager for Pearce Hire was Dan Shelton who oversaw the project from start to completion.
Photographs courtesy of Graham Carlow. Check our Facebook page for more images.
As spring turns to summer, so the busiest time of the year kicks off for Peterborough based production and rental company Pearce Hire.
Alongside working for a number of new clients and some high profile one-off's that have taken place over recent weeks, Pearce Hire is in the midst of producing a series of events for some long standing and loyal customers.
Earlier in the year, Shaun Pearce and his team were involved in an extensive tender process to secure long-term contracts with a number of key clients including the Forestry Commission, the Cambridge Folk Festival, and Warners Group Publications Plc . Pearce Hire's connections with these organisations stretch back many years and the tender process has led to contract renewals all round. And it is the resulting events which are in part responsible for the busy weeks ahead.
Forest Live is a series of concerts run at 7 different Forestry Commission sites around the country over nine weekends in June and July. The events take place with a backdrop of beautiful woodland and forests, and the Pearce Hire team help deliver a temporary infrastructure whilst preserving the natural environments they are working in. Pearce Hire's project manager John Huson explains: 'Our involvement extends back 12 years when Forest Live was a far smaller proposition than it is now, and has increased over the years to a point where we supply all power distribution and site lighting to all seven sites, as well as the lighting rigs.
'We are required to meet the demands of several different artists across the various events, who this year include Paloma Faith, Blondie, The Script, Jessie J and Paul Weller to name a few. To achieve this we draw on our extensive inventory including Martin, Robe and i-Pix lighting fixtures, Chamsys control, and our own bespoke power distribution system. One of the most challenging parts of the project is running two identical systems in different locations for the first three weekends, but our investment over the years has meant we supply both rigs in their entirety whilst also delivering production needs for our other customers at the same time.'
One of the growing challenges since Pearce Hire started working for the Forestry Commission is the issue of event sustainability. But they rate highly in these credentials, as Huson explains ' We have made a number of changes to demonstrate sustainable practice, and over the past 5 years, mainly through the introduction of LED fixtures, we have reduced the total power consumption of the Forest Live lighting rig by over 45%. Power consumption and carbon emissions have also been positively impacted by the use of lower wattage discharge fixtures across all the site lighting and also ensuring that site lighting fixtures are switched off during the daytime.'
David Barrow from DB Event Services is part of the Forestry Commission's Forest Live National Team handling programming, production and licensing for the series of concerts. He has had a long working relationship with Pearce Hire stretching back 23 years and is delighted that Pearce Hire's bid at the beginning of the year proved successful. 'A major part of the success of the Forest Live programme is that our key production suppliers have remained the same and Pearce Hire's team have been a crucial part of this. They are spot on with their services and equipment and their delivery is second to none. The tour is a logistical 'beast' as we are running back-to-back sites at times. The production is a well oiled machine as it moves across the UK to the next sites so the set-up is 100% the same at each site. The Forest Live shows have certainly grown from strength to strength since their inception in 2001 and Pearce Hire deserve credit for being a part of that success.'
Rachael Miller, Events Manager for the Forestry Commission couldn't agree more and is clear on why they have renewed the contract with Pearce Hire for the next 5 years, commenting 'I'm very happy that Pearce Hire have successfully tendered to supply our events until 2017. They have extensive experience on this type of outdoor event, and combined with their huge amount of stock this means they are able to deliver a complete service, as well as respond to inevitable last minute changes. Their staff are valued members of our onsite teams and everyone works together to deliver the events.'
Forest Live kicked off three weeks ago with Blondie, Paloma Faith and James performing at Thetford Forest and Paloma Faith and Blondie performing at Sherwood Pines Forest Park. Other sites include Bedgebury National Pinetum, Dalby Forest, Cannock Chase Forest, Delamere Forest and Westonbirt Arboretum.
Photograph: Marquis Toliver (support act for Paloma Faith) on stage at Thetford Forest, Friday 14th June 2013. Photo copyright Duncan Ireland Photography.