Versatile X5 Compacts Light Up the Orange Tree

Versatile X5 Compacts Light Up the Orange Tree Tuesday February 20, 2024

The versatility of GLP’s new impression X5 Compact wash light provided a huge boost for theatre lighting designer Jonathan Chan at the Orange Tree in Richmond, south-west London.

The theatre is an intimate and experimental house, with productions staged in the round – and Chan is one of its regular creatives. He recognized the X5 Compact as being the ideal complement for the house lighting grid after seeing it action at the PLASA Show in London, and requisitioned five of the wash lights. The amount of power delivered from just seven 40W RGBL LEDs, set within each compact housing, was immediately impressive.

Brought in to light the production of Oliver Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer, directed by Tom Littler and Francesca Ellis, he was also mindful that in addition to the specific requirements for sections of the production – stretching the enlarged color palette, zoom, and dimming features to the limit – it would also need to act as a workhorse for other productions simultaneously sitting under the main show, ranging from the children’s Tiny Tim’s Christmas Carol to two Shakespearean community projects.

Of his PLASA encounter, the LD recalls: “I could see immediately how bright and punchy these fixtures were as they were focused right up to the roof amid the beaming sunlight!”

The GLP impression X5 Compact not only generates this punch but operates across an expanded color gamut. In addition to this, Jonathan Chan was impressed by the new super-fast zoom mechanics, with incredible 16:1 range running from 3.5° to 60° and smooth dimmer curves. He also commented on the zoom and dimming, and notes that the fixture was “incredibly silent, with great color mixing – especially for recreating a beautiful tungsten. I also loved the dimming curves and the smoothness of the dimming when you go from 0 to 10%.”

The LD had been able to achieve enormous impact from just five heads: “In order to supplement my heavily generic-based rig, I wanted a fixture that was bright enough with a versatile zoom range that would more importantly fit right within the tight grid, as it’s also important to ensure audience sight lines on all sides of the circle aren’t blocked by lighting fixtures.”

Exemplifying the impressive zoom range he says: “There are moments when these impression X5 Compacts have to pick out very tight bits of furniture. To be able to do this as well as conduct aerial washes was just amazing.”

Having used impression X4 Bars over the years, the LD describes himself as an “enormous fan” of GLP. “This is because I love the versatility across their products,” he says, and the X5 Compact is no exception.

The locational changes of the comedy have also tested the fixtures as the action moves from Hardcastle Hall, a stately manor house, to an ale house and then the surrounding grounds and countryside beyond. “This demanded some warmer tones which is where these fixtures came into play,” Chan continues. “Being able to deliver both the warmth and coolness made it just sensational to use, especially within the intimacy of this theatre, which is one of very few designed in the round.”

Finally, he expresses his gratitude to the assistance provided by Paul Fielder at GLP UK, as well as Chris McDonnell (production electrician and programmer), Stuart Burgess (technical director) and Priya Virdee (production technician) at the theatre.


Photo credit: Marc Brenner

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