Saturday morning I was finally able to talk with Cirque. I asked them a few questions and this is how they answered:

 

What kind of automation is essential to your productions/ the most useful?

  • Safe Automation is always essential and each show is different and therefore requires different automation

Is any of the automation you use affordable to a university?

  • Most automation we use is custom and can cost anywhere from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars.

How much maintenance does your automation require?

  • 10-12 hrs a week, friday morning inspections, and inspections every time we set it up or tear it down.

How are your productions so seamless without any interruptions from scene changes or shifts?

  • Automation.

 

Cirque also pointed me to Stage Technologies. Stage Technologies is a company from which Cirque buys some of its automation. Stage Technologies told me about their PC Wing, a compact training and programming desk. This desk is used to train students to use the latest automation applications. It is also can be used to provide in house instruction for staff in state-of-the-art technology. Trainees can work on the same control interface used in some of the live performance industry’s most popular control desks. (Paraphrased from PC Wing: compact training and programming desk handout.)

One of the Stage Technologies representatives pointed out an interesting way to create low budget “automation.” ┬áHe said if you don’t have a large budget then you could rig flats or scenery to a curtain traveller. I hope to implement this into a production in a future semester.