Harnessing something as elusive as the human imagination to create a set that will complement and enhance a dramatic production is every stage designer’s goal. Needless to say, well used stage effects will give every production that extra polish that greatly reflects on the artistes’ abilities.
Unfortunately, many theatre groups commonly find themselves saddled with obsolete equipment for their stagecraft. To start with, of course, they don’t own any theatre house and I bet very few are thinking along those lines. Most theatres in existent are of course monuments of our history for which not many would quite countenance to bring them down for the sake of modernizing.
But this is not to say that sections of them cannot be “touched”. The accessories and consumables for this old equipment are now hard to come by. I would not be entirely surprised if one our recently graduated electrician were to raise his arms in surrender were he to be asked to do a re-wiring job at, say, the “Little Theatre Club – Mombasa” (established in the 1930’s). Inevitably, costs for maintaining and/or hiring equipment for the good old theatre will continue to soar.
Producers need to get more pro-active in partnership with theatre managers in sourcing for modern day stage technology. Without a doubt, these accessories are now manufactured in a wide range of sophistication and at much lower prices - products covering all types of stage lighting, dimmers, moving lights, smoke machines, architectural lighting lamps, colour changing lanterns, video projectors, screens, star clothes, flame clothes… all with user-friendly modern control panels. Search and you’ll well be surprised to find that the friendly good old “dukawalla” that has been your supplier for a generation or so, has actually been ripping you.