Brilliant Stages was approached in early 2017 to produce a complex multi-dimensional concert touring stage set for Robbie Williams’ The Heavy Entertainment Show Tour.

We worked for 20 weeks on the project from preliminary concept meetings to full delivery, with the first show taking place on Friday 2nd June at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester. The tour then went on a huge run of 29 dates spanning 18 countries over the summer of 2017.The designers incorporated a ‘POW’ pop art theme throughout which gave the set a bright vibrant feel and one of flamboyancy to reflect the confident character of the artist.

The mainstage consisted of the thrust, curved steps, the catwalk, the boxing arm, the transition steps, the star trap and the on-stage deck. The wider stage set consisted of the upstage and downstage ‘POW’ arches, the upstage matrix and the boxer video surrounds.

Key Features

‘POW’ Downstage Pros Arch – A stand-out feature of the set was the large jagged frame which hung over the main stage, known affectionately by the production crew as the ‘Downstage POW’. The aluminium-based structure was an ambitious piece of manufacturing which resulted in an intricate video frame. We ensured that the frame could be constructed and broken down easily to allow quick transitions between shows in the busy tour schedule.

Project Manager Matt Kaye stated, ‘The downstage arch was a very complex structure made to hold the video tiles. We knew that it had to be moved quickly between shows, so we put it on wheels and made it very modular.’

‘Also, because it was so big, we split the structure into ‘legs’ and a ‘header’ and in to an A and a B rig. This allowed us to begin set up at the next venue before the previous show had even finished.’

The downstage arch was a very complex structure made to hold the video tiles. We knew that it had to be moved quickly between shows, so we put it on wheels and made it very modular.
Matt Kaye, Project Manager

Upstage Light Matrix – With this project, all the lights were incorporated into the stage, which is not usually the case. We designed and manufactured a large light matrix which held most of the lighting fixtures for the show. The matrix was made so that each individual light could be accessed from backstage. If there was a problem during the show, the light unit had a swing open gate to allow easy replacement of bulbs.

Boxer Video Surrounds – Situated to stage left and stage right were the unmissable boxing figures of Robbie Williams. The huge frameworks acted as video surrounds which held over 200 light fixtures. We produced custom-made lighting brackets on each side with convenient quick release mounts.

Boxing Arm – Running with the theme of The Heavy Entertainment Show, there was a large inflatable boxing glove incorporated into the performance. We integrated a chair into the centre of the automated glove to allow the artist to travel 360° above the audience’s heads.

Before the Boxing Arm was needed during the show, the production team were eager to have it hidden, as a surprise to the spectators. Therefore, Brilliant Stages integrated the Boxing Arm beneath the stage decking and when the automation operators received the ‘show call’, the stage decks on the cat-walk slid back revealing the eye-catching piece to the audience

Other staging pieces that Brilliant Stages produced included the ‘POW’ Upstage Video Surround, the Main Thrust, the Curved Steps, the Catwalk, the B-Stage, the Star Trap ‘toaster’, the on-stage deck and the band risers.One of the main challenges that Brilliant Stages faced when producing this stage was the engineering of the ‘Downstage POW’.

Ben Brooks, Director at Brilliant Stages, explained, ‘Due to the sheer size of it, the engineering that was required was immense.’

‘The fact that it had to be uninterrupted video meant that there was very little room for error.’

‘Also, we had to hang the main POW structure and initially we didn’t get the hang angle that we required. So, we produced a chain-driven wind brace which allowed us to change the angle at which the POW sat above the stage; giving it more rigidity.’

Upon completion, the full stage set broke down into 12 trucks and left our base at Production Park in time for pre-tour rehearsals in Belgium.

Due to the sheer size of it, the engineering that was required was immense.
Ben Brooks, Brilliant Stages

The tour then got off to a spectacular start in Manchester on 2nd June 2017 before seeing Robbie perform to over 1.1 million fans in the UK, Ireland, Germany, France, The Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Poland, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria and Switzerland.

As the tour came to an end, Robbie announced he'd be extending it with an Australasian leg in February and March of 2018.