Brilliant Stages was approached by Andrew Thornton at 24/7 Productions off the back of a successful partnership on Paloma Faith in 2018.

We worked closely with Andrew along with Nathan Taylor (set designer) and Louis Oliver (lighting designer) to turn brief into reality on four main key show elements:

- The Mainstage
- The B-Stage
- The Video Disc
- The Rose

The profile of the stage was a wonderful thing from the outset. Nathan Taylor did a fantastic job of creating a vast performance space, yet still maintaining the intimacy that the performance needed.

A key focus at Brilliant is buildability, as we are no strangers to pulling sets in and out of arenas, day in day out on tour. With this in mind, we took the original brief and split the profile into five modular sub-packages that could be built completely independently, and then rolled into final show position once complete. This really helped the set carpentry crew as they could split into teams to tackle multiple areas at the same time.

Within the heart of the mainstage is the 6’ tall tech bunker which houses the monitor mix desk, a backline area and the fully integrated nautical steps for Shawn’s grand entrance.

The surface of the mainstage is supplied by our respected, and long-term friends Harlequin Floors. They supplied us with their high-shine black vinyl flooring for the bulk of the decks and their dark grey as a feature piece around the edge of the stage which really sharpened up the set dividing zones.

The B-stage, which is used on the more intimate songs by Shawn is located further down the room and is a 6.5m diameter circle with a 3m central void for the piano lift. The lift used is a stock Brilliant type-A electric scissor lift controlled by a local pickle controller.

The 11m circular video screen provides the backdrop to the whole show. The screen flows between abstract images and heavily effected live feeds from the performance providing a great visual backdrop to the performance.

Structurally, it’s not just your standard touring video screen. The 11m diameter screen is rear braced by a lightweight frame and nine chain hoists. This allows it to be tilted forward 90degrees to become essentially a ceiling feature. To make this structurally work, we had to create a large, stiff truss frame to handle the tension and compression forces that go through the members when the piece is manipulated this way. The truss was required to be 900mm in depth to handle these forces, but the clever folding design allowed each of the 28 pieces to fold down to 300mm in depth when travelling. This allowed the whole piece to fit inside one touring truck.

To hide the square nature of video product and create the circular profile, sixteen custom pin-on fascias clad the perimeter of the piece. The 750mm wide aluminium fabrication features a 150mm wide lightbox which houses four runs of pixel mappable LED tape. This allows for some spectacular chases and effects to the edges of the screen and adds a whole other dimension. Brilliant spent a lot of well-spent time with set designer Nathan Taylor experimenting with different Perspex diffusion levels and filters to create the final desired effect.

Brilliant Stages Project Manager, Jordan Whittemore, commented:

The first time I stood back in our studio and I saw this huge screen tilt forward, and forward some more, and more, and then eventually flat, it really hit home that this was a stunning piece of engineering. The front is clad with a beautiful ROE video product which had clearly been developed over several years. We had managed to design, manufacture and integrate the complex touring frames in 6 weeks. That’s something we’re really proud of.

Standing tall above the B stage throughout the show is Shawn’s trademark Rose. To create the internally lit 10m stem we used a PVC flexible hose wrapped in fabric. This gave a 150mm void for the rope light to pulse different lighting effects and all cables to be passed up the stem to the JDC lights fixed inside the rose.

The rose is cored by a custom aluminium spool which provides the mounting points for the coloured lamps along with the mountings for each of the 42 individual petals.

Each petal was created using translucent glass fibre and gel coats which were all pulled from custom CNC’d foam moulds. In the fibre-laying process, aluminium brackets were embedded into the layers to provide a solid fixing point for the petal to the core. We chose glass fibre as it’s a lightweight, durable and malleable which ticks the desired boxes to create not only a strong structure, but something that was going to stay looking beautiful on tour.