Jake Wiltshire/Sounds and Sorcery.

White Light Offers Fantasia Lighting to Sounds and Sorcery

Inspired by the classic 1940 Disney film, Sounds and Sorcery – Celebrating Disney Fantasia has recently opened at The Vaults. Coinciding with the year Mickey Mouse celebrates his 90th anniversary, the show is a brand-new immersive experience which invites audience members to step beneath Waterloo Station and explore the worlds of prehistoric wastelands, enchanted forests and even the Sorcerer’s Lair. Having supplied many shows at the venue, along with the annual VAULT Festival, White Light was called upon to provide the lighting equipment for this ambitious production.

The Lighting Designer for Sounds and Sorcery – Celebrating Disney Fantasia is Jake Wiltshire. He comments: “The show is a multi-sensory, immersive experience in which audience members wear headphones and roam freely around a collection of live performances, installations and video – all set to music. My brief was to ‘create music you could see and images you could hear’. With a production like this, there’s nowhere to hide. The audience are literally on the stage so you can’t ask them to ‘find their light’. Whatever you create has to be inclusive and work from every angle. As a result, I worked closely with the Designer Kitty Callister to create a very organic relationship between the themes of each room, the technology and the dramatic subtleness”.

With the show taking audiences into the many worlds of Fantasia, this meant that Jake had to make his design bespoke for each individual section. He explains: “In The Rite of Spring, which is portrayed as a visual journey through the Earth’s creation, we use large three dimensional volcanoes to tell the narrative of the story. The volcanoes are all lit internally with a plethora of moving lights, LED par cans and LED pixel neons; all of which are timed with colour and movement in order to narrate the music. At the end of the room is a giant Sun created from 40 par cans of varying size. There’s something quite beautiful and contrasting against the organic  illuminating volcanoes of a warm tungsten industrial light fixture representing the dawn of a new age.

He adds: “In The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, the room is lit only by DMX controlled candles, allowing the Sorcerer to magically manipulate the flames around the room. I wanted to find a way to mimic the original cartoon’s dream sequence where the apprentice plays with shooting stars, light beams and giant waves. This drew me to use the Ayrton Magic Dot for a choreographed light sequence where the performer controls three dimensional beams of light across the audience, raising it to a crescendo of chaos. In other rooms, we’ve concealed LED pixels inside mushrooms to create a choreographed mushroom dance alongside LED neons under a frozen pond for an ice skating fairy routine. There are also hundreds of handmade practicals including 80 birdies, over 100 pendant light bulbs and not forgetting the many, many  haze and smoke machines including 4 x Chauvet Geysers, 11 x Unique Hazers, 2 x Low Foggers and even a bubble machine”.

With the production taking place within an underground space, this was another factor that Jake had to consider for his design. He comments: “As The Vaults space is underground, heat and humidity is a big issue. Therefore, as much of the rig as possible needed to be LED; primarily for heat but also for maintenance reasons. It’s no surprise then that we used over 100m of LED pixel neon and over 1km of RGBW LED tape. It was a very unique space of cavernous tunnels and it’s no mean feat moving a lighting console around a site that has gravel floors, a volcanic landscape and dense woodland!”.

The show has now opened and will run until 30th September in what is a limited Summer run.

Jake comments: “The entire project was epically adventurous and I could not have achieved it without the calm professionalism of Sarah Readman, our amazing Production Electrician, not to mention my Programmer and Associate LD, Robert Price and Production Manager, Andy George. The team also included two fantastic WL apprentices, who were such valuable hands to have and a testament to how good the apprenticeship scheme at WL is”.

WL’s Business Development Manager Jonathan Haynes comments: “This was a fantastic production for us to work on and we are delighted to have been involved. Sounds and Sorcery is unlike any other show running in London and it was great to support Jake and bring his very specific lighting vision to life”.