Margus Ruhno

Robe Specified for Tallinn Salme Cultural Centre

The Tallinn Salme Cultural Centre is one of the Estonian capital’s largest cultural institutions, and usually a busy hub of activity for concerts and live entertainment shows as well as hosting conferences and events.

Recently, the venue has invested in 20 x Robe T1 Profile moving lights and 18 x Tetra2 moving LED battens which were specified by head of lighting, Margus Ruhno, and delivered by Robe’s Estonian distributor, E&T.

The additional equipment is needed to support the venue’s increasingly busy programme, although there are currently no performances due to closure amidst the pandemic. 

The main hall audience seats 624, and on the third floor, the old Dance Studio has been replaced by two new Black Box theatre spaces, both around 170 square metres and each with a capacity of 150. There is a huge demand for this style and spec of theatre space in Estonia and they are used to stage a diverse selection of works.

The Tallinn Salme Cultural Centre’s spacious lobby can also accommodate almost 500 people and café rooms in the basement area can be configured to seat a further 80-100 and include a kitchen and multiple utility rooms. For events, several adjacent and auxiliary rooms can also be utilised allowing for theatre performances, conferences and large-scale festivals or other events based in the city centre to be hosted there.

With these new black box spaces coming onstream, additional lighting kit was needed to use there and throughout the building.

The construction work has continued apace during the closure and has also included replacement of the main hall’s electrical systems.

When they started the search for additional fixtures, Margus – who has worked at Tallinn Salme Cultural Centre since 2006 and also lights productions for other theatres and organisations as a freelance LD – consulted with an assortment of lighting companies and theatres.

“All confirmed that the T1 / Tetra2 combination is reliable new technology in addition to being a versatile choice for a full range of shows and events,” he stated.

Apart from the general reliability of Robe, he was impressed that the T1 was such an accurate and precise luminaire that can be “framed and shaped exactly as needed. It is highly effective for any performance.” The T1 is specifically designed and engineered with the demands of theatre in mind.

He likes the functionality and flexibility of the T1 with its many different features and options, and likewise with the Tetra2 where its zoom capabilities make it hugely more adaptable than a standard LED batten. 

The new Robes will be used across all the performance genres staged in the space, and Margus thinks it will be a favourite for precise key’ing and for specials as well as for colour, effects and creating atmosphere.

He has used Robe products in his work before, but not the T1 as they are not widely found in Estonia. He observes that larger productions visiting the Tallinn Salme Cultural Centre will often bring in their own lighting rigs, which will frequently contain Robe.

“From my own experiences, Robe has always been a great choice for reliability, good build quality and the offering of many creative possibilities,” he concludes.

The building work is still being finished off at the venue, and right now, no-one is certain when venues in Estonia might be re-opening for business post-Covid! “We are all hoping that the upgrades here will be well received, and that we can start produce shows and welcome more people through the doors again soon so all the future productions can benefit from the changes and new fixtures.”