Pamela Raith

It’s Child’s Play for WL on Groan Ups UK Tour

Created by the Olivier Award-winning Mischief Theatre, Groan Ups is a brand-new comedy that looks at just what it means to ‘grow up’. Following an unruly class of six-year-olds, the show asks how far we choose who we become, or whether our paths are already written. The show initially ran in London’s West End at the Vaudeville Theatre and has now embarked on a UK Tour. Having worked on previous Mischief shows including Magic Goes Wrong, The Comedy About a Bank Robbery and Mischief Movie Nights, White Light (WL) was approached once again to supply the lighting equipment on this production. 



The lighting designer for Groan Ups is Christopher Nairne, who comments: “Groan Ups has all the brilliantly-written comic farce that you would expect from the company behind The Play That Goes Wrong; but it combines this with some affectionate nostalgia, and even has a moral message at its heart. In that sense, it pretty much has something for everyone!”.



Having lit the initial West End production back in 2019, Christopher was keen for the touring version to stay faithful to his original design. He comments: “As always, we collaborated as a creative team to pull together a cohesive look for the show. Each act of the play is set in the same classroom (but in different years), so the important thing was to get a bright, reasonably naturalistic feel that was adaptable to the set walls changing configuration. For example, Act 3 uses only half the playing area of Act 1, and so has half the number of overhead units at its disposal, but we needed it not to feel like a darker room than where the show began.”











The show tours through venues of various sizes, and it has to be fitted up and focused in a single day; all of which were important factors when selecting the rig with WL’s Customer Service team. Christopher explains: “The rig is based largely around MAC Viper Performances, with 13 of them positioned overhead as cover and another three being used for Front of House specials. These fixtures were able to provide the shuttering capabilities we needed for the different configurations of the set walls, without blowing the budget! I used 4 MAC Auras – also Front of House – to provide additional specials, as well as 12 ETC ColourSource Spots to provide a full near-to-stage cover from pros ladder positions.



Christopher continues: “In terms of generics, I used 10 Source Four Profiles to provide a range of specials, along with an additional 18 house units in each venue for general cover; then there were five 1K fresnels and 15 par cans providing a range of door and window backlights. Not forgetting the 2 mirror balls (both of which are offstage), and 2 Unique Hazers which run at an imperceptibly low level throughout”.



The Groan Ups UK Tour opened back in August at Theatre Royal Bath and is touring venues across the UK until March 2022, with more dates expected to be announced.



Christopher concludes: “I am, as ever, very grateful to WL for their support: helping us to meet the challenges of touring without compromising what we had created in the West End. I’d also like to say thanks to my talented Programmer David Ayton. More than anything, however, I am eternally indebted to my amazing Production Electrician and Relighter Teresa Nagel, whose diligence and achievements every Monday are nothing short of heroic”.