By the start of the 2015-2016 school year, Marlborough will receive its first winch system—an arrangement of pulleys that will allow the AP lighting positions, or the lights that hang from the ceiling in Caswell Hall, to be lowered down to an approximate height of four or five feet from the floor.
Performing arts instructor Doug Lowry explained that he is very excited for the system to be put into place because it will greatly increase productivity and safety.
“[The lights] don’t go anywhere right now; they’re stuck at 16 feet in the air, so to do anything––to hang a light––you have to put a ladder out, climb up, hang [the light], plug it in… [and] if there’s not a plug nearby, you’ve got to get a cable and run it to wherever that circuit is, climb down, go turn it on, climb back up, focus it, [and] color it. Then you can move on to the next light,” Lowry said.
With the new winch system, all of that work can be done from the floor instead of from a ladder. Lowry explained that this increased productivity will be useful for teaching students how lighting works; as of right now, Lowry can only teach one student at a time, for the ladders that reach the lights can only hold two people. The students who will be able to make use of the new winch system are the crew members for each Marlborough production, members of Guild, and students in Lowry’s technical theater class.
According to Lowry, Marlborough has hired ELS (Entertainment Lighting Services) to oversee the installation of the system. Lowry said that he first brought up the idea of the system to administrators around eight years ago, but as with any project, it’s taken time to finalize the plans. He added that waiting to purchase the system has also been beneficial.
“When I first asked [about the system], the technology that we’re getting [now] did not exist, so in the time it’s taken, there [have] been advancements in that technology, so now we’re able to actually utilize the more advanced technology.”