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Earth Centre, Doncaster


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I visited this place recently, they have one particular gallery that is an AV spectacular, very atmospherically lit etc.


The guidance notes talk about a rainbow of hope finale' and as it is a 12 minute show, I hung around to see it (twice, I came back later).


There are a couple of monster profiles (presumably xenon), one of which lit a large diffraction type reflector on the wall, which does indeed produce a colour spectrum across the central exhibit. However, there is a circular shallow tray with a pipe in the middle of it, with a complimentary disk hanging limply down to a foot or so above it. Is there something missing? Is it a water effect?


It also appeared that certain bits should have rotated on turntables but were not.


Anyone got more insight on it? Maybe someone here was the LD!



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The lighting designer was Don Holder (LD of Lion King).


The whole creative team for "the Earth Gallery" as it was originally known came from New York.


The project was one of those typical "theatre meets the construction industry" fiascos with events such as the H & S rep insisting the installation team kept their hard hats on whilst they had their heads inside the dimmers during the installation process. True to construction industry norm the project over ran by several weeks if not months which caused a great deal of frustration for all concerned who were used to "the show must go on attitude".


The particular effect you are talking about are some very, very expensive Xenon projectors that were brought in from the USA (I think).


I haven't been there since it first opened a few years ago so I am not sure what state the "show" is in but it was certainly very impressive (if difficult to follow) - if you want more technician details I will fish out the file.


I can't work out what the possible water effect is but certainly a lot of the "exhibits" (that are made of glass panels) were supposed to rotate. However this did cause a bit of a problem with the reflections of the emergency exit signs making it very difficult to work out where they actually were if you can follow my drift.

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Digging out the file would be appreciated, thanks.


To set the scene, it is a very large rectangular room (maybe 150' x 70', 20' high) with a number of "exhibits". Three of the exhibits are large horizontally split fibreglass ball type things with smaller pods inside that look at first glance as though they are filled with rubbish. They are very organic looking and they have various naked lamps inside that gently pulsate and throb. Most of the others are high rectangular panels consisting of metal frames bridged with organic looking items- fishes, mammals, dead dogs etc. They look like papier mache (but probably aren't). There are some cut away ones with heath-robinson type innards inside. Each metal frame is sandwiched between two huge sheets of plate glass (some frosted) & some of them are deep enough that they can be walked through under the stuff above.


Most things are lit from above and below. Everything has a large, backlit, angled display panel with interesting earth facts in it- however the facts are often only tenuously linked to what you are looking at.


There are a number of LCD wall & floor projectors and an interesting soundtrack. In the centre of the exhibit, a number of panels are arranged in a circle and there is a balustrade circling most of it. This circular area looks as though it is a turntable. There are a huge number of pinspots above the rim and at one point there is a multi-channel chase effect. The 2 massive xenon spots (which are bigger than Patt 808s or the size of Troupers) shine onto a massive diffraction plate which has to be 5' diameter- although only one xenon lit up and the beam was only 1 1' oval offset from the centre. (The plate is actually cranked so that the right half is at an angle, the left half parallel).


There didn't appear to be scrollers in use & a predominent gel colour was light cyan with deep red on occasions.


In the centre of the big turntable was the shallow tray (perhaps 10' diameter, 3" deep) with what looked like a buried shell tube in the middle! From the grid something was dangling above the flowerpot. I thought this might have been a removed water feature to coincide with the rainbow effect.


Other than the grid and trussing, everything looks as though it is from the hands of an artist rather than an engineer.


Near the exit, one final panel appeared to be on a turntable as well. Nothing moved though.



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No, it wasn't.


I think the earth Centre gallery may have had the design simplifies somewhat- the bridge of lights or whaterver it is called has gone, & the prism device looks fixed to the wall, unlike in the school trip photos

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