Jonathan Rouse is a highly experienced lighting designer and programmer, and since
2013 he has been working on Robbie Williams’ tours. Currently, he is touring as
lighting director and programmer for The Heavy Entertainment Show Tour based on
the great lighting design of Mark Cunniffe.

After working with Mark and the design team putting together the show, from the
specification of equipment through to placement, Jonathan programs and focuses the
lighting and operates from rehearsals through to each and every performance with a
creative freedom to make the looks of the show.

Working with brightness and colours

Working with an abundance of SGM LED luminaires (119 G-4 Wash-Beams, 250
SixPacks and 180 Q-7s) for this tour, Jonathan had a familiar fixture of preference on
his hands -the multipurpose and super bright Q-7: “I love the Q-7 – it’s bright, light
and aesthetically pleasing. The fact there is no loss in output is great – turn it on and
there it stays; so much light with so little power.

I used several hundred Q-7 strobes on Beyonce’s Formation World Tour last year,
which obviously looked hugely impressive. They’re just as good as I remembered
them, and much like that previous tour, the strobe needed to be waterproof, so there
was only one company to look at. I’m not aware of another company offering
waterproof LED colour changing strobes!’

Working with innovation

On the other hand, the G-4 Wash-Beam was a completely new fixture to Jonathan.
Having been developed by SGM on request by Mark Cunniffe for this exact purpose,
the G-4 Wash-Beam had a very specific role in the design.

Mark explains: “I needed a small, bright, PC lens wash light that would give me a
great beam of light while in an IP65-rated housing. I have an aversion to light inside
domes in outdoor situations, and the G-4 Wash-Beam was the perfect answer to my
design parameters.’

Jonathan adds: “The G-4 Wash-Beams are stunning, able to side key dancers and use
them as accents or blinders and beam effect lights. I think they’re great; so light in
weight and yet waterproof. I have not a negative thing to say about these – they’re
rock solid.

All the SGM fixtures are great; they’re super bright and reliable. They also all produce
a good variety of colours right down to very low levels, which is always key. Some
songs we just have the strobes on at like a 3% glow, but then bump to full for accents
– and the colour doesn’t change. Things like that are critical in my opinion.’

Working with LED lights

LED lights are driving down the requirements for power supply, and this highly affects
the large-scale international entertainment shows – such as The Heavy Entertainment
Show Tour.

Jonathan states: “There obviously has been a drop in power over the years – and it’s
largely due to the emergence of LED in our market – just think about running 800
Xenon strobes each peaking at around 30A and then 2A for a Q-7. I think there has
been a huge drop in power requirements – fewer generators and less diesel for them.’

No tour goes without the general challenges related to touring. In this case, the set
design had a special focus on minimising the visibility of the lamps in use while
maintaining their full effect. Therefore, special mountings were made. Another
challenge is the unsettled weather of Europe, why IP-rating and reliability were key
and why SGM fixtures were chosen. In order to overcome every challenge along the
way, a great crew is needed – and leading this crew is production manager Steve
Iredale and lighting crew chief Jonathan “Sel’ Sellers.

Working with a passion for lights

People in the industry each seem to have their reasons for why they find it
compelling, and when speaking about it, it is not hard to notice a certain passion
about lights.
Jonathan Rouse is a very skilled lighting professional, but what underlies these skills
derives from emotions arising when programming, operating and designing with

“I love music, and I love lighting and creating moods and environments for artists to
perform in. I can’t explain what goes through my mind and body when I am sat in
rehearsals and have a complete rig, and start to play a track and begin playing with
looks and effects and focusses, to find a feel – a vibe – an emotion in the lighting that
complements the music; it’s just great. Then articulating all the little nuances in the
music and just building and building until there’s this complete symphony of light,
which fits perfectly to the music. It’s just the best – I love that creative process, and
then when you get the artist rehearsing or performing, and you get all of their energy
– it’s like a drug… I’m a very lucky person to be able to do what I enjoy and work with
some of the world’s leading artists,’ Jonathan concludes.