Family Entertainment: Flying Fruit Fly’s perform with grandMA2


“Circus Under My Bed”, performed by the Flying Fruit Fly Circus, presented at The Sydney Opera House as part of the “Summer At The House” season, was lit in style by Sian James-Holland and programmed by Matt Tweddle on a grandMA2 full-size.

Circus Under My Bed provided family entertainment in a linear narrative, following the simple storyline of a young girl preparing to move away the next day. Adventures ensue when magical imaginary friends with an amazing range of physical skills visit her to help pack.


The lighting design was delivered on a tight deadline and had to share a lighting rig with another circus company who use the space in a completely different way with a very different style of show. The production was playing in repertory in the studio theatre with La Soiree performing in the evening. Repertory poses difficulties for many productions, especially circus, and certainly with in the round performance space.


“Trying to space share can be a nightmare and despite many compromises occurring throughout the process, the lighting remained unhitched in any technical issues or hold ups due to a talented programmer and the appropriate console for the job”, commented James-Holland. “Matt Tweddle and the folk at the Sydney Opera House were able to create for us a brand new show file, whilst still being able to access and utilise programming and fixture information from the other show file. This handy ability really cut down pre-programming time.”  The show required a very gentle and delicate touch in its aesthetic, subtlety highlighting, creating depth and height to aid an approachable, attractive and intelligent method of storytelling created by Jodie Farrugia, Artistic Director of the “Fruities”.


The lighting of the show itself capitalises on the grandMA2’s ability to easily and swiftly create and manipulate complex cue timing, follows and delay changes over a range of cues, individual parameters and channels whilst being able to track recorded individual timing and parameter information promptly throughout the set up process.

The grandMA2 also provided easy access to a large pool of options in the effects engine that could be suitably manipulated, updated and layered upon other effects and altered to create a suitable look for family entertainment in an intimate venue - and that proved itself to be a great time saver. Lighting plays an intricate role in the safety of circus performers. When the art of combining aesthetics with safety is implemented, many unforeseen changes frequently occur when each performer checks each lighting state of their act personally.


“Working with tight deadlines and an ever-evolving design process the grandMA2 allows a certain flexibility that few other consoles can offer with such speed and precision”, said James-Holland. “In the fray of a safety check and the many changes usually required, it is vital to be able to adapt a lighting design quickly without any hindrance from the console.”

“One of the things I love about the grandMA2 in projects such as these, is that if I lose track of my paperwork or become unclear in communication during times of great stress, such as during a lighting safety check, the layout of the grandMA2 and the ability to visually set up a console in the exact way it works best for the programmer, makes it easy for the programmer to help get you back on track. The grandMA2‘s layout and use holds the ability to create layered and intricate cues easily, whilst still holding the power and speed to handle a large moving light rig under time pressures.”
Show Technology Australia Pty Ltd is the exclusive distributor of MA Lighting in Australia.