Robe Flies High With Zip Zap Circus School

New Robe lighting fixtures have been installed in the Cape Town home venue of South Africa’s renowned and innovative Zip Zap

Zip Zap is a registered non-profit organisation, a circus school, a performance and technical training facility as well as being active in a number of youth outreach programmes, all aimed at taking the magic of circus and performance – together with all the elements involved with its presentation – and encouraging, enhancing and enriching people’s lives with the possibilities of confidence, inspiration and self-development.

The new lighting in the Zip Zap Dome has been made possible by Robe and its South African distributor DWR, who have come on-board as technical sponsors.

Robe’s CEO Josef Valchar, who is passionate about supporting the arts and particularly programs and companies interested in training and sharing skills, visited Zip Zap  earlier in the year and discussed ways in which Robe could get involved with Founder and Artistic Director, Brent van Rensburg.

Says Josef, “I have known about Zip Zap’s work for some time and always been hugely impressed by their energy, enthusiasm and the positive effects it has on all around them. I am delighted that we are able to assist in a practical way by supplying lights, and that our products will also provide learning opportunities for those on the technical training schemes”.


The two Robe DLX Spots and 24 x Robe LEDForce PAR 18s were specified by Malo  McGrath from Johannesburg based installation company, The Art of Noise and DWR’s Duncan Riley.

Malo has worked with Zip Zap since 1995, and is currently helping to develop their on-going technical training programmes which operate in addition to the circus and performance skills schools and opportunities … offering yet more outlets for more potential talents to shine.


He has also known Duncan Riley for many years. The two of them measured up the Dome and the performance area, listened to the very specific requirements of lighting circus as a performance genre … and produced a lighting design based on all these parameters.

They were keen on using LED fixtures for their energy saving properties, sustainability and their low on-going maintenance.

The DLX Spot has all the features expected from a premium spot fixture and is perfect for theatre and circus applications as are the small and very lightweight LEDForce PAR 18, which has superior shadowless colour mixing. 

The final link in the chain was when Josef rubber-stamped the sponsorship, and the kit was dispatched to DWR from the Czech Republic.


Brent explains, “It is fantastic to have the new lighting and it will make a huge difference to the drama and effect of our productions”.

He adds, “Both Robe and DWR have been amazing in their support and dedication to ensuring the kit is appropriate and also set up correctly to light our shows and function for the training. We were keen to embrace LED lighting for all the benefits it brings and because it’s a technology of the future.”


“Apart from that, both Robe and DWR embrace our philosophies, share our vision and are harmonious with our aims and ambitions”.

Zip Zap Circus produces approximately 50 shows a year in the Cape Town dome and numerous touring shows, both around South Africa and internationally. Their current five programmes in operation include two outreach programmes dedicated to children living with HIV in the Khayelitsha Township, Cape Town.

Many Zip Zap performers and trainees who started there are also enjoying professional careers worldwide.

An Avolites Tiger Touch control console is also part of the new lighting package from DWR.

The Dome structure is provided by staging company In2Structures and leading SA rental company and technical services provider Gearhouse South Africa has supported Zip Zap over the last 14 year in various ways.