Caudan Arts Centre, Mauritius

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J&C Joel designed, supplied and installed a range of their stage engineering services and drapery solutions for the Caudan Arts Centre. The works were carried out working with ARUP UK theatre consultants and the main contractor General Construction Company from Mauritius.

The Caudan Arts Centre, Mauritius, is a landmark Arts and Conference venue perfect for a range of events from music concerts to film and theatre. The multi-million newly built centre opened on the 1st of December 2018 and hopes to be the stage for a new cultural scene in Mauritius.

J&C Joel began the project by supplying and installing 20 manual single purchase six-line Counterweight Sets, each with a 400KG capacity load to the venue. The Counterweight System was designed and fitted with guides for a total of 48 sets which can be easily added in the future.

Next, J&C Joel manufactured a 16m wide x 8m drop rigid safety curtain manufactured from steel sections, with Zetex fabric on the front side. In the event of a fire, the curtain would be released between the audience and the stage to ensure safety precautions in the venue are met.

J&C Joel then manufactured a pair of custom-dyed IFR Sowerby Velvet Velour (VEL700) Front of House drapes, lined with black IFR Mercury (MER025) to increase the drapes acoustic, masking and blackout properties; these measured 8m wide x 7.5m drop. In addition, J&C Joel manufactured and installed 10 stage legs and six masking borders from their Standard Wool Serge (WS001), which is a traditional choice for masking drapes. To follow, J&C Joel manufactured a white Filled Cloth Cyclorama (FIL001) measuring 16.0m wide by a drop of 7.5m, which provided an ideal backdrop for the performance space.

The drapes were attached to Triple E UniTrack systems, provided by J&C Joel, to enable portability.

Adding to the drapery package, J&C Joel designed and produced a false adjustable proscenium arch manufactured from aluminium panels, covered with black Scene and Artist Canvas (CAN005) and Standard Wool Serge (WS001) drapes, measuring 16.0m wide by a 7.5m drop. The false proscenium allowed for a variety of proscenium openings and could be flown out when required.

Accompanying the false proscenium, 20 single-stage masking flats were designed and supplied, also made from aluminium and covered with black Scene and Artist Canvas (CAN005) and Standard Wool Serge (WS001) to mask the stage wings, allowing acts to appear on the stage without being seen.

For another part of the project, J&C Joel manufactured a series of 7 stage traps fitted within the stage floor, measuring a total of 7m long x 3m wide. These allowed goods to be exhibited from below the stage.

Finally, J&C Joel designed the theatre’s orchestra pit. This was designed for multiple configurations comprising stage platforms with interchangeable legs, which could be positioned to change the area from an orchestra pit into a thrust stage extension or used at an auditorium level for extra seats to be fitted. The stage and pit platforms were supplied with various facia panels made from steel tubular frames with architectural timber finishes.

Throughout the project, J&C Joel worked closely with the main contractor Gen- eral Construction who advised and supported the engineering services that took place. A challenge of this project was the tight time frame in which it had to be completed; however, with support from General Construction and local supervised labour, the job was finished in time, ready for the opening show.

David Collier, J&C Joel’s Project Manager, added: “This was a prestigious challenge for J&C Joel, and the final result was very satisfying. I enjoyed overseeing this project and watching it transform from a concept into the grand result it is today. I believe this project highlights J&C Joel’s ability to produce magnificent stage engineering products and services, and the centre will benefit the region of Mauritius. I would like to thank General Construction and the team at Caudan Arts Centre for their help and support throughout the project.”

Christopher Payaneeanddee, from General Construction, added: “Caudan Arts Centre was a challenging project which involved many specialised and unconventional trades such as stage engineering works. We value the collaboration and determination of J&C Joel Ltd in delivering this project on time and as per the client and consultant’s specifications.”