The School for Creative & Performing Arts (SCPA) in Cincinnati, Ohio has installed four Robert Juliat Topaze followspots in Corbett Hall, its 750-seat auditorium. SCPA offers a comprehensive arts education, with full college-prep curriculum, for students K-12 in the Cincinnati Public School District. It boasts many notable graduates, its students have performed on PBS with the Cincinnati Pops and it served as the setting for a popular MTV reality series.
Corbett Hall typically hosts the school's major musicals, such as last fall's Wizard of Oz, as well as performances by students in the vocal department, orchestra and band. SCPA also offers a career technical program that trains students for jobs in the field or prepares them to go on to an arts college. Lighting design instructor Jeffrey New supervises the students who operate lighting fixtures and lighting consoles for SCPA performances.
"When I first saw Topaze I thought it would be a fantastic light to have," he recalls. "I had been talking to Bill Conner of BCA Associates in Chicago about acquiring lights with specific size, voltage and ease of use requirements because of the student operators, and Bill recommended Topaze."
Robert Juliat's Topaze 1200W MSD followspot is a heavy-duty yet compact fixture with a high-performance double condenser optical system. It offers a 100 percent closing iris with backplate follower in a removable cassette; a 100 percent closing mechanical dimmer; an 'A'-size removable gobo holder; and a six-way color changer system filled with removable filter frames.
Although two Topaze fixtures were originally destined for Corbett Hall and two for the school's 400-seat concert recital hall, all four have been earmarked for productions in Corbett Hall.
"They are really user-friendly, and the compact size is great," says New. "They're very manageable for students. Even students 13 years of age, male and female, find them lightweight and easy to handle."
New also gives kudos to the douser mechanism. "One of the things I haven't liked about followspots from other brands is that you need to use a separate hand for the douser mechanism. But with Topaze, with one or two fingers you can roll a fade in and out while still holding onto the handle and moving it," he notes.
"I also like the fact that you can insert a gobo into it - that's a plus for a followspot. And having the frost separate from the color frames is nice, too. I think Topaze is fantastic!"
About Robert Juliat
Robert Juliat is a three-generation, independent, family-run company dedicated to stage lighting. The current chairman's grandfather was, at the end of the 19th century, one of the pioneers in creating special effects for the fledgling motion picture industry in France. Robert Juliat lights are used by customers who include the Cirque du Soleil, Celine Dion, New York's Lincoln Center, LA's Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Disney World, The Royal Shakespeare Company, the Comedie Francaise, the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympic Games, soccer's World Cup in Japan and Germany, plus theatres, schools and public venues around the world.
R&D, production and the company headquarters are based in the village of Fresnoy-en-Thelle, 50 km north of Paris. Robert Juliat USA is located in Wallingford, Connecticut. For more information, visit