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Soweto Theatre invests in Robe ESPRITES


The colourful, funky, eye‐catching architecture of the Soweto Theatre stands at the centre of Jabulani, an area fast developing into a bustling future CBD. For the last 10 years, the venue, designed by Afritects, has provided a buzzing performing arts hub and forum for creative expression reaching into the heart of the local community.

In 2023, the lighting department, headed by Nkululeko Mazibuko, received 12 new Robe ESPRITE moving lights as part of a technical upgrade which was co‐ordinated by the venue’s technical manager, Lebugang Andrew Mnisi.


The lights were delivered by Robe’s South African distributor, DWR, and join the original Robe LEDWash 300 and 600E Spot moving lights that have been working hard in the theatre since it opened in 2012, together with the LEDBeam 150s that were purchased in 2019. The ESPRITES, which will be deployed in the Soweto Theatre’s largest closed performance space, the Gibson Kente Theatre, are “a big leap forward,” says Nkululeko.


DWR’s Kevin Stannett highlights that getting a luminaire like ESPRITE in house also makes sense from a cross rental perspective. “If they need to increase the quantity for a specific show, the stock can be augmented as there are already plenty of ESPRITES in circulation.”

Soweto Theatre’s general manager, Vincent Motau, commented, “Soweto Theatre is constantly improving its technology to broaden the horizons of an artist's creativity while also limiting the problems that they might encounter. As a result, our theatre practitioners now have more time to contemplate and expand their creativity. “Robe, the recognised leader in moving light technology, has made another major leap in innovation, and the ESPRITE Profile LED automated luminaire has a fast‐change, low‐cost, transferable light engine ingeniously solving the problem of performance longevity for those preferring the higher brightness of white source LEDs as an obvious replacement for old and ageing stock of discharge workhorses.”


Both Nkululeko and Lebugang understand the importance of good tech support and having a great relationship with the supplier, in this case DWR, something that has been built up over the last decade. “Our schedule is constantly busy with shows going in and out every week, so we have to keep going, and if anything needs swapping in and out or fixing, then that has to be now!” noted Lebugang, to which Nkululeko added that “consistency and reliability” is a given with DWR.


Lighting control is a grandMA.



Photos © Louise Stickland

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