Over 150 theatrical venues, concert halls, music clubs and sport arenas across the whole of Israel – in cities and communities large and small – were lit up in red on 26th December 2020 in a ‘Red Alert evening of action’ designed to highlight culture and the arts and the immense amount of enjoyment, entertainment and value that it brings to all.
The spontaneous event – that began like so many of these organic movements as an animated conversation – was organised by multidisciplinary artist, musician and lighting designer Nadav Barnea, together with lighting designer Baruch Shpigelman, and it energised and united engineers, technicians, designers and directors working in every discipline in the sector – lighting, sound, video, staging, rigging, visual, scenic, cameras & broadcast, etc.
Delighted to participate was another leading Israeli lighting designer, Eran Klein of Cochavi&Klein who worked closely with his business partner Eli Cochavi to light up one of the two main sites in central Tel Aviv with an all-Robe lighting rig featuring Spiiders, BMFL Spots and LEDWash 1200 fixtures.
The lights were supplied by Danor Theatre and Studio Systems whose Erez Hadar also enthusiastically participated in the event.
These Robe fixtures were used to illuminate The Cameri Theatre, and the Tel Aviv Performing Arts Centre, all standing adjacent to one another in Sderot Sha’ul HaMelech square.
“Robe was my first choice,” explained Eran, “I picked the Spiiders and LEDWashes for their power, coverage and fantastic colours as it was important to get a really rich and luminescent red.” The BMFL Spots were used for crisp gobo projections together with cool animation effects and other textural overlays.
The fixtures were all positioned on flight cases and other objects in the square, where they had an unhindered beam-path to illuminate the buildings, all of which glowed in resplendent red.
The other major Red Alert site in central Tel Aviv was the Habima Theatre – lit with 12 x Robe MegaPointes – and the Culture Palace which were also turned red for the evening.
Other notables included the Jerusalem Theatre, Teddy Stadium and the Israeli Museum of Art also in Jerusalem.
The goal of the action was to fire up all media outlets, try and get the voice of the industry in front of more people, and most notably, to influence politicians to help with re-starting the industry and getting venues open and events being staged and operating in a Covid safe environment.
The political situation in Israel is complicated. Earlier in December, its fragile coalition government collapsed after 7 months, and the country will have its fourth general election in less than two years, most probably towards the end of March 2021.
The – usually – lively music, arts and culture scene in Israel is richly diverse, incredibly proactive and through the years has produced an abundance of talented individuals who are acclaimed worldwide. The country is also a popular touring circuit destination for major international artists and performers, and there is a large associated ‘culture tourism’ sector that boosts the GDP each year.
The locally-based creative and technical production infrastructure that supports this dynamic segment is also hailed as for its ingenuity and excellence.
During the pandemic, the lighting of buildings, monuments and landmarks in red has become synonymous with support for live events and the performing arts which have been particularly hard hit since shutting down in March 2020.
In many parts of the world – Israel included – companies and professionals in the sector have had no roadmap or timescale for restarting and have received no financial assistance to stay afloat.
“Our expectations grew higher each time the list of places lit in red expanded,” commented Nadav. “We saw places we didn’t even know were joining in posting red pictures and tagging the event on social media, and it was incredible!
“We knew that the media has the power to really spread the word and apart from a few interviews to radio shows we did not expect it to explode as it did!”
Almost every national newspaper, news channel and web portal commented and talked about the action with several front-page features and lead stories.
“I can happily say that a moment of ‘let’s do something’ became a show of force presented by the whole Israeli entertainment industry,” commented a delighted Nadav.
Approximately 150 different buildings were lit red, with 1500-2000 people involved which is a remarkable achievement.
Lighting designer Baruch Shpigelman, who is currently working with Nadav, stated, “It united an entire industry which said, loud and clear, that entertainment and performance is part of every element of Israel, north to south, east to west. Its existence is at the essence of people’s spirit and well-being, as without culture, there’s no community! The entertainment industry is proud to say – we are still here and we are here to stay!!”