Robe: Helping Education at the Grafisch Lyceum

Grafisch Lyceum is an independent vocational college in central Rotterdam, Netherlands, specialising in the fields of media, design and technology. It was founded in 1950 as a printing college and has moved with the times, now offering over 40 different courses and programmes for creative industries, which also includes a 3 year Technical Theatre Course.

The already excellent training facilities for the theatre course have recently been boosted with the purchase of 20 x Robe DL4X Spots and 20 x LEDWash 300s which are being utilised for teaching on all the course’s Lighting modules.

With approximately 250 Technical Theatre students – it’s the largest such course in the Netherlands – also benefit from being able to use the TV broadcast and recording studios provided for those on the media and communications and music technology courses.

Additionally, there’s a ‘live’ venue/multipurpose space available, comprising three interconnection areas to vary the capacity, where they can set up equipment, stage productions and gig scenarios. It’s only open for one public show a year and the rest of the time it’s used almost daily for teaching. There are also four 4:1 scale lighting design studio suites where real-life stages, sets, lighting, sound, and video profusions can be prepared.

Wilbo Kouwenhoven is a Technical Theatre teacher who also oversees and assesses the learning process and how it’s delivered to the students. One of his colleagues, Edith Molmans, was also involved in the decision to purchase the new Robe moving lights.

They are in fact replacing some older Robe ColorSpot and ColorWash 250E that arrived not long after the course first started 15 years ago. These were still going strong, but now, the technology is almost unrecognisable, so it was time to get something modern and appropriate on which to teach.

Wilbo stated how essential it is for any switched-on learning centre, to have access to the latest technologies so we can equip our students with appropriate knowledge of kit they are likely to encounter in the real world as they start their professional careers.

They wanted LED fixtures because Wilbo believes LED is the future, and selected Robe for being, in his words: “Excellent all-round fixtures and an industry standard product and brand.” Their great experience with the ColorSpot and ColorWash 250E ATs underlined the brand’s general robustness and build quality.

Robe’s DL4X Spot is part of the DL range that is specifically designed for theatre applications and this was also of great interest. Features like the two-gobo wheels and the zoom on the DL4X give plenty of scope and opportunity to get creative as the students develop their basic and advanced lighting skills.

Edith Molmans who champions the DL4X gobos commented: “For the small size the LEDWash 300s are incredibly powerful. They are completely different from the gobos you see in other lights.”

Wilbo mentions the good working relationship with Controllux, which is a big asset: “A comprehensive product range and amazing support – which can often really make the difference – is essential for organisations like us.”

Many students graduating from Grafisch Lyceum go on to pursue successful industry careers, especially in theatre and TV as well as the live sector.

Wilbo concluded by stating the targets they set for graduates: “We like to ensure that they have realistic expectations when they leave. It’s not all about glamour! Being trained on relevant equipment is one side of the equation, the other is having the communication and networking skills, being prepared to work hard with passion and the commitment needed to move forward in the production industry.”