"It became clear that our old desk was not up to the demands we were making of it," explains technical manager Gareth Chell. "We test drove a few consoles and decided that the Congo jr was by far the best of all of them. It's made a real difference to the quality of lighting at the theatre, and we're really proud that we got one of the first desks in Europe.
"We chose the Congo jr as it has all the features and more that we were looking for and has the flexibility to meet with the demanding needs of a very diverse building. We also like the fact that ETC is dedicated to the development of the console and updating the software on a regular basis (unlike some manufacturers who only send out updates once a year or less).
"A lot of the other consoles we looked at were designed to control either conventional or moving lights, while the Congo jr works well controlling both and is within our price band. I was also very impressed with both the build quality and technical support from ETC."
Chell was speaking during a break in a training session being run at Lakeside by ETC's Associate Regional Manager Jeremy Roberts for technical staff and freelancers from the theatre. They were joined by staff of BBC Scotland, who are about to take delivery of nine Congos. Chell received some training on the Congo in 2006, but was grateful for the refresher when his jr was delivered. The stage was set up with a variety of props, with several Congos and Congo jrs at the front of the auditorium, as Roberts went through a series of training exercises with the six attendees over the course of three days.
"I would definitely recommend the course to any potential user," adds Chell, "as it gives an in-depth understanding of all the console features and a chance to learn how it all works by making mistakes at the best time - when it doesn't matter and you have someone there to help you!"