Revolving Theatre Built To Thrill
A new theatre in the National Botanic Garden of Wales is providing visitors with an exciting glimpse into the beauty, strangeness, complexity and diversity of plant life across the planet, thanks to a British Turntable revolve and innovative design by audio-visual specialists Tyco Integrated Systems.
Tyco's designs for the Theatr Botanica, which opened to the public at the end of September 2001, centred on an audience revolve that would move visitors through a multi-media experience in what is otherwise a very confined space. The building itself has been specially constructed just to house the effect.
The 15 minute show is totally dependent on the operation of the revolve, which is integrated electronically with screens, film and sound to create a 360 degree surround AV experience. To fulfil the design criteria, British Turntable recommended and designed a people mover with an overall diameter of 8 metres, accommodating an audience of up to 55 people at a time on raked seating.
The turntable is totally surrounded by eight large AV screens located around its perimeter, and, to enable access to the seating, British Turntable has also designed and installed two of the screens to retract on overhead powerhead slides. Once the audience is seated, these screens move back into position, then, after an initial presentation, retract again to create a viewing port to the front. The revolve then rotates the audience at pre-set intervals to face different screens, each with its own multi-media presentation.
A major advantage of using a revolve in this way is the ability to change the presentation at any time without the need for major refurbishment or re-design, a particularly important aspect of the design specification.
The turntable has been built to be capable of operating at any of four adjustable pre-set speeds with the revolve's maximum speed of 2rpm. An absolute optical encoder is used to monitor turntable azimuth position, which is accurate to 0.5 degrees operating either forward or reverse. The operating controls were developed by British Turntable to ensure accuracy of positioning and timing; soft start/stop facilities are built in and the controls can be interrogated at any time to monitor the position and operating condition of any movement. The result is a smooth, comfortable and pleasurable experience for the audience.
Some of the safety features British Turntable has provided on the revolve include electronic safety locks to prevent the retracting screens closing into the revolve if it is not in the correct position, safety switches to retract the screen units if they hit an obstruction, screen holding frames designed so that the screens will pop out when pushed firmly to give emergency access to exits and, if the fire alarms sound, the revolve will cease its current operation and return to its normal audience entry position by the shortest route.
For further information on revolves of this nature please contact us with your specific enquiry. This project also features in our latest Heritage and Leisure newsletter as does as a variety of other British Turntable movement used in visitor and heritage related centres. Contact us now for a copy of the newsletter.
British Turntable Company has been developing and manufacturing movement solutions to a wide range of industries for more than 40 years and exports to more than 120 countries world wide.
Typical applications include retail display units, small revolving stages for nightclubs and other leisure markets, car revolves to solve inner-city parking problems, materials handling carousels and larger revolves capable of carrying a military tank or an aeroplane. A hire service is also available on both standard and non-standard units.
Recent major projects include a 30m diameter revolving restaurant mechanism for Libya, a 9m diameter people mover for Bailey's Icon Centre, Leopardstown, Dublin, a 28m diameter people mover for the Home Planet Zone of the Millennium Dome, the attraction's only 'ride', and a 15m diameter HGV access turntable for Waitrose, Surbiton.
The company's customers include major high street stores including the famous London store, Harrods, a wide range of independent retailers, world renowned museums and heritage centres, exhibition contractors, TV and film companies, government departments, national standard test laboratories, multi-national organisations and all the major car manufacturers world wide.
The National Botanical Garden of Wales, set in the Towy Valley in South West Wales, is the first national botanic garden to be created in the UK for more than 200 years and first opened to the public in May 2000. The Garden is dedicated to science, education and leisure, with a broad study of plants and sustainable solutions at its heart.
The Theatr Botanica, which opened on 27 September 2001, was designed to open visitor's eyes to an exciting world of plant life across the planet, from the deep ocean, the deserts, the mountains and forest clearings, to the herabaceous borders in surburban back gardens. The multi-media presentation, which runs twice an hour during Garden opening hours, is made possible by the integration of the revolve with screens, film and sound to create a complete 360 degree surround AV experience.