The Galli Theatre of Rimini (Italy), originally constructed in 1857, is a theatre with a troubled past. Bombed by the Allies during the Second World Conflict, looted in the immediate post-war period, and victim in the subsequent years of partial reconstruction, only in 2018 could it reopen to the public with a completely new and technologically advanced infrastructure.
In the most recent renovation and modernization work, everything pertaining to terminations and wiring was assigned to LINK; the Italian company based in Rome (Italy) and Middleton (USA), which celebrated its first 30 years just over a year ago. Although LINK participates in many projects across the globe, they are most known for Eurocable and LK Connector brands.
LINK’s involvement in the project proved to be an almost obligatory choice because, given the strict specifications demanded by the client, most of the requests could only be met by the use of its innovative technologies and customized solutions.
“Among the critical requirements was the need to concentrate a large number of cables in the smallest possible space”, stated Daniele Naldi, Technical Director of the Municipal Theatre of Bologna and project consultant. “LINK was the only company able to provide a single cable that could integrate both power and data signals, significantly reducing the number of cables and optimizing the installation”, added Daniele.
Wiring and Patching
LINK designed all outlet panels, junction boxes, and rack cabinets with extreme care in terms of detail, with colours and finishes that diminish the visual impact and making them easily identified with laser engraved labels.
All electrical distribution was developed to be equally clear and easy to use with full compatibility with the Sensor3 dimmer system by ETC whom also provided most of the light fixtures. For this reason a QR code has been printed alongside the CEE sockets in order to allow the ETC app to directly switch the socket from “dimmer” to direct and vice versa. This automated patching solution provides a significant advantage in terms of setup time and flexibility for the end user.
Flexibility and Connectivity
Since the venue needed to support many forms of “live entertainment”, flexibility was a key concern in the design of the power and data infrastructure. The grid and truss structure needed to support both conventional and automated luminaires with multiple types of power and data.
For the distribution of power and lighting control in the boxes and in the grid, innovative connectors belonging to the LK Connectors brand called LKSData have been used, which have drastically reduced the number of cables and connections required.
This new hybrid cable/connector combination provides a 6 circuit Socapex style connection mechanically equal, and backwards compatible, to the “traditional” connectors, but with the additional feature of integrating microcoaxial contacts in place of the grounding pins, while preserving the continuity of earth of the electrical circuits. The internal contacts of the coaxial pins are able to transmit 2 DMX signals, or digital audio pairs, on the same cable, eliminating the need for separate power and data cables.
Recently the LKSData range has been enhanced to transport a 1000 Base-T signal or 4 digital signals that could be used for any subsequent upgrades. Luca Opizzi of LINK further underlines the importance of the concept of backward compatibility by declaring: “if a troupe decides not to use DMX in the truss, the cables and connectors of Galli can still be used normally, just as if it were a traditional 6 circuit Socapex connector… “.
Hybrid LKS Data Cable
Another critical requirement was for the use of a flat version of the hybrid LKSData cable so that it could easily fit in the baskets positioned above the trusses in the scenic towers. Another obvious challenge when retrofitting an older venue is the limited space available to pass new cabling. Although there are a number of 6 circuit flat cables on the market, there was nothing commercially available to transport both power and data in a flat “low profile” manner. For this specific requirement, LINK developed a modified connector and cable leveraging the LKSData hybrid technology capable of transmitting the DMX signal in the flat cable, preserving all the features of the original “round cable” design. This means that the trusses can support flexible lighting designs while significantly reducing the number of cables in the field.
“Unbreakable” Fibre Optic Cable
In order to “future proof” the Galli, 120 optical patch points were outfitted in the grid, niches, and in the stage house. In addition to providing the low profile patch boxes, LINK recently introduced and provided “unbreakable” fibre cable. This new ruggedized optical cable tolerates extreme radius bending, suitable to patching to boxes in tight spaces.
Among the other solutions proposed for the Galli Theatre we find one of the first Company Switch installed in a theatre in Italy. This electrical infrastructure will allow touring or rental companies to connect their equipment to the theatre’s electrical system through commonly used connections such as Power Lock or CEE sockets.
The Galli Theatre is a classic example of how, through a meticulous and careful selection of suppliers and materials, it is possible to create a power and data infrastructure that is both flexible and “future proof”. LINK, was selected among the various players in the sector by virtue of the technology and the solutions it is able to offer.