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Harlequin Floors hosts Chinese Delegation in London

Wednesday 12th October 2016

Harlequin Floors was the privileged host for a party of four delegates from China, during a mission to find out about theatre standards and regulations in the UK. 

The group from China were made up Head of Policy and Rules and delegates from China’s Art, Science and Technology Institute Director, Weng Fang, Ministry of Culture delegates, Li Quili, Director of Stage Equipment Testing Center, Wang Tao and Inspector of Policy and Rules and Yan Ping,  

First stopping in Germany for two days, the delegates were hosted by Harlequin’s collaborative partner and stage technology company HOAC, before arriving in London on Thursday 15th September. Ready to greet the guests were Guy Dagger, Harlequin’s Managing Director, Kasper Nyboe, General Manager of Harlequin Asia, Larry Chung from the Sales team in Hong Kong and Susy Chandler, Communications Executive, and with them, a jam-packed agenda for the next couple of days.  

The first meeting, on Thursday afternoon, was with Theatres Trust’s Interim Director and Theatres Advisor, Rebecca Morland, who imparted her considerable knowledge from many years of operational and practical experience in managing theatre buildings. She explained the role of the Theatres Trust and the kind of advice they provide on protecting old buildings, improvements, funding schemes and planning applications for new theatres.  

Friday started with a visit to ABTT (The Association of British Theatre Technicians), which took place at the Barbican Centre and included a very special tour of the Fly Tower with Technical Manager, Ashley Pickles and Theatre Systems & Maintenance Technician, Serena Scaramuzzi. This tour gave the delegates the chance to stand 33 metres above the stage floor, on its recently renewed grid. 

Hosting the meeting overall was the ABTT’s Chief Executive Officer, Robin Townley who knew an endless amount on technical theatre and provided fantastic material for the delegates on standards for places of entertainment. Louise Jeffreys, Director of Arts at the Barbican also dropped by to meet the Delegates and talk about the running of the Barbican Centre

A lunchtime meeting was then held just outside the Barbican and the group was joined by Matthew Wheeler Rigging Manager at the National Theatre, who spoke with in-depth
technical knowledge about the needs of production, relating to rigging, armed with photos to demonstrate his work.

The afternoon was spent in Fulham, with PLASA’s Managing Director, Peter Heath and Commercial Manager, Andrew Organ, who welcomed the Chinese delegation to their office despite last minute preparations for the PLASA exhibition at Olympia, which was opening at the weekend. Giving a breakdown of how the association works, Peter and Andrew went on to explain the nature of its involvement in the development of standards and directives worldwide. 

Leaving the next day with an abundance of information and bags of literature to take home with them, it was safe to say the Chinese delegation visit was ‘mission complete’. Harlequin would like to thank its dear friends at Theatre’s Trust, ABTT, The Barbican Centre, the National Theatre and PLASA for all their help in making the visit such a valuable one for the Chinese delegates.