© Mindy Nelsen / Lehi High School


    Brett Olsen, Steven Sales Company (SSCO)


    Utah’s Lehi High School opened its new high-grade theatre in early 2022, following a major rebuild and redesign that took five years. Salt Lake City pro-lighting specialist Steven Sales Company (SSCO) was brought on board by the school’s owner, Alpine School District, and electrical engineers BNA Consulting to specify a lighting and control solution that would ensure professional effects and simple, powerful operation for both learners and educators.


    After a series of demonstrations on site at the school’s theatre by SSCO’s Brett Olsen, they chose a package of Strand PLPROFILE4 MKII, PLPROFILE1 MKII, PLCYC MKII luminaires, and a Strand NEO CONSOLE. In addition, for on-stage wash, the team specified Vari-Lite SL PAR 155 ZOOM fixtures.


    “Listening to the requirements of the staff and students, it was clear that they needed a selection of robust, powerful, and simple to set up fixtures that would deliver professional looks for productions,” says Olsen. “Having a full LED range suited their aims for low power consumption alongside high output, and great colors for the variety of shows. The PLPROFILE1 MKII and PLPROFILE4 MKII were an obvious choice, suiting requirements and enabling the students to create interesting effects with total control over beams, patterns, and colors.”


    “For our new, larger theatre facility, we had some basic requirements as well as some dream things,” explains Mindy Nelsen, who teaches drama at Lehi High School. “First, we were keen to install a bigger booth and control room, and when it came to the lighting, we were excited to be able to replace our 20-year-old fixtures with new LED luminaires that offered DMX values on lighting fixtures - so no gels are needed anymore - multiple universes, easily interchangeable lenses, fixtures that would make it simple for us to make into specials with easy angle and shutter manipulation, and the ability to create great light effects. Brett Olsen delivered everything we wanted in the Vari-Lite and Strand package.”


    Lehi High School’s drama department puts on two musicals and one play every year, as well as a series of dance performances, music concerts, and pageants. One of the standout productions this year has been a staging of the classic, Pride and Prejudice, for which the students took full control of the abilities of the PLPROFILE1 MKII and PLPROFILE4 MKII luminaires.


    “We used lighting to convey the different locations in this production, which was monumental for the story to flow and make sense to the audience,” says Nelsen. “The way this script is written necessitates identifying location through lighting, not set. So, without the Strand luminaires and the capabilities of the NEO CONSOLE, the show would not have been as easily understood and flowed so seamlessly. 


    “Another great example of outstanding lighting in this space was during our 2021 production of the play Puffs. This is a fast-paced show with multiple locations and really quick changes. It also takes place in the world of magic, so the new lighting and control was perfect for this piece. We programmed more than 400 light cues for this show, and we created about 20 lighting effects to use. Both the color changing, the speed, and the special effects allowed us to really make this show special and engaging.  Without the DMX system and the capabilities in the new facility, we wouldn’t have had the technology necessary to do either of these shows. My students have really enjoyed working with the PLPROFILE1 MKII and PLPROFILE4 MKII luminaires and using them as storytelling vehicles.”


    Known for its simple-to-use control features, the Strand NEO CONSOLE seemed a clear match for the Strand luminaires at the school. “Because of the all-LED package, it was beneficial to have the ‘Strand Advantage’ to utilize the full control capability of the fixtures, but not use up the licensed channels on the board,” says Brett Olsen. “The Strand Advantage and built-in FX packages make programming easy. And in addition, they are using Strand Vision.Net to control their normal, everyday house functions and to control LED color-changing coves in the space.”


    “The NEO CONSOLE is pretty simple to use once you are taught the basic functions,” adds Nelsen. “The ability to group lights together so we can differentiate what lights are on the catwalks versus the ones on the electrics is making programming much easier. In addition, we are able to more easily edit pre-existing cues to fit our ever-changing needs. The ability to program submasters and shortcuts have also proved to make programming shows a lot easier. Overall, moving to a digital system has allowed for more experimentation and creativity when programming a show or creating looks.”

    © Mindy Nelsen - Lehi High School