New Mercedes Benz Actros Stage Trucks At Stagefreight

We’re very excited about the new Mercedes-Benz Actros stage trucks  joining our fleet.

So, we decided to share more information about these new stage trucks and about our whole fleet, too.

Actros Stage Trucks

The Mercedes-Benz Actros trucks are specialist trucks for long distance transport. Our drivers are regularly abroad, as we support theatre shows, music events and conferences across Europe and even as far as Dubai.

Stage trucks that can handle the many miles we commit to are of high importance to us.

It was, however, not only the long distance ability that caught our attention:

Environmentally friendly trucks

The high-torque 6-cyclinder engines exceed the emission standards of Euro V, Euro VI and EEV engines. This means they are the most fuel-efficient engines amongst the class leaders.

We take our environmental responsibility very seriously and so were very pleased that these stage trucks offered the Euro 6 engine.

Safety features

Health & Safety is another of our key company policies, so naturally this is a priority for our fleet.

The Mercedes-Benz Actros range has Active Brake Assist 4. This system detects potential accident hazards including stationary objects and as a world ‘first’ also spots pedestrians stepping off pavements into the truck’s path.

The trucks also feature Proximity Control Assist, which intervenes automatically within the cruise control setting to restrict speed and maintain a pre-set distance from the vehicle ahead.

Comfort

Our drivers are often on the road for several weeks. We want them to feel comfortable when on the road. The truck should be like a home from home.

The stage trucks from Mercedes-Benz therefore have the GigaSpace cabins, which have 2.13m headroom and provide our drivers separate areas to work, sleep and live.

It’s important for overall comfort to be able to have different areas for different activities.

Here’s a picture of some of the new stage trucks at the truck depot.

Stagefreight trucks

Our Fleet

While we’re very excited about the new additions to our fleet, we’re still highly proud of our existing fleet, which consists of 80 specialist trucks. All of which have Euro 6 emission efficient engines.

35 of our stage trucks are tractor units with 80% of these being from Mercedes-Benz. We’re steadily expanding and growing our fleet.

The environment and health & safety will always be key to our fleet decisions and choices. If you’re interested in finding our more about our policies, take a closer look at them here.

We’re not the only ones proud of our fleet, though. Our drivers often share pictures of the stage trucks while travelling around the world.

Here are some images sent in by our team:

Stagefreight Trucks At Event

Stagefreight truck on the road

Trucks and drivers ensure we can do, what we do for our customers – namely helping them put their shows or event on the road.

No matter where in world you need to transport your show or event equipment to, we can help. We’ve even been all to the way to the Arctic, so there’s really nowhere we can’t quote you a transport contract for.

If you need specialist stage trucks for your event transport, then give us a call today (0113 238 0805) or take a closer look at our services here.

Love Theatre Day Celebration

It’s the fourth year of Love Theatre Day, a global celebration of all things theatre.

We want to take this opportunity to thank and celebrate all the backstage preparations that make the fantastic world of theatre happen.

To do this in style, we’ve put together an infographic of Opera North’s Kiss Me Kate theatre tour.

It shows how our team of drivers supported the show and made sure all the theatre transport plans went like clockwork.

Join us on Twitter and Facebook to share what you love about theatre, #LoveTheatreDay.

And if you’ve got a theatre tour coming up and are looking for a theatre transport team, get in touch with us today.

We can provide a quote within 30 minutes of the receiving your request.

Love Theatre Day Infographic

Love Theatre Day infographic

The Rise of the Theatre Talent Show

At the beginning of 2017 the BBC launched Let It Shine; a reality show to find performers for a new, ‘Take That’ inspired musical.

It’s the latest in a long line of similar talent shows that have appeared on British screens in the last decade and which moved on to become theatre tours in their own right.

We thought it would be interesting to look back at previous theatre talent shows and see how well their theatre productions turned out.

Join us on our trip down memory lane, as we relive the highs and lows of this unusual time in television history.

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?

The theatre talent show phenomenon kicked off with How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?

Contestants competed for the lead role in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 2006 production of The Sound of Music, and were judged on their performances by Andrew Lloyd Webber himself, as well as Doctor Who actor John Barrowman.

Eventually, the finalists were narrowed down to ten hopefuls, who competed for votes each week live on BBC1. The winner was Welsh actress Connie Fisher, who received a six-month contract to play the role of Maria Rainer.

 

Connie’s debut at the London Palladium was warmly received by several newspapers:

 

  • The Guardian said Connie “occupies the Palladium stage with absolute confidence and winning charm”.

 

  • The Independent said Connie was “charmingly natural from the moment she starts to sing” and possessed “a mellifluous warmth, a comforting maternal quality”.

 

  • Variety was less complimentary, saying she was “winningly confident” even if she “lacks originality and the essential vulnerability”.

 

Despite the review by Variety, Connie went on to star as Maria during a UK theatre tour of The Sound Of Music in July 2009, which started in Cardiff before touring to Bradford and Southampton among other places.

 

Any Dream Will Do

The following year, Andrew Lloyd Webber returned to television to find his next star.

The theatre talent show, ‘Any Dream Will Do’, offered a starring role in the 2007 performance of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, at the Adelphi Theatre in London.

Hosted by the unmatched Graham Norton, the show followed a similar format to How Do You Solve… with twelve Joseph hopefuls reaching the final.

 

The Essex-born Lee Mead won the competition, in the end, receiving the most public votes after nine weeks of live shows.

 

Joseph’s reviews were mixed:

  • Writing for londontheatre.co.uk, Chloe Preece said the props and costumes “look like they came from a charity shop”. She went on to criticise the songs, saying “ ‘Any Dream Will Do’ and ‘Close Every Door to Me’ were the only mildly passable ones”. However, she praised Mead himself, citing his “rich and strong” voice and popularity with the audience.

 

  • The Evening Standard was more complimentary, saying the show “offers a seductive blend of camp, kitsch”.

 

  • The Times said Lee Mead was “both talented and enthusiastic”, while the show as a whole “is a reminder of how splendidly versatile Lloyd Webber can be”.

 

Mead went on to perform as Joseph for 600 shows before appearing as Joseph for the last time in January 2009.

A ‘10 years since Joseph!’ anniversary theatre tour is planned for 2018 with Milton Keynes, Newport and Redditch as key destinations so far.

I’d Do Anything

Andrew Lloyd Webber returned to television for a third time with I’d Do Anything in 2008.

This time the production in the limelight was Oliver!

The search was on for the lead role of both Oliver Twist and Nancy.

Three young hopefuls would go on to play the part of Oliver in the West End, while just one would go on to play Nancy.

 

Blackpool entertainer Jodie Prenger landed the role of Nancy, while the role of Oliver was shared by Gwion Jones, Harry Stott and Laurence Jeffcoate.

The four were joined by   Rowan Atkinson as Fagin, and all of them appeared in the 2009 production at the Theatre Royal on Drury Lane, which ran for just under two years.

 

Reviews for the show were mixed again:

 

  • Writing in The Guardian, Susannah Clapp described Jodie’s Nancy as “boisterous by strangely bland”.

 

  • While Michael Billington (writing in the same publication) said she “delivers her big number with passionate fervour” even if there were “too many cockney knees-up for his liking”.

 

  • Michael Coveney delivered the most damning verdict in The Independent:  “(…) she can’t act and she doesn’t have the depth of lung power to fill a plastic bag, let alone a West End theatre on a daily basis”.

 

Over the Rainbow

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 4th BBC collaboration followed his search for a Dorothy (and Toto) to star in his 2011 production of The Wizard of Oz.

According to Lloyd Webber himself The Wizard of Oz presented unique challenges, as previous productions had struggled to differentiate themselves from the 1939 film.

Eventually the show opened at the London Palladium, where it ran for 18 months.

 

The show was also unusual in that the winner was eventually replaced by her alternate. Danielle Hope, a 17-year old Mancunian, beat out all ten of her rivals in a grueling eight-week competition.

However, her rival Sophie Evans was brought on to play the role once a week, before replacing Danielle full time in 2012.

Lloyd Webber’s production was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award for the Best Musical Revival.

 

  • Writing in the Telegraph, Charles Spencer (self-professed Wizard hater) said Danielle’s Dorothy offered a “thoroughly competent rather than an inspired performance. She sings Over the Rainbow with feeling (…) but she lacks the heart-catching vulnerability of the young Judy Garland”. However, he did also say that fans of the original film would enjoy it.

 

  • The London Evening Standard’s Henry Hitchings was more complimentary, saying Danielle Hope made “a winning impression. Her performance combines innocence with easy charm, and her voice soars”.

 

  • Sophie Evans’ performance was well received by the Oxford Times . Christopher Gray described her as “an actress and singer of the greatest accomplishment”.

 

  • While Karen Price from the Wales Online said she “plays a naive and tender Dorothy who you really want to befriend”.

 

Superstar

The last theatre talent show to hit our screens by Webber was Superstar.

It followed the search for the lead actor in Lloyd Webber’s 2012 production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

This show was marked by a few changes: it moved to ITV, with Amanda Holden presenting it and Jason Donovan, Dawn French and Melanie Chisholm replacing John Partridge, Sheila Hancock and Charlotte Church as the judges.

 

The show was won by Sunderland actor Ben Forster, who benefited from previous experience in productions like Grease and Thriller – Live.

Lloyd Webber’s production premiered at the 02 Arena in London, before going on to Glasgow, Manchester, Newcastle, Dublin and several other venues.

It also saw a high number of celebrity cast members.

Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles played the role of Herod, while Spice Girls member Mel C played the role of Mary Magdalene and Tim Minchin played the role of Judas.

 

The production polarised critics:

 

  • While the Telegraph’s Laura Thompson praised it, citing Tim Minchin’s “weary intelligence’ and Mel C’s ‘lovely relaxed Mary Magdalene”.

 

  • The Guardian’s Lyn Gardner was far less complimentary. She said the show contained “spectacle, but very little variety” and decried the performers’ poor acting abilities.

 

Ready For A Theatre Tour?

Whatever shape your theatre tour takes, Stagefreight is on hand to ensure that the show goes on.

Our trailer selection means we can safely transport props and stage equipment for large and small productions without issue. For productions performing at multiple venues, our staff will help you get on the road as soon as possible, helping you complete your theatre tour with minimal stress.

Don’t forget to visit our Case Studies page. There, you can read about our experiences working with major clients like Opera North.

If you think Stagefreight can help you with your own production, don’t delay; get in touch with us now via our contact page.

What Makes An Event Transport Company? The People Behind It

At Stagefreight we like to make sure we tailor transport support to our individual clients and that our whole team can help you every step of the way.

To give more insight into who we are as a stage and event transport company, we’d like to introduce two of our team members today:

Meet Chris: Director at Stagefreight

Chris has been a driver for 35 years and is celebrating his 30th anniversary at Stegfreight.

He’s no longer a driver and instead supports Ian as Director and Head Mechanic.

As Head Mechanic Chris looks after all truck maintenance and makes sure that all servicing is complete.

This ensures that we can support you with your events and show productions at short notice and planned in advance.

Chris Adgie Stagefreight Staff Pic

In his role as Director, Chris supports Ian with overall admin tasks and advises new customers on what truck and trailer options are best for their event.

When Chris was a driver he specialised in stage transport for ballet and opera.

Some interesting trends he’s noticed over the 20 years he was in this field, is that opera used to dominate the large stage sets.

While, in comparison, ballet tended to opt for smaller sets.

Ballet’s overall popularity has grown over the years and equally large sets as in opera are now the norm in ballet.

Being used to both helped Chris quickly adapt to the growing trend in ballet, as he was used to the set needs of opera.

Chris himself likes ballet due to the relatable stories told through this art form.

He’s just one of the key people needed to keep our event transport company running on track.

 

Meet Daz: Stagefreight Driver

Daz is one of Stagefreight’s friendly drivers and while knowledgeable about all event transport, he most often supports with corporate events across the UK and in particular Europe.

Off-loading and event set-up support is part of the service at Stagefreight and Daz quickly becomes an important part of the event team.

Daz StageFreight Driver Staff Pic

So much so that some clients have specifically asked for him as a driver for their recurring events.

As each corporate event is 4-5 days long, Daz will often look after a maximum of three clients per Europe tour.

Travelling here and there around the world in a highly time efficient manner is what Daz is known for and as a little hobby, he keeps a diary to track where he’s been.

He’s supported events in Rome, Barcelona (x2), Benidorm, Munich, Prague, Copenhagen, Madrid, Warsaw and Amsterdam (x3).

And that’s just a few examples of 2016 and 2017 (so far).

Daz and StageFreight Truck

So, as you can see it’s not just Director, Ian, who has the 411 of stage and event transport down, there’s also a very experienced team supporting him.

If you’re looking for an expert event transport company, get in touch with Stagefreight today or browse our Services page to see what we can do for you.

The Biggest Theatre Shows of 2017

Learn more about the hottest shows on the horizon

As a theatre transport company, Stagefreight has been involved in some breathtaking stage shows over the years.

There’s nothing quite like seeing someone tread the boards first hand.

That’s why we’re highlighting some of the most exciting theatre shows around the UK.

The Tempest (Barbican Theatre)

The Shakespearean play of magic and misdirection needs no introduction. However, it’s never been performed quite like this; with an actor in a state-of-the-art motion capture suit.

Starring as Ariel in the Barbican Theatre’s production, Mark Quartley’s suit generates a digital avatar that mimics his movements.

The suit’s intricacies are explored in this article, but the lavish sets may be enough to turn your head.

This play is an excellent introduction to Shakespeare for younger theatre-goers. Book your tickets from Barbican here.

Mark Quartley and Simon Russell Beale in The Tempest at the Barbican Theatre (Photo: Topher McGrillis, RSC)
Mark Quartley and Simon Russell Beale in The Tempest at the Barbican Theatre (Photo: Topher McGrillis, RSC)

Hamilton (Victoria Palace Theatre) 

This sung-through musical has exploded in popularity during its American tour. It tells the life story of Alexander Hamilton- immigrant, statesman and Founding Father- via music influenced by both classic theatre shows and contemporary hip-hop.

Shining a light on a vital chapter of American history, the work has received numerous awards including the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It was written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, an American composer and actor whose career spans 15 years and numerous awards. He also co-wrote the songs for Moana, Disney’s latest animated musical.

Hamilton is coming to the UK for the first time this November. Playing to sold- out venues across the USA, this is one history lesson you can’t afford to miss.

Visit Ticketmaster for more details and tickets.

Hamilton Musical Poster Victoria Palace Theatre
Hamilton Musical Poster Victorian Theatre

Pagliacci 

If you’re looking for a legend among theatre shows, the new production of Pagliacci may be just what you’re looking for.

This classic Italian opera is a tragic tale of murder and jealousy in two acts.

Combining both tragic and comedic moments, the opera contains some of the medium’s most famous musical pieces.

This production stars Peter Auty as Canio, the original singer of ‘Walking in the Air’ from The Snowman.

Performing at venues across the country including Leeds, Hull and Nottingham, this production has been organised by Opera North.

We’ve pleased to work with them as a theatre transport company, and we heartily recommend this new show.

Book tickets at the Opera North website: https://www.operanorth.co.uk/productions/pagliacci

Also, read all about our work with Opera North in our case study.

Pagliacci Opera North
Pagliacci (Photo:Opera North)

Ghost Dances 

This contemporary dance piece is returning to British stages for the first time in 13 years. Written by Christopher Bruce and first performed in 1981, the theatre show is a tribute to the people of South America and the trials they have endured.

Written by Christopher Bruce and first performed in 1981, the theatre show is a tribute to the people of South America and the trials they have endured.

It also takes inspiration from Day of the Dead imagery and Latin American music.

Ghost Dances’ haunting costumes and powerful emotional themes mean seeing it now is a rare opportunity.

The piece was performed several times in the past through the 80s and 90s. It garnered positive reviews from many different publications including the New York Times, Independent and Evening Standard.

This time the piece is being performed by Rambert, a London-based contemporary dance company. However, they are performing at several venues nationwide; you can buy tickets from their website.

Miguel Altunaga, Carolyn Bolton in Rambert's new revival of Christopher Bruce's Ghost Dances (2016)
Miguel Altunaga, Carolyn Bolton in Rambert’s new revival of Christopher Bruce’s Ghost Dances (2016)

The Sleeping Beauty

This lavish stage production is inspired by the classic Charles Perrault fairytale.

The timeless story of fairies, princesses and spinning wheels has seen countless adaptations. However, this show from the Birmingham Royal Ballet might be one of the most lavish yet.

Featuring elaborate costumes, gorgeous sets and rave reviews from the Guardian, Times and Sunday Telegraph, this is an exciting yet family-friendly night out.

Book tickets now at the Birmingham Royal Ballet website.

Birmingham Royal Ballet Sleeping Beauty
Sleeping Beauty (Photo: Birmingham Royal Ballet)

These are just a handful of theatre shows you can look forward to in the UK.

We can’t wait to see what the theatre transport side of our business sends our way next!

Don’t forget you can read more about our prior theatre jobs on the Our Work page of the website.

New Website is Live

Explore Our New Website & Features

Stagefreight is evolving, and it’s vital our site evolves as well. That’s why we’ve created a completely new website. It’s good news for us and good news for you, as it really highlights how we can best help you with all your event transport needs. Win-win.

That’s why we’ve created a completely new website. It’s good news for us and good news for you, as it really highlights how we can best help you with all your event transport needs. Win-win.

It’s good news for us and good news for you, as it really highlights how we can best help you with all your event transport needs. Win-win.

Win-win.

Why do we have a new site?

The Stagefreight website has been redeveloped as part of our new investment program.

StageFreight Logo

We’re investing in our website, in our fleet and our staff to ensure you get to continue to get an experienced and friendly service from us.

Something you’ll notice is that our new site offers much more content than before, and will help you see how Stagefreight can support you getting your event equipment to its destination on time- every time.

Over the years, we’ve developed our skills in a number of specialties; we have plenty of experience with live events in the arts sector, such as concerts and stage productions.

We can transport all your materials safely and swiftly, ensuring they arrive in perfect order all over the UK and we also do long haul trips across Europe and beyond.

Once at your event we’ll remain on site to help with unloading and ensure the event starts smoothly. We’re with you every step of the way.

Our years of know-how is also applicable to other sectors. We have a deep understanding of stage equipment, which means we can outfit corporate conferences and speakers’ appointments as easily as sold-out concerts.

In short, we’ve worked with many clients across the entertainment industry and grown our skills throughout, and our new site reflects that better than ever.

What will I find on the new site?

For your convenience we’ve divided the site into several key sections:

The Services page has a summary of all the ways we can help you. We can transport materials for many different events including exhibitions, conferences and theatre productions. You can use our services for one-off events or on a long-term basis as required.

The Our Work page brings together all our case studies in one place. Like the Services page, our case studies cover all the sectors we work in. Learn about what we do firsthand, how we’ve helped others and see how we can help you!

The About Us page gives a brief overview of our business and history. If you want to know what Stagefreight is in a nutshell, this is the perfect place to start.

The News page lets you read about our latest exploits, thoughts and passions. We love to share what we’re up to and what we’re all about. The most recent stories are always at the top, and you can, of course, read older news stories.

The Contact page allows you to send us a written message quickly and easily. Simply fill in your contact details, write your message and send it off! We’ll reply to you as soon as possible.

How was it created?

Our new website was developed by electric, an integrated marketing agency on the outskirts of Leeds.

We worked closely with electric while they were putting the site together, and they went to great lengths to understand our business beforehand.

With that knowledge of our industry and key services, electric constructed a new website from scratch while leaving the old one intact.

This ensured that our business (and your queries) weren’t affected by the site’s redevelopment.

Together, we made sure that the new website was easy to use, while also reflecting who we are as a brand. We also ensured it looked better than ever thanks to a bold new visual direction.

Have a look around to get the feel of our new vibe.

As well as having a bright, attractive colour scheme, the new website features striking animation.

We feel this is an excellent way to make our site stand out, and nicely reflects our passion and experience in the art and theatre sectors.

So what are you waiting for? 

Explore our new website, and send us any comments or inquiries via the new Contact page!