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SW19 produces Leona Lewis Glassheart tour
Leona Lewis took to the road this spring with her Glassheart tour, taking in venues around Europe, including a number of sold out dates at London’s Royal Albert Hall. London-based SW19 took on the coordination of technical requirements just weeks before the start of the tour and delivered the high-end service its team is renown for.
Although a new name to the concert touring market, SW19 Production’s team is packed with familiar faces and its involvement in the Glassheart tour was the result of close associations with key members of Leona’s team.
“I’d worked with creative director Emma Bull and Musical Director Steve Anderson on Kylie Minogue tours, and with Leona’s Front of House engineer Dave Wooster on many occasions,” explains SW19 Production Manager Kevin Hopgood. “Leona had also changed management companies immediately before the tour and they were open to a change and a fresh eye on things.”
With only a three-week lead-time, SW19 delivered a production, which included some interesting creative concepts, both on time and on budget.
“Lighting designer Paul Normandale and Emma came up with some great ideas,” says Kevin. “The set looked classy, but was technically relatively simple, which was a benefit with such a short time frame.”
“Although there were some specialist bits included, we didn’t have to manufacture big items,” adds SW19’s Lisa Santos Hannan. “That worked in our favour. And with Mike Clegg on board to run the tour on the road, we knew things would be in safe hands.”
“At the outset, we’re given a fairly artistic brief and we turn that into something we can tour with and Emma is really good at that,” Kevin continues. “The overall idea was based around a broken heart and shattered glass, to reflect the tour’s title. We wanted to give the show different sections that have different themes within them and we were able to achieve a great look using projected video onto multiple layers of gauzes on stage. With Leona’s incredible vocal range, audio is also of paramount importance, and Capital Sound was able to provide us with a first class system.”
“For me, working with SW19 has been a really positive and refreshing experience,” says Emma. During the pre-production period, Kevin Hopgood and his team were always positive, enthusiastic and on hand to ensure that my creative vision, and design choices were achievable and delivered to a high standard.
Originally, the first few shows of the tour were scheduled without production, but with a strong following in Germany and Switzerland, Leona felt she would be doing her fans a disservice to deliver anything other than the full show on every part of the tour.
“This meant that production was pulled forwards by about 10 days, which added an extra challenge,” says Kevin, “but that’s something we’re used to, so we were able to accommodate it relatively easily.”
“The late decision to take the full production show on tour to Europe added a lot of pressure to all production and crew,” Emma adds. “But SW19 never made this restrictive for me creatively, thankfully. What we all achieved, in an incredibly tight turnaround, was a unique and high-end theatrical pop production, which both the artist and I are incredibly proud of.”
The reduced lead-time also meant that finding a production rehearsal studio at short notice became extremely important and SW19 was delighted to secure new facility, Backstage Centre in Essex.
“We had a couple of days at Backstage Centre for production rehearsals. It’s a really nice facility and very easy to get to get in and out of,” Kevin recalls. “For this scale of production, it’s pretty much ideal. Leona also rehearsed at our own SW19 rehearsal studios in south west London, which worked very well for her and her team, and they enjoyed the space.”
“Even though it’s only recently opened, SW19 is easily my favourite band rehearsal space in London,” concludes Steve Anderson. “You can really tell it’s been designed by a team that understands exactly what is needed from a rehearsal environment, from the general space itself, down to the superb sound of the room.”