The “Delavski dom Zagorje” Cultural Centre venue was opened in 1960 in the beautiful Slovenian town of Zagorje tucked away in the Central Sava Valley, once one of the country’s principal mining regions.
Originally built as an entertainment space for the mining community living in this and surrounding towns, it now thrives as a municipal hub for performing arts, staging a multitude of shows and events including cinema, theatre, dance, music and visual arts. Due to its excellent acoustics – enabled by an audio upgrade in 2008 – it hosts the annual National Children's and Youth Choirs Competition of Slovenia, and the building also incorporates the Mile Klopčič Public Library.
The New Robe moving lights – Robe T1 Profiles and LEDBeam 350s – were part of a major technical refurbishment also involving all the stage machinery for their 460-seat main hall.
These are the first moving lights in the house and replace a lot of older lighting technology, some dating back to the 1960s.
The installation took place in 2021, whilst the Cultural Hall was closed due to the pandemic, so they re-opened this year ready to roll with a brand new fully contemporary setup, which is proving invaluable and has upped the production value for everyone from the artists to the audience.
The stage machinery upgrade included new lighting hoists to automate selected lighting bars, so six out of the venue’s 22 lighting bars can now be brought to the stage level meaning less working at heights, speeding up changeovers and dramatically increasing the overall flexibility for productions explained manager, Mrs. Karmen Cestnik.
They were not previously aware of this specific Robe fixture but were very interested in offering a range of Robe solutions by Slovenian distributor MK Light Sound, from which Karnen and the venue’s chief technician Gregor Troha picked the T1 Profile and LEDBeam 350 as the most appropriate.
Karmen admits that initially they were looking at another brand in mind, but, when they saw the Robe demo done by the MK Light Sound Team, they were so impressed that they changed everything! MK’s company HQ is also conveniently only 20 minutes away just outside Slovenian capital Ljubljana, although no-one is anticipating needing too much on the service front!
Apart from meeting and exceeding all their technical criteria – bright, with a fantastic quality of light, excellent colours including CT whites, quiet and reliable – “they were also great value for such quality” noted Gregor. He added that the LEDBeam 350 zoom makes the fixture highly versatile and much more than ‘just’ an LED beam light.
The first shows in the re-opened venue were a mix of rock and pop bands plus some more subtle singer / songwriters and unplugged shows. “The LEDBeam 350 is great for rock shows but also a nice wash for quieter artists and for classical performances, jazz and even brass bands,” stated Karmen.
Before Covid, The Zagorje Cultural Hall would have up to 80 artists per month to perform, mostly in their main hall with some in the smaller one, amounting to approximately 800-900 events per year, which is a busy schedule!
They gradually ramped back over this year and expect to be doing that number and more in the future to make up for the lost time, as there is no shortage of demand for live entertainment in Slovenia!
Gregor lights many of the shows himself, and a retired lighting colleague is still active in assisting with some shows. “We are delighted with the decision to go with Robe, it’s made a huge difference to how creative and adaptable we can be,” he concluded.
The Cultural Hall is partly self-funded and partly funded by the Ministry of Culture, and Karmen and the team were delighted when their application for extra funding to facilitate the upgrade was accepted. The resulting stage and lighting installation have dramatically increased the production values offered by this busy regional hotspot for live talent.
Photo Credit: Louise Stickland
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