State Opera of South Australia
FCT Flames, together with our research partner, The University of Adelaide, was commissioned to produce flame effects for the 2005 performance of “Der Ring Des Nibelungen” (“The Ring Cycle”), by Richard Wagner, held at the Festival Theatre, Adelaide, South Australia. Two innovative flame systems were supplied – a ring of fire and a line of fire.
The Ring of Fire consisted of 12 individual flames housed in the stage floor that were equally spaced on a pitch circle diameter of 5.8m, and which could be individually controlled to provide a variable flame height to a maximum of 1 metre.
The Line of Fire was a 17m long continuous wall of flame spanning the entire width of the stage. The flame height was adjustable and the whole apparatus could be raised and lowered while the flame was burning.
The flame effects were in close proximity to the performers and the audience, and they were contained within an enclosed space. We therefore gave extra attention to the safety aspects of the design and operation of the flame effect. Both combustion systems were designed to comply with US National Fire Protection Association, NFPA 160, Standard for Flame Effects before an Audience (1998). The ventilation system was reviewed to ensure that it had the capacity to deal with the large thermal load from the flames as well as a possible gas leak. FCT also undertook a detailed risk analysis of a fire situation, measuring temperatures above the flames, in the ventilation system and in the theatre during commissioning. This ensured the safety of the building systems, cast, crew and audience.
The Ring of Fire and the Line of Fire operated safely and flawlessly during the performances of the “Ring Cycle”, providing a stunning backdrop for the unfolding opera on stage.