To cater for top-notch theatre productions Priscilla Queen of the Desert (South Africa
and Hong Kong Season), The Sound of Music (Asian tour 2017/18) and Evita (South
African and Asian Tour 2017/18), South African based Gearhouse Splitbeam, a theatre
equipment rental company, have invested in 90 additional Prolyft motors and six
controllers supplied by DWR Distribution. Alistair Kilbee is the managing director of
Splitbeam and writes on his experience with the brand and why he went this route.

“I have always liked the Prolyft brand, and this purchase made sense as we already
had a stock holding of 57 Prolyft motors (1 tonne and ¼ tonne). The new acquisition,
consisting of 85 Prolyte Prolyft Aetos 1 tonne and 5 Prolyte Prolyft Aetos 2 tonne, all
in cases, along with six Aetos Pro range low voltage 8-way control, fits in nicely with
our current stock holding to give us a total of 147 motors within Splitbeam.

While the rest of the Gearhouse Group use CM, I felt that it was best to stay with a
brand that I know and trust. We now stock 2 tonne, 1 tonne and ¼ tonne motors.
There was also the consideration that the Prolyft are easy to upgrade to double break
for the future-proofing of the purchase. There is the noise factor that very few “non-
theatre’ people worry about, but in our market, this is a critical consideration. The
new Prolyft motors are so quiet it is hard to know that something is moving unless
you see it happening.

Theatre shows over the last few years have been getting bigger and heavier, and the
motor counts have been increasing every year. Our largest show to date was War
Horse with 70 motors, which for a “play’ is extraordinary. There are now theatre tours
that have well over 120 motors each; so to stay competitive in the theatre rigging
market we had to increase our stock.

Supplying rigging for tours to other countries is not easy, but as Splitbeam has a lot of
experience with working on Asian tours, we are perfectly placed to deal with the
changes in law and have an in-depth knowledge of what is required to rig in these
markets. We have even supplied motors to Australia (which is very hard to do) where
the safety laws were much more stringent than in other parts of Asia, and the style of
rigging was also different, but in the end, you all find common ground and things get

Splitbeam is committed to helping grow the South African theatre and if we can
supply equipment at a price that makes sense for our producers, all the better for us
and the industry as a whole. The more the South African shows make financial sense,
the more the producers will do them, and therefore there will be more work for our
local cast, crew and more work for the equipment.’