Forever Cunard - Queen Mary 2 Nighttime Spectacular
Performance Producer: Jayson Raitt
Creative Director/Principal Designer: Kelly Easterling
Lighting Designer: Richard Chamblin
Client: Cunard Line
On July 14, 2015, New York City witnessed the conclusion of Cunard’s 175th anniversary commemorative Transatlantic Crossing as Queen Mary 2 sailed into its U.S. home port. That evening, a spectacular nighttime spectacular designed by Quantum Creative Studios, emanated from the decks of Queen Mary 2 and illuminated New York harbor and the sky above, bringing viewers on a fantastic journey through Cunard’s 175 years, as well as celebrating a bright future.
The show, viewed by spectators gathered in Battery Park, featured 50 moving light fixtures installed along the ship’s promenade deck. The performance featured a lush sweeping soundtrack along with stunning visuals while Queen Mary 2 sailed a half-mile off shore in the Hudson River with the Statue of Liberty as a backdrop.
The team at Quantum Creative Studios collaborated with a number of agencies to ensure the safe operation of the show, including US and Canadian Customs, the Federal Aviation Administration, the City of New York, the US Coast Guard, and the New York Harbormaster. Quantum also collaborated with Cunard’s UK team to develop specific marine plans detailing the exact location of Queen Mary 2 in New York harbor for ideal viewing of the nighttime spectacular. Other details included developing custom power distribution systems and cabling to safely power and operate the 50 fixtures aboard Queen Mary 2.
The design of the show was incredibly important to Cunard Line; and ensuring that the lighting effects were dynamic and punctuated by an orchestral score was paramount. This presented one of the more unique challenges faced by Quantum’s creative team; the show control. With the ship’s position located a half-mile into the harbor from the viewing location at Battery Park in lower Manhattan, a solution was needed to ensure that both the lighting and the musical soundtrack on Queen Mary 2 as well as in Battery Park triggered at precisely the same moment. To address this issue, Quantum’s Kelly Easterling configured a GPS time clock with custom written software. The clock, when enabled, sent a trigger to each of the control consoles located both on Queen Mary 2 as well as in Battery Park at exactly the same time. The results were fantastic, ensuring that the lighting effects on Queen Mary 2 were perfectly synchronized with the soundtrack in Battery Park.
On shore at Battery Gardens Restaurant, Quantum was responsible for the entire design, coordination, and execution of the experience – from shore lighting fixtures that synchronized with the lights on Queen Mary 2, to the centerpieces and red carpet entrance. Quantum provided a truly turnkey production for Cunard.
A nighttime spectacular from the decks of a cruise ship (let alone one of the most famous ocean liners in the world) had never been attempted before and certainly was a (cruise) industry first. The show and experience received incredible praise and attention, both from travel/cruise publications as well as the themed entertainment and lighting industries.
Queen Mary 2 Console Operator: Jackson Miller
Shoreside Console Operator: Philip Vilar
Canada Production Manager: Shawn Fortis
Pre-Visualization: Earlybird Visual
US Production Support: Worldstage, 4Wall Entertainment Lighting, Radio Systems
Canada Production Support: Solotech, Christie Lites