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Alumni Foundation

The STA would like to publicly thank the University of Bristol Alumni Foundation for their support of the society. Running a theatre is an expensive business, and the Alumni Foundation has supported the STA through numerous grants over many years.

The kind contributions of the Alumni Foundation have given the STA access to facilities that would not be possible otherwise, as well as allowing us to replace equipment that we simply could not have afforded to replace without their help. Listed below are some of the more recent contributions that the Alumni Foundation have made to the STA.


Over the summer break of 2023, the STA received support from the Alumni Foundation to fund a new Mac Mini for the Winston Theatre. The new Mac has allowed the society to project onto multiple video surfaces simultaneously, increasing our A/V capabilities significantly for the new academic year. In addition, Alumni Foundation support allowed the purchase of a new QLab 5 licence, upgrading our software and allowing collaborative editing of QLab files while the Mac remains connected in its permanent location.


Over the years the ambitions of productions continue to grow, and with the Winston Theatre’s refurbishment, the STA were able to produce lighting rigs that exhausted not only our stock of Pacifics, but also of our old Harmony profiles. It was clear that more Pacifics was a sensible investment for the society. This purchase was facilitated by the generosity of the Alumni Foundation, who paid for 8 Pacifics, as well as 4 Source Four Juniors.


As the Winston re-opened, it became apparent that some aspects of moving into a new venue had been overlooked. A grant from the Alumni foundation allowed the STA to purchase a number of small items, such as working lights and a portable production desk (to go over the auditorium seats when programming the show), without which the new theatre would have been very challenging to use. This grant additionally funded equipment for use in the Pegg Studio, which now has the dedicated cabling required to fully utilise the power facilities offered by the new installation.


With the new refurbishment of the theatre underway, the Alumni Foundation awards the STA one of the most generous grants – a pool of money for the STA to spend in ensuring the portable equipment going into the new theatre matches its new spec. This allowed the STA to purchase accessories for the new followspot and lighting desk; new microphones, video equipment and a new set of portable drills. The grant allowed the STA to invest in equipment that will remain in use for years to come.


In 2013 the Alumni Foundation awarded the STA a grant to replace some of it’s very aged lanterns. The Strand Pat.743s that were previously used by the STA for backlight had been condemned and had to be replaced urgently. 6 new Selecon Ramas are an ideal up to date replacement which provide far superior optics compared to the Pat.743s and should last for years to come.


As well as providing new backlight in the form of the Ramas the Alumni grant also provided funding in 2011 for 12 new Selecon Pacific lanterns designed to replace the STA’s stock of Strand Harmony profiles. These fixtures are used to provide facelight in the theatre and are probably the most important fixtures the theatre owns, used in every show. The STA’s stock of Harmony profiles were gradually becoming harder to maintain as the mechanisms used to control the optics in the fixtures began to break. The new Pacifics provide a far superior beam, which is brighter than the Harmony profiles and cooler making for better lighting and more comfortable actors. Like the Ramas the Pacifics are a long term investment which will be in use for many years.


The Winston theatre has over 200 seats, which had become very worn with over 30 performances a year and countless other events happening in the theatre. A grant from the Alumni Foundation ensured that the seats were able to be reupholstered in 2010 giving them a new lease of life.

Some of the most safety critical equipment to be found in the theatre is equipment used for rigging and flying. In 2010 a large portion of the STA’s flying gear failed its annual inspection, meaning that there was a sudden need to replace this expensive equipment. Once again the Alumni Foundation was able to help, with a grant to replace all those ropes, pulleys and winches!


Even small lighting fixtures age and need replacing, and in 2009 it was decided that the STA’s stock of Strand Prelude Fs was coming to the end of its serviceable life. This kind of fixture has a wide range of applications, from on-stage facelight in the main theatre to use in smaller spaces like the the studio theatre MR5C and AR2 Bar. These fixtures are incredibly versatile. It was therefore important to replace them with up to date fixtures that would last. The Alumni Foundation was able to provide a grant to replace the old Strand Fs with new Selecon Acclaim fixtures, which like their big brother the Ramas have fantastic light quality and optics and complement well the STA’s lighting stock.


In 2007 it was decided to purchase new brackets to hold up the drapes used for legs to hide the wings in the Winston Theatre. The swivel action fixing allow the legs to positioned perfectly for any production.


In 2006 the Winston a new cyclorama cloth was purchased for the Winston.