Supplier spotlight: Creative staging

A stage is more than the sum of its parts.

Putting up the structure, rigging the lights, laying the floor – all this has to happen to actually have a stage. But the gasp-worthy moments that stages can bring come from collaboration with designers, managers, and crew. They work together to create stages that are anything but ordinary.

We asked Acorn Events’, Impact Production Services, and Staging Services to tell us about their favourite events – be they innovative, challenging, or just plain fun. Our conclusion? It takes a lot of work to make those stages sing.

Glasgow 2014 Opening Ceremony – Acorn Event Structures

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Acorn was contracted by Jack Morton to provide heavy staging element of the Opening Ceremony for Glasgow 2014 at Celtic Park.

The structure comprised of 1,500sqm of heavy-duty stage platform with integral access tunnels, ramps and stairs along with screen support structure to hang 50 tonnes of video and audio equipment including the largest temporary digital LED screen ever installed, measuring almost 100m wide and 12m high.

The structure was built beneath the existing Main South stand, which introduced additional challenges of getting the hanging points for the screen as close to the roof as possible while minimising the ground-bearing pressure of the structure on the concrete terracing.

Additional works involved a perimeter platform running over the back tiers of the three remaining sides of the stadium with two external access hoists to allow production equipment to be loaded with the 35 vertical metres from the outer car park to perimeter platform level.

“Translating a designer’s vision into a fully engineered structure that can be delivered on schedule and budget whilst still retaining the creative look and feel can be challenging,” said Acorn’s Emma Petty. “Our modular staging systems combined with the Layher system scaffold product – think Meccano for grown-ups – allows us a huge amount of freedom and flexibility in tailoring and customising staging structures from predominantly stock components.”

Rock of Ages at Leicester Square Odeon – Impact Production Services (IPS)

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Impact Production’s project manager Tom Warden told Access:

“Working for Limited Edition Event Design, IPS constructed a stage platform on the balcony of the Odeon Cinema, Leicester Square for the premiere of Rock of Ages, the film.

“This was a complicated brief, and a seemingly endless series of restrictions throughout the project meant that it kept everyone on their toes throughout what was a very truncated design and build period.

“IPS works on a lot of film premiers, and they are usually designed at comparatively short notice, and always pushing to do something that has never been done in the same way before – with an eye for detail, and always in the media spotlight.

“The stage platform for this event had to be built to exactly fill the glass enclosed balcony area, and had a truss structure over the top to support a rock’n’roll lighting rig and roof canopy. In order to satisfy the floor loading restrictions, we had to install truss towers on Layher bases to spread the load partially from the pavement below.

All this had to be completed in a very short period of time, whilst pedestrian access was maintained around the square at all times. The finish had to be of a high standard too, with international press coverage being the main aim for the PR agency end client. Working in a public place, with celebrity guests also meant that health and safety was a key consideration, and all documentation had to be in place, including specific structural calculations to satisfy the requirements of Westminster Council.”

Birmingham Symphony Hall – Staging Services

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In an attempt to attract new forms of on-going revenue, Staging Services were asked to find a solution to transform Birmingham’s world-famous Symphony Hall from a renowned concert hall into a new space for the international conference, corporate and events market – all within a 12-hour deadline.

Symphony Hall: The Next Stage is a creative offering that combines world-class acoustics and expert event delivery with custom-built tiered staging covering the Stalls seating, designed by Staging Services. The solution used more than 300 stage decks to create a floating tiered floor that provided a 600sqm floor are with a banqueting capacity of 620. A bespoke balustrade system using the latest LED technology was developed by Staging Services especially for the project and used to bring cabaret-style events and conferences to life.

The revamp has already yielded results, with the first booking confirmed for June 2015, when The Asset Based Finance Association will hold its annual conference.

“Staging Services has been providing live event organisers with staging and bespoke stage sets for more than 25 years,” said the company’s marketing manager Richard Langford. “This is a really exciting time for us. We’re used to giving performances a lift, but in the new partnership with Symphony Hall Birmingham, we will literally be lifting the venue – there’s something very special about this opportunity. It’s not ever day you get to work with such a precious and highly acclaimed venue.”