The Rose Theatre Kingston in South West London has added to its rigging inventory four 1t Loadlink Plus units from Straightpoint, which were most recently used during installation of sets for a production of Shakespeare’s King John.
The famous play, directed by Trevor Nunn, was performed during a three-week run at the theatre. It required an elaborate set that included a large raised floor with an automated lift, two 9m-high towers and three platforms connected via numerous staircases and walkways. Any remaining empty space between those towers and walkways was finished with wooden cladding. Elsewhere on set, two large sliders concealed a throne.
Wayne Parry, head of production at the Rose Theatre Kingston, explained that the load cells were used only for set installation, not during performances. He said: “Large steel sections were lifted using several motors (hoists) and, although the safe working load was well within the point capacity, we set the load cells to sound an alarm if any weight transfer came close to that capacity.”
The theatre will utilise the load cells for upcoming performances, including its next production—Good Canary, directed by John Malkovich, opens in mid-September—where three light-emitting diode (LED)-based video displays are the centrepiece to performances. The screens will be moved on tracks, while furniture moves on and off stage using floor tracks. The load cells will be used to monitor the loads distributed to the front of the overhead structure where the forces are greatest.
Parry explained that the theatre has a spider grid that houses the lighting rig and any performance-specific low load rigging. Most of the rigging is transferred to still sections in the roof that have a point load of 250kg. The stage dimensions beneath are 10m deep, 16m wide and 10m high.
He said: “The Rose grid is a complex affair and loads are spread between various sections to include the permanently installed bridges. As there is no flying system, the loads tend to be manageable as most of the work is fixed and much of it transfers through the stage floor. The stage floor itself is made up of steel deck rostras on steel legs.”
The Loadlink Plus units, manufactured from high-quality and high-tensile aircraft grade aluminum, were selected by Parry and his team in consultation with Straightpoint based on the theatre’s immediate requirements and flexibility for use in future shows.
Parry concluded: “Safety in any workplace is important and particularly so in the world of theatre, which compromises many different disciplines carried out simultaneously. Additionally, schedules are always tight and deadlines concrete, therefore, the need for clear and thorough safety procedures is vital.”