Six Straightpoint load cells are being used by the Rose Theatre Kingston in South West London during a three-week run of Zack Helm’s Good Canary, directed by John Malkovich. The ensemble of load cells includes two that were ordered at the 11th hour due to scenic additions.
The latest Loadlink plus load cells were added to the rigging following the addition of side masking to three 4m-high LED screens that are tracked up and down stage during performances and integral to the production.
Wayne Parry, head of production at the Rose Theatre Kingston, said: “The side masking allowed for a clean, crisp finish and meant the production team could incorporate a doorway for the actors to enter and exit to the side of the screens. An additional benefit was that they solidified the screens and facilitated smooth movement.”
However, the loading requirement that this placed on the Rose Theatre grid was substantial and the engineers’ report highlighted theoretical loads close to the venue’s capacity. 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. During performances of Good Canary, 2,500kg of weight is in the air.
Parry said: “We were uncomfortable about adding weight without additional pick points so, with the help of the Straightpoint team, we were able to get a cost effective solution by adding more load cells to the rig to monitor all the necessary load points. This enabled us to work with the engineers to re-evaluate the report and, eventually, add the additional weight.”
Parry explained that Good Canary—Malkovich’s London theatre directing debut runs 16 September to 8 October—is a highly technical production with tracked furniture and multiple scene changes combining with the large screens.
He said: “The main loading requirement was for the screens. Each is 430kg and we needed to design a custom truss structure that could meet the demands of 1,320kg moving over the stage. Additionally, as the screens were constantly used to illustrate essential content, the structure could have only minimal ground support as not to cause sight line obstructions. We ended up with a large cantilever truss that needed securing to our grid.”
The Loadlink plus features an integral display, full function push button controls for tare, choice of units (lbs, kg, kN, and tonnes), peak hold, preset tare, audible set-point alarm and an overload counter. Constructed of high-grade aircraft quality aluminium, the internal design structure offers excellent weight to strength ratio.
Parry concluded: “The Loadlink plus load cells have performed brilliantly. It’s an easy to use and reliable product that enables us to monitor our loads and ensure we’re working safely.”