Circus-Themed Staging, Set Elements Used for Take That’s U.K. Tour

by PLSN Staff • in
  • International News
• Created: July 31, 2009

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LONDON — A 7.8-meter-high mechanical elephant, which was used to transport band members to their places on the stage during the opening of Take That’s Circus Live Tour, was only part of the high-wire technological feat performed for each of Take That’s 20 Circus-themed stadium shows, which were attended by over 1 million fans in the U.K.

The production, dreamed up by show producer Kim Gavin and set designer Es Devlin, was carried out by Brilliant Stages, with support from Summit Steel, XL Video and other companies, also included a giant Ringmaster puppet at the finale.

One of the most technically-challenging staging/rigging show-stopping moments, however, was the transformation of the Big Top tent set element into a circular frame for the main video screen for the show.

Brilliant Stages supplied the 15-meter-by-23-meter structure beneath the scarlet big top. The tent structure, which weighed about 8 tons, was raised 90° to a vertical position, on two hinges weighing 2.5tons each, to form a surround for the central video screen.

“When designing the hinge system for this lift, we had to calculate the wind load and devise a method of controlling the framework as it reached the point of zero resistance in the vertical position,” says Brilliant Stages project manager for the event, Clay Brock. “This was a huge engineering point which we solved using a catcher arm to take the load.”

“This element was easily the biggest challenge for us,” agreed Chris Walker, senior project manager from Summit Steel, who was involved from the early design and concept stages starting September 2008. Along with Brock, Walker also worked with Chris Vaughan from The Production Office to make the fanciful show concepts work safely.

Brilliant Stages built the tent structure using a 15-meter diameter circular truss with fins reaching down, finishing just before the ground. The back of the circle was attached to two large hydraulic hinges, each weighing 2.5 metric tonnes, while the rest was supported by four 16mm steel wires run off at 45 degree angles to four of the upstage StageCo towers.

Each of the four wires was fed through a diverter pully rigged in the towers, all double-purchased. Each wire was then pulled by a rocker-beam attached to the pulley. Beneath each rocker beam were two quad-reeved CM Lodestar model LL hoists, all wired for the Kinesys Elevation motion control system.

At the cue point, the covering cloth was speedily removed from the tent structure. The eight hoists all pulled together to lift the circle – (complete with integral lights rigged in the trussing) as it hinged out and up, transforming into a vertically orientated frame for the large upstage center LED screen. This smoothly-progressing action took place over a five-minute time frame.

Summit also supplied over 100 Lodestar hoists to the tour — a combination of half, 1 and 2 tonne versions — which were used for rigging PA (Capital Sound) and video (XL Video & CT).


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