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A Solution From SE Fabrication For Physical Distancing For Musicians

PLSN Staff • News • July 29, 2020

MONTREAL – Salle Claude‐Champagne of the superior music school of the University of Montreal contacted SE Fabrication ( thanks to our reputation for building stages that are versatile and extraordinarily strong as well as being able to be assembled and struck quickly.

More details from SE Fabrication  (

Mr. Onil Brousseau, Production coordinator for Salle Claude‐Champagne, described his challenge as follows, “The COVID‐19 pandemic forced our teaching institution to find innovative solutions to allow students the possibility to play music live in groups. Salle‐

Claude Champagne has a large stage of around 3500 square feet.

However, due to physical distancing measures, the stage is not big enough to stage all of the

musicians, teaching and production staff for performances of the University of Montreal Orchestra, the Big Band or the Opera Atelier to name but a few. We estimated the space requirement to ideally be double what we had.”

“As Production Coordinator at the Faculty of music of U de M, I looked for solutions internally to see if we had equipment that could be used to meet our needs both of space and of health directives from the public health authorities. We quickly realized that decking over the public seating area which has a 10‐degree slope was not going to be an easy fix. This important investment required a solution that was flexible, easily removable, modular and especially long‐term.”

“We called upon the professionals in the field of custom scenic solutions from Scene Ethique (SE Fabrication). In a few very efficient meetings, the SE Fabrication project manager quickly understood the challenge, proposed solutions that meet the need for flexibility, strength, and

modularity. The solution of extending the stage over the seating area posed several challenges such as the legs needed to be adjustable in height and position according to their position relative to the seats and to adjust to the slope of the house.”

Mr. Mike Gohier, project manager for SE Fabrication, resumes the situation, “The initial plan was to purchase scaffolding equipment such as Aluma‐Beams and plywood decks. The challenge was the time required for set‐up and strike and the requirement to remove many seats in the hall where legs conflicted. This represented an important additional cost as well the risk of damaging the seats. The extra costs and the set‐up time (4 days) and strike time (2 days) greatly exceeded the available budget.”

“When we visited the site, we quickly understood the problem – seats arranges in an arc formation on a 10‐degree slope… it was impossible to determine exactly where legs would land because of the curve of the rows and therefore be in constant conflict with the legs. As for the slope of the house, the legs had to be pivoting so as to adjust easily and land safely.”

“Our staging system developed for Cirque du Soleil was not designed in a way for the legs to be positioned elsewhere then in the corners of the decks. However, the system is comprised of a 2” X 6” steel sub‐structure that allows the installation of the legs creating a grid prior to installing the decks.

This 10’ X 5’ sub‐structure is strong enough to support 2 decks at its center. We therefor had the idea of designing a leg that could be installed anywhere along the length of the sub‐structure.”

“A simple design of a fixation to the structure with positioning in 4” increments with a saddle that can be fixed to the sub‐structure with a simple pin at the same spacing. This allows us to add legs on either side of the decks corner to support the substructure  and decks. In this manner, the substructure  serves simply as the union between decks and the support is via the legs that are placed to as to avoid any seats.”

Mr. Brousseau, Production coordinator of Salle Claude‐Champagne, resumes, “With the modular and fully adapted equipment. The Faculty of Music will be the only superior  music school in the Montreal region – even in all of Quebec – to offer its student, professors and researchers a professional environment that fully complies with public health requirements and offering a safe space for rehearsals and partial public performances – either online or with a limited  number of audience.”


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