Emmanuel College's New Traditional Proscenium Theatre
Located in the suburb of Carrara, less than 5 kilometers from the Gold Coast CBD, Emmanuel College is a Christian school for approximately 1450 students from Prep to Year 12 with an affiliated/on-campus kindergarten.
The school has recently completed the construction of a traditional proscenium theatre complete fly tower, motorised hoists and a motorised stage platform.
In designing the staging aspects, Phil Viney of Design Stage turned to Jands for their expertise in this area. Jands supplied the motorised show flying system, motorised lighting bars, motorised stage platform, front of house curtain and stage drapes.
“The school wanted a professional, dedicated theatre not an auditorium for assemblies,” remarked Phil. “The auditorium seats approximately 460 people with a separate lighting control room at the rear and a sound control position included as a permanent addition to the central seating bank at the rear of the auditorium. The first two rows of the audience area nearest the stage are located on the motorised stage platform. The remaining seating is moderately raked on a single level.”
The structural proscenium opening is 12.0m wide x 5.5m high with a stage height of 1000mm. The fly tower height allows 13.75m to the underside of the rigging beams to enable show flying of scenery out of view of the audience.
The stage floor is sprung timber flooring comprising a fixed forestage section of 1200mm depth and an additional curved thrust stage area provided by the motorised stage platform extending about 3300mm into the auditorium. The permanent stage depth is approximately 10.0m forming an overall acting area behind the proscenium setting line of approximately 12.0m wide x 8.5m deep plus a large forestage area when the platform is in the upper position. There is additional wing space which varies in width extending out to 5.0m on each side of the stage.
A Gala Spiralift system, which Phil describes as awesome, was chosen for the motorised stage platform as it is the world's most compact lifting system, featuring a coiled, flexible, flat steel band that expands with the insertion of a thin, vertically-oriented spiral steel band to form a highly rigid vertical column. The result is a stable, fully adjustable column formed of continuously integrated, I-shaped sections.
The Spiralift requires relative low-power motor drives thanks to its very high mechanical efficiency. Spiralift units can be configured easily in modular designs to suit any platform geometry and building architecture.
Five main over-stage rigging beams are spaced 3.1m apart, running parallel to the centre line of the stage. These rigging beams are at a height of 13.75m, running up/down stage providing the main structural support for the motorised battens that in turn support the stage equipment such as drapes, lights, and adjustable borders etc.
Rigging beams form part of the building structural steel specification with a uniformly distributed safe working load of 2.5 tonne each. Beams extend from the rear stage wall to the proscenium with a completely clear lower flanges. Additional FOH beams are also provided at a lower level (approximately 8.6m above stage level) from the front of the proscenium extending out to the FOH lighting bridge to cater for any flown equipment over the forestage area. This includes any FOH temporary rigging, projectors and FOH speaker positions.
Four motorised bars are provided for lighting bars, with static battens included for the required complement of masking drapes over the stage. In addition, six ASM high speed motorised rigging bars have been provided to allow for show flying of scenery, backdrops or other suspended equipment. The ASM hoists, which are fast, accurate and quiet, are controlled via a ASM Genesis LC8 control system. This control system allows curtains, backdrops, scrims, cycloramas and other scenery props to be flown in and out during a performance. Each batten has a maximum SWL of approximately 250kg and is capable of adjustable flying speeds of between 150mm/second and 1.5 m/second.
Four Jands JLX PRO lighting bars are positioned over the stage, raised and lowered via four Jands H500PVX 500kg SWL hoists. These lighting bars only need to be moved when lights or other flown hardware are being hung, maintained or removed, remaining static during performances and rehearsals.
Both the ASM high speed motorised hoists and the Jands H500PVX hoists are operate from the same ASM Genesis control system.
To cater to a variety of performances, adjustable masking can be used to alter the proscenium geometry to a smaller format when required. The top proscenium masking border (Teaser) allows the reduction of the proscenium height by up to 1.5m. Adjustable proscenium legs (Tormentors) allow adjustment of the proscenium width from 12.0m down to 9.0m. The tormentors are manually operated.
Jands Staging provided the main front of house velvet drapes which are supported from a motorised French-action (bi-parting) drape track system Jands also supplied a cyclorama that is dead hung at the rear of the stage together with two sets of manually operated tab-tracks, one at the rear of the stage to cover the cyclorama and the other mid stage to act as a mid stage curtain.
“Jands has been great,” commented Phil. “They put a lot of effort into the project and it really paid off as the outcome has been great. The builder – Alder Constructions - is also very happy with them. They really have been a pleasure to deal with.”
Photographs courtesy of Alder Constructions.