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What Is Theatrical and Stage Rigging?

What Is Theatrical and Stage Rigging?

Theatrical rigging systems, also known as fly systems, are structures that allow stage crews to safely move and manipulate objects, effects, and cast members on and around the stage. These stage systems feature rope lines, pulleys, and other rigging arrangements that lift, lower, and horizontally fly props using backstage controls.

The dramatic effects, lighting, and even the movement on stage wouldn’t be the same without the precise control of theatrical rigging. But, despite how fluid the on-stage effects might look, theatrical rigging requires as much caution as any other industrial arrangement.

Common Types of Stage Rigging

Depending on the size and structure of a stage, there are many ways to configure an appropriate fly system. Some of the most common types of theatrical rigging systems include:

  • Manually Operated Rigging

    Also known as the counterweight rigging system, this system is the most commonly used option among theaters and performing arts centers. These systems give operators flexibility with movement, speed, fluidity, and overall control. While the operator raises a load from backstage, there is a counterweight placed at the end of the system that evenly distributes and stabilizes the weight.

  • Dead Hung Rigging

    Dead hung rigging is the most basic and affordable theatrical rigging system available. Typically used in theaters with smaller height limits, dead hung rigging features steel pipes that hang from the ceiling to support curtains, lights, or stage props.

  • Automated Rigging

    Some theaters prefer motorized rigging systems because operators can easily program movements to be symmetric across entire performances. Many performing arts centers turn to automated rigging for concise controls; however, some theaters still prefer the manual systems that provide quick movements at an affordable price.

Rigging Inspections and Training

Stage rigging require just as much maintenance and caution as any other type of rigging. All rigging and hoisting arrangements on stage must be inspected regardless of their use, size, or system type. Because these systems hold large amounts of weight and sometimes carry actual crew members themselves, each operator requires training on how to effectively use the system and avoid safety hazards.

At Florida Wire & Rigging, we understand that every performance depends on quality fly systems. We can provide the right equipment for any theatrical rigging system and inspect each system to ensure that every performance is operating under safe conditions. To learn more about theatrical rigging or to find the right equipment for your next stage-rigging job, call us today at 800-846-0309.