Benefits of Automated Stage Technology

Laura van Haperen, Trekwerk B.V., Dutch Oistat Centre
Presentation for OISTAT Technology Annual Meeting, April 10-13, 2014

A stage director will then get aware of
stage technology
when it's not giving enough room
to realize his/ her demands.


In 2000 the health authority in the Netherlands worked out a new regulation. The regulation states that manual rigging systems are only permissible when being a counterweight system with a maximum of 20 fly bars and a load of 75 kg each. This regulation became operative in 2007.

Based on a generally accepted international regulation (heaving 23 kg), a whole county has been automated in a very short period of time.
The theatre culture in the Netherlands is different to other counties. Theatre buildings are separated from the touring theatre companies. The socialistic concept behind it was to carry the arts to the people.

This concept leaded to the demand of uniformity of the rigging system (e.g. everywhere the same fly bar interval).
As the theatre companies start building up the scenery usually on performing day also other demands got more and more important: good organized logistics, easy offloading from the truck, light and easy to handle pieces of scenery, many fly bars, very quick and easy programming of the fly bar system and so on.

The Netherlands are a small country, but with its nearly 17 million people, quite populated. The theatre culture there is distinctive, from the very little theatres to the big stadiums the country counts about 400 stages, wherefrom about 120 proscenium theatres with automated stage technology.
As generally is known the Netherlands are a very economical orientated trading country. Therefore a quite important reason for keeping this touring theatre concept is that 12 travelling people of a theatre company are much more effective then 600 travelling people for audience. What also increases the efficiency is the fact that the touring productions are made for a big audience. Therefore, this concept is definitely very interesting for big countries as China, too.

Coming from this empirical background this paper will take a look at the benefits of automated stage technology. Which effect does an automated system have on the possibilities within the arts and do all the safety factors automatically guarantee safer working conditions?

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