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Advice on stage sets?


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Hi guys,


Sorry I haven't been on here for a while,


I'm looking to build some old-fashioned 70s stage scenery for a show.


Its basically white flowing shapes I think it's material wrapped around some kind of frame.


I have an idea of how to do it, but was wondering if there was any experts or people used to doing this kind of stuff on here so I could run my ideas by them and maybe get some pointers on how to do it better or what to avoid etc?


Is there anyone like that on here?





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Loads! Firstly, scenery hasn't really changed much in a very long time. The idea of timber frames and cloth stretched around is still current. Sure - nowadays people with big budgets have plastic, aluminium and other more durable and posh stuff, but timber is so simple and cheap, it is still easy to use, because basic carpentry is all you need.


You can be posh and use mortice and tenon joints, or you can use half lapped joints, or even biscuits and strengthening plates made from thin ply or MDF. So much depends on how long you want it to last. in old money, 3 x 1 timber is easy to source in the metric sizes, and when it's complete, you stretch fabric around it, and staple on the rear. If you round over the edges with a router, the fabric lasts longer. All the hardware for keeping it up is available from Flints - so the only real rules are the simple ones - make sure they are not too big to carry, or store, and the fabric you pick is either naturally flame retardant, or treated to prevent it catching fire.


So what do you want to do?

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Hi paul,


Thanks so much for the reply!


I'm not sure if wood would do the job though as the shape of the sets is kinda like an 'hourglass' wavy shape with curves (I'll PM you a more detailed description of the design)


I was thinking maybe conduit/metal tubing which could be added onto to adapt for different stage heights?


Aluminium would be ideal thinking about it but I imagine stupidly expensive?


Cheers for the help,



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Have you thought of using kite making parts and fibre-glass rods? You can get Tee pieces, angled joints, three-dimensional corner pieces and the rods can be curved and bent into almost any smooth shape you desire.


It may not be hugely durable but we used to use them for screens and cubes etc using a variety of materials from rip-stop and cotton sheeting to nets and gauzes. They lasted well enough for us to tour with raves for years and packed down to almost nothing.


E2A: inflatables are also another way to get the flowing shapes you suggest but need someone skilled to create.

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Curves in one dimension is achievable by using freehand cut MDF or ply as the formers for the curve and 3x1 to space the formers out. Cover either directly with fabric or use steamed or soaked thin ply and good strong fixings to stop it springing apart again. Wire mesh and fibreglass is another potential method.


Curves in two dimensions becomes much more complex to work with, just drawing it out can cause a headache (contour lines a la OS maps can be helpful).

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Brilliant guys!


Love the kite kit/rod idea!


It ideally needs to be as portable and be packed away as much as poss as there won't be a lot of room on our tourbus for it, so the rods might be superb!


I'll PM you a pic of what I'm after so you get the idea if you like?


B x

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  • 2 weeks later...
For 2D curves you can do a great deal with no solid structure - cut the fabric to the shape you require (hemming the edges for longevity) then stretch between flybars \ the grid and some stage-weights. You can use sash cord coloured so as to match the background to pull down \ up any intermediate points you need. Very lazy, but very quick to get in and out. Can look good to.
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