Friday, January 19, 2007

Gallows Humour

Back at the Leeds Grand, this noose welcomes visitors to the fly floor. The sign on it says "Feel free!!" The staircase continues onwards and upwards to the Grid.

This is an overhead view of the fly floor, where the two controllers for the flying equipment are. The wall on the left was originally covered with the counterweight frames in which the balancing cradles ran. The weights had to be loaded and unloaded on a gallery higher above. Surprisingly, the flys are as bright as this during shows as the light does not spill onto the stage below.

A view of the grid. The pink walls are where the stage house was raised some six metres or so above the original structural level. Five cables feed to each bar and the numbers of pulleys reduces across the stage as you get further away from the lifting equipment. (Note how they alternate.) The sensors are to detect slack wires, i.e. ones that have snapped or the bar has possibly fouled by hitting an obstruction.

The hauling equipment, note the five sets of steel wire coils on each drum. Yes, that is indeed the manager in-shot who was our group's guide for the afternoon and he certainly knows quite a bit about everything about his theatre.

We even saw inside the abandoned projection box of the Assembly Room which was known as the Plaza for many years. The Box is that carbuncle on the roof line, Warren's words but we all agreed. It will go one day and in the meantime the remains of two Kalee Projectors with BTH lamphouses continue to rust. Talking of rust, we were advised that the wrought iron staircase which can be seen under the Box was probably not a good idea to venture onto...

And finally, a low tech fire alrm. read the label...(Click on any of the pictures for larger versions).


Not Saussure said...

Thanks for that article. It really brought back memories of a holiday job I once had, year and years ago in the early 1970s, it must have been, at the old Nottingham Theatre Royal working as a flyman.

This was before they refurbished the place and, apart from the safety curtain, everything was flown with thick ropes -- no pullies; just counterweights and several flymen hauling on the ropes in a very cramped fly loft.

Ian Grey said...

I know the Royal well, post-upgrade. I visited it shortly after opening as an ABTT student and helped fix various bits of machinery (certainly the motorised Bridge, Orchestra Pit and possibly the Safety Curtain or the Tableau curtains) some 25 years later when I worked for Furse in Nottingham.