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Stage Technologies and Delstar Engineering automate Made in Dagenham

Stage Technologies and Delstar Engineering automate Made in Dagenham
Stage Technologies and Delstar Engineering automate Made in Dagenham

UK - Based on a true story as well as the 2010 film of the same name, Made in Dagenham is a new musical comedy at London’s Adelphi Theatre about the equal pay strike by the women who made car seats at the London suburb’s Ford factory in 1968. The show stars Gemma Arterton as Rita O’Grady - factory machinist, wife and mother who with her colleagues finds out that their pay has been downgraded to unskilled, and who therefore decide to stage a walk out. Rita soon finds herself thrust into the role of spokesperson and the show explores the strain that the industrial action puts upon the strikers’ relationships and livelihoods. The action unfolds against a lively soundtrack of 1960s-inspired song and dance numbers and brightly coloured sets. To automate the latter the show’s Production Manager, Matt Towell selected Stage Technologies to supply a 39-axis overhead, stage level and sub-stage automation control system; and sister company Delstar Engineering to provide fabricated steelwork, tracks and engineering.

Stage Technologies’ BigTow Classic, BT2-200 and BT2-390 winches as well as motors and hydraulics automate the 39 axes. Seven AU:tour 6 cabinets are stationed in the Adelphi’s basement to power the system, and it is controlled by the show’s automation team using an Acrobat•G6 desk situated in a perch on downstage right. Four BT2-200 winches in truss provide a performer flying gag.

Much of the show’s action takes place on the Ford factory floor. Delstar Engineering fabricated two car seat rails - one sloped and one level - which circulate in the background of this set; these are powered by a Stage Technologies motor and gear box. While Delstar Engineering customarily fabricates stage machinery that is hidden from view, these rails and mechanisms would be visible to the audience and would need to match the set’s industrial style. Delstar therefore constructed and painted them with that in mind; the production team then added the hanging car seats.

A number of key scenes take place in the O’Grady family home, and this house structure, fabricated by Delstar Engineering, also doubles as a community social club in one scene. Delstar also supplied the rotating truck on which the O’Grady house sits plus the large curved track that delivers it from stage left numerous times during the show. The rotating mechanics inside the truck allow the house to face the audience head on as it departs from its resting place offstage and travels downstage toward the audience along the track. When the house structure is clad as the social club the same mechanism turns the structure to a slight angle.

Delstar Engineering also supplied hydraulic lifts, drop-and-slides and scissor lifts for performer and scenic entrances and exits from sub stage.

Matt Towell said: "As usual, the Stage Technologies team was brilliant. They provided a smooth, accurate, informative and extremely professional service."

www.stagetech.com

www.delstar.co.uk

26th November 2014

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