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Music in Romsey sings the praises of Doughty Engineering
UK – Romsey Abbey is a magnificent 12th century church, the largest parish church in Hampshire and home to a vibrant congregation. It has also been used as a performance venue by Music in Romsey (MIR) since the early 1970s. MIR hosts an extensive series of concerts there throughout the year. Musicians involved range from local choirs and bands to international soloists and orchestras. However, the group has always struggled to 'raise' their performers due to a lack of any special staging.
Bob Smith, stage manager for Music in Romsey said: "In the past we've had to use whatever we had to hand – literally – old beer crates with sheets of hardboard laid over the top come to mind. We then had some wooden platforms made which could be stacked and placed on trolleys and these were used at every concert when staging was needed until about four years ago. They were 1.3 metres square and 24-, 12- and six-inches high, and very heavy. So we began to look for something new and lighter. I was given a budget and met representatives of a number of staging suppliers but it was Doughty Engineering who ticked all our boxes."
Bob worked closely with Laurence Dyer at Doughty to agree on the quantities and sizes of Stagedeck. Bob explained: "Each stage is different and the Abbey, being some 900 years old, is not metric so we had to ask for a number of bespoke items, some of which, I understand have now made their way into the Doughty catalogue."
Bob and Laurence worked together to design various pieces of kit around the Abbey. Most of what has been supplied, however, is off the shelf; seven bases each measuring 1000 x 1000 x 1000mm and 100 bases measuring 1000 x 1000 x 250mm as well as a number of other items including bespoke safety rails and steps.
Bob continued: "Doughty has helped with the many problems of fitting 'standard' sized blocks into a very non-standard building. Laurence has been particularly helpful with advice and problem solving. He and I are able to discuss problems as they arise and generally solve them. In fact he has never said that 'such-and-such' is impossible. He recently visited during a stage build – one of our largest stages for some 200 singers – and saw a solution to a problem which had been irritating me for a very long time."
Bob concluded: "Unfortunately I will be retiring from by post as stage manager at the end of this year after designing and building stages for the last 40 plus years. I am hoping that my successor will be as happy with the new staging as I have been. Easydeck has made a huge difference to our group, in particular to my stage building team."
4th August 2017
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