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Royal Opera House – Stage Management Gantry

As part of a £214 million modernisation programme, a project was undertaken to transform the way in which backdrop scenery, stage lighting and auditorium access were managed at The Royal Opera House.

To solve this challenge, ARX designed a unique travelling gantry, which was installed in the late 1990s during a substantial restoration of the 19th century building.

The Challenge

ARX designed, built and installed a bespoke stage management gantry, spanning the 28-metre auditorium and weighing 36 tonnes. 

The gantry has some very innovative features, including: chain hoists beneath the bridge to lift heavy cloth backdrops and scenery; an articulated mobile access platform to reach all parts of the stage; and a large work area hidden within the bridge beams for the stage technicians.

The Solution

Working closely with both the main construction contractor and lead architect, ARX engineered a robust, integrated counterweight system to raise and lower the doors.

The system is hand-powered and weight-balanced, a nod to older gates in the city, while helping to keep modern eco credentials by avoiding electric motors. When lowered and locked, the stainless steel doors also serve a physical security function.

Technical Details

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