From the bottom of the basement to the top of the flytower, the Everyman has been equipped with carefully selected and designed technical equipment intended o offer limitless creative opportunities in a sustainable and appropriate way. The technical systems design was developed in close association with the client team, combining their expertise of how they used the existing building with our technical design skills and knowledge. The design process included trips to industry shows and study tours throughout Europe and many different manufacturer demonstrations.
The stage engineering system includes a modular stage floor on a demountable sub-stage structure which allows the theatre to be quickly reconfigured into a variety of formats or even removed. The seat mounting has been cleverly integrated into the front of the decking to allow the seats to be moved as required without the need for the stage floor to be drilled.
Above the stage is a series of technical walkways, whose middle walkways can be moved or taken out to accommodate large set pieces. The movement of these large bridges complete with fold-down lighting bars is a simple manual operation that uses the structural steelwork as a guide with a railway style track to ensure stability and ease of operation.
A similar track system is used for the proscenium panels which can be used to create a variety of width opening or again completely removed. The stage, technical bridges and proscenium panels are simply but elegantly engineered solutions to enable complete flexibility in the space.
Not all of the stage engineering systems are simple manual system though: over the thrust and flytower is a multi-axis power flying system comprising point hoists, chain hoists and linesets. Working with Stage Technologies, Charcoalblue were able to refine the prototype of their ‘Tip Toe’ point hoist to make it suitable for use in the thrust grid several meters away from audience’s head. The power flying system is essential in allowing the theatre to accommodate the wide range of shows and stage formats.
The stagelighting and audiovisual systems were installed by Northern Stage Services, and again flexibility was the driving factor behind the design. This means connection panels are provided throughout the space and surrounding areas: the system extends to the theatre, the rehearsal and theatre and community spaces (EV1 and EV2) and the front of house areas, enabling buildingwide performances to be facilitated if required.
With the client’s team Charcoalblue led the design of the houselighting scheme, adapting the originally-specified tungsten scheme to low energy LED fittings from GDS. The entire team was keen to get the location of the fittings correct and the colour temperature complementary to the seating fabric: referring back to long theatrical focus sessions, we turned all of the lights off one lunchtime, placed the seat prototype in the space and tried out different lighting angles with the architect so we could ensure we had a solution that would do justice to the beautiful seats and brickwork whilst meeting the likely requirements of a theatre lighting designer.
As well as designing all the installed equipment and infrastructure, Charcoalblue also specified all the loose technical equipment, giving designers and technicians a complete toolbox with which to create dynamic, exciting and memorable theatre.
Ian Stickland - Senior Consultant, Charcoalblue