Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 2021 - 24

Construction drawing showing the multi-groove loft
blocks. | Image courtesy of Rick Boychuk.

Detail of the Brannigan and Associates approval
stamp on the submittal drawings by JR Clancy
along with the initials of Robert Brannigan. |
Image courtesy of Rick Boychuk.

the drawing from Clancy shows that the
responsibility of the hardware was left
up to the installer. GC Stage could have
installed grade 2 fasteners, but instead
chose the higher grade fastener.
A potential friction point in a system is
the sliding of the arbor shoes on the rails
of the guide wall. Guide walls must be
true and plumb on two axes. If the guide
wall is not true and plumb, it results in
the wear marks on the guide rails where
the arbor shoe slides along the guide.
Another possible result is guides that are
bent. This installation showed neither.
I have seen, on a small number of occasions, a curious alignment of the head
blocks and the guide rails. In these installations, the head block is situated a
bit further off stage by about 2-3 inches.
The effect is to force the arbor toward the
guide rails, with increased friction, as it
rises to the top of travel.
At the Imperial, the installers from
GC Stage installed a true and plumb
guide wall. The alignment of the grooves
of the head blocks and the loft blocks at
the Imperial is true, as well. You can see
this in your own system. Do the loft lines,
where they connect to the arbor top, form
an isosceles triangle or do they form a
scalene triangle? Isosceles is the right

24 | THEATRE DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY | SPRING 2021

answer. And you thought that you would
never use that trigonometry from high
school!
One of the most remarkable features
of the line sets is how well balanced
they are at mid travel. In talking with the
three successive technical directors and
the current head flyman, Bob McNulty,
I discovered that the practice of balancing the line sets at mid travel has been
in effect since the delivery of the system.
Gary Tuzo, who oversaw the installation,
says that he taught the first crew to balance the line sets at mid travel-a practice maintained to this day. As a batten
is raised from low to high trim, the wire
rope lift lines are moved from the battenside of the line set to the arbor-side. In a
6-lift line set with 60 feet of travel, the total amount of wire rope moved from one
side to the other is 40 pounds (60 feet of
travel x 6 lift lines x .11 pounds per foot
= 40 pounds). If line sets are balanced at
mid travel, the operator has only to deal
with half of the 40 pounds of imbalance
at each end of travel. So, when starting
the batten, either at low or high trim, it
was necessary to start only 20 pounds.
And when stopping it, one must stop only
20 pounds.
Gary and Justin Tuzo indicate that



Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 2021

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