ModTruss, the industry changing modular truss, winner of the ABTT 2015 Engineering Product of the Year, has been used to build a theatre set to great success in Sheffield where no other product would do the job.
At the end of June, a team from Triple E went to the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield for the installation of ModTruss in its first use as a structural piece of scenery in the UK for the Sheffield People’s Theatre production of A Dream.
The structure was an 11.5m x 6m platform on 2.4m uprights made up of the three available sizes of aluminium ModTruss – 3”, 6” and 12”.
Stuart West, the Technical Manager for Sheffield Theatres, contacted Triple E after reading about ModTruss.
“The front span is 5.5m and had to be supported between two pillars. Doing this with standard scaffold is do-able but would mean that we’d end up with a massive frontage to the set which wasn’t desirable for the Designer.” Stuart West explains, “However, a 12” box of ModTruss could do the span with no problems at all; we were able to maintain the sightlines the Designer wanted whilst having something structurally strong enough and giving us the depth of the floor that we needed. ModTruss was the only product on the market that fulfilled the need and the design brief.”
Not only was the pre-production process with Triple E “a dream come true” and “very, very easy” but so was the build. The crew thoroughly enjoyed the day as ModTruss is so easy to put together, vastly different from anything else available and so lightweight that no heavy lifting was required!
Stuart goes on to say “Building the structure was very exciting. The opportunity to work with what is effectively Meccano for adults was a lot of fun; it brought back a lot of childhood memories for all of the crew and it became quite a fun day to explore and experiment with the structure. But it was so simple! We followed the drawings we got from Triple E – it was almost like constructing by numbers.”
Stuart received the following feedback from the lighting department. “LX loved the idea that they can quickly and easily put in suspended scaff tubes on half couplers, they could even suspend lighting fixtures straight from the structure. The ModTruss also enabled them to hide certain fixtures within the structure leaving clean lines on the faux ceiling underside.”
Cable management is always a big task in a set however ModTruss makes it simple. As Stuart puts it: “It’s the easiest way to distribute cables across the structure in a way that you have no trip hazards; you can run it along all the supporting beams, cut a hole in your show floor and it pops out where you need it.”
Stuart was so impressed with ModTruss that he foresees using it in the future already, he even wishes he’d had it available in the past! “We’ve done previous productions [Oliver, 2013] where ModTruss would’ve been the ideal application for that. We ended up using a scaffolding structure that didn’t quite facilitate the needs of the production.” Stuart ends by saying “It’s a product that allows you to have infinite possibilities and allows you to build something that seems to be custom out of a standard box of parts. It’s the ultimate tool in any construction process.”