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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Been busy with an odd project, making rounded set pieces to form the proscenium at the sides of a stage. This is part of my project to convert a Jr. High school cafeteria into a theater. These are going to be bolted onto the 16 x 24 ft platform/stage I installed some time ago. Up to now it has just been a platform, 6 inches high, painted black and lit by theatrical lights on dimmers. Our senior group meets there every Friday, and I've wanted to turn a facility into a theater for decades.

The old middle school is now leased to a church, which has a mission to do community outreach and become a place where peoploe can come to participate with others. The facility was named "The Venue" at Redeemer Church, and it is now the only entertainment facility for almost 10 miles, on the East side of town.

This project is one of two quarter round, 18inch radius, by 8 ft tall, and it's built a little like one of those old balsa wood model airplanes. Three bulkheads with stringers tieing them together.

It was assembled with glue, and reinforced later with nails. The stringers are connected to the bulkheads on each end with triangluar blocks cut from 2x4s. The 2xs had rounded edges and required sanding to flatten them so they could attach to the stringers. The stringers afe lifht weight, 5/8ths by 1 38ths. These were hand picked for straightness and fewest knots. The back side of each was rough, so they were sanded smooth on each end.

The picture of the quarter round, half inch BB ply, shows the triangle and the short piece used to position each triangle so the stringers aligned perfectly with the curved edge. The other quarter round shows what they looked like. Later. a 3/4 BB ply quarter circle was fitted to the middle of the stringers to keep them stiff.

The picture showing the stringers in position before the middle quarter round bulknead was installed.

Finally, the curved surface was covered with the thick cardboard "Ram Board", used to protect floors during demolition. This is streched tight and glued in place. Finally, I will cover the cardboard in a textured cloth, perhaps burlap, which will then be painted.

The plan is to make some very simple theatrical or TV flats that will attach to the proscenium pieces to form a backstage area. At some point I will have to either attach the flats to a side wall, or add an additional flat at a right angle to support the forward facing flats. I haven't broached this with the Church yet, but I'd like to drill a hole and set a long nut into the concrete floor so I can bolt this supporting flat down.

There are emergency fire exits on the back wall that have to remain visible, so I may have to work out a way to move them forward 8-feet. Stage left and right are always from the actor's point of view, so the stage right area will be much smaller than the stage left area. But I doubt anyone will do a multi set play in this facility.

The proscenium is made using a method also used to make trees in theater. I first learned to do this in Jr. High school where a friend and I made a bunch of trees for a play. The trees are tapered, but this project is straight up and down.

This project isn't complete, of course, so I'll be adding more over the next month or two. We have six active theater companies here in the high desert, and the only theater is an old WWII USO building, which is always fully booked. So I think a couple would like to produce plays in The Venue, and there are several theater departments in high schools, and I'd like to host a one act play tournament (and raise money for a scholarship for the best actor and actress. It will also be a wonderful venue for musical groups and choirs, and we have a great AV setup for the hih schools up here that are teaching video production.

For the most part, the theater is set up with round tables, kind of a dinner theater setup. The kitchen facility is still there, so we might even be able to do a dinner theater presentation from time to time. Finally, the church itself might just set up its own teen theater group, which would assure many years of use as a theater.

I am also adding a few more lighting instruments because the stage is a little larger than the original design (I sneaked in a couple of extra 4x8 sections and no one seemed to notice).

Fun project and I'm feeling more spunky all the time.


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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Well, there were some problems with the glue up of the cover onto the framework. First, even using extended setting glue, I was unable to get the material to glue down evenly. It's OK, thanks to staples, but not quite what I'd like. I left the cover out overnight and think that's part of the uneven contact. I will also have to be more careful about sanding the half inch BB quarter circle so its more even. My Ridgid bench sander is missing the reverse threaded bold that holds the sanding belt in place, so I'll have to find my coarse sand paper and do it by hand. Nuts.

Any sggestions on the glue. I'm thinking I may need to use hyde glue on the other one. It is usable and I will hold everything in place with the canvas cover. I will size it to shrink tight before painting it. I was going to use a coarse fabric, but I think the canvas will be a better choice. It is just a set piece.

I'll finish up the second pilon shortly, all in one day, and then move on to the 4x8 flats that connect to it.

I got the lighting instruments the other day, so those will go up before long.
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