Staging and seating productions of all kinds require infrastructure to support the performance and accommodate the audience. As an event organizer, you need to consider both the technical requirements of the show as well as the experience of those watching. Temporary staging and seating are essential tools that allow you to transform any space into a venue. From bleachers and modular stairs to scrims and stage panels, temporary equipment provides flexibility and versatility.
In this guide, you will learn about options for temporary stages and seating so you can create an ideal environment for your production. With the right equipment, you can build a stage and seating area tailored to your event that is both functional and professional. The key is starting with the fundamentals of temporary staging and learning how the components come together.
Lets take a Look at Staging and Seating Equipment First
Bleacher Seating for Temporary Stages:
Pros of Bleacher Seating
Bleacher seating offers several benefits for temporary stages.
- Bleachers provide efficient use of space since the tiered seats allow for more audience members in a confined area.
- Easy to assemble and disassemble, and mobile.
- Bleachers can be rented for single events and moved from venue to venue as needed.
However, there are some important safety factors to keep in mind with bleacher seating. Proper assembly and disassembly are critical to prevent collapse or instability. All parts must be securely attached and the structure level for safe use. Guardrails should be installed along aisles and the back row for fall prevention.
For accessibility, bleachers should have multiple entrances and exits, ideally at both ends and sides. This allows for emergency egress and accommodates individuals with mobility issues. Aisles must be kept clear at all times. Ramps and handrails may also be required to assist disabled attendees in accessing their seats.
To maximize comfort, bleacher seats with backs provide lumbar support for audiences during long events. Seat widths of at least 18 to 24 inches give attendees adequate personal space. For outdoor stages, consider bleachers with a roof to shield audiences from sunlight and rain. circulating fans or misters can also help keep guests comfortable in warm weather.
With some forethought regarding safety, accessibility and comfort, bleacher seating can be an excellent, cost-effective option for temporary stages. By following guidelines and best practices, event organizers can provide an enjoyable experience for all attendees.
Modular Stairs: Options for Portable Stage Access
To provide safe and convenient access for all attendees, modular stairs are an important consideration for any temporary stage. There are several options to choose from based on your specific needs.
Aluminum Folding Stairs
Lightweight yet durable aluminum folding stairs are a popular, versatile choice. They can be quickly set up and taken down, making them ideal for portable stages. Look for stairs with non-slip treads, handrails, and a weight capacity suitable for your expected usage.
For adjustable height access, telescopic stairs offer platforms at varying levels that can be extended as needed. They provide a spacious stairway in a compact unit. However, telescopic stairs tend to be more expensive and heavier than other options. They also require more time to adjust to the proper height.
For wheelchair access or when stairs are not ideal, modular ramps offer an inclined path to the stage. Aluminum ramps with a non-slip surface and handrails are a safe, sturdy option. Be sure to choose a ramp with an incline of no more than 1 inch of rise per 12 inches of run for the easiest access. Ramps also require more space than stairs.
Additional Safety Considerations
Any stairs or ramps should have handrails for support and non-slip treads for traction. For visibility, mark the edges of steps or platforms with brightly colored tape. Provide adequate lighting, especially for evening events. For the safety of all attendees, follow all manufacturers’ weight limits and usage guidelines when setting up and operating the equipment.
With the right selection and proper safety measures in place, modular stairs and ramps can provide convenient access for all at your temporary event. Choose an option suited to your specific needs that will ensure attendees can easily and safely get on and off the stage.
Stage Scrims: Uses, Materials and Installation
What is a scrim?
Stage scrims are large fabric curtains that can be raised and lowered in front of the stage. They allow for backdrop changes and visual effects during productions. Scrims come in a variety of materials depending on their intended use.
Polyester scrim is lightweight, durable and flame-retardant, suitable for most applications. Cotton scrim has a softer drape but requires fireproofing treatment. Mesh or netting scrims provide partial visibility of the stage. Scrims can also incorporate blackout or projection screen materials for different effects.
Scrims have several uses in live events and theater. They can serve as a backdrop to create the illusion of depth on stage. When lit from the front, a scrim will appear opaque, but when lit from behind, it becomes translucent, allowing the audience to see through to the rear of the stage. Scrims are also used to mask scene changes by lowering in front of the stage, then raising once the new scenery is in place.
To install scrims, attach the top edge to a batten, pipe or truss above the stage with clamps, ties or tracks. The bottom edge can hang freely but is often weighted to prevent billowing. Multiple scrims can be installed on separate battens at varying depths to create layered effects. Raise and lower scrims manually with ropes or electronically using stage lifts.
Proper installation and operation of stage scrims require training to avoid potential safety hazards. Scrims must be made of approved, flame-resistant materials and installed securely to overhead structures to prevent injury if they fall. Scrims should be raised and lowered slowly under control and never dropped from a height. With the proper precautions taken, scrims can be an extremely useful tool for live productions and events.
Stage Panels: Building a Flat Platform Stage Surface
What are stage panels?
Stage panels, also known as stage decks, provide a flat surface for performers and equipment. They are modular, interlocking platforms that can be arranged in various layouts and sizes.
Stage panels are typically constructed of plywood, aluminum, or steel. Plywood panels are more affordable but less durable. Aluminum and steel panels are lightweight, weather-resistant, and can support greater weights, making them ideal for both indoor and outdoor stages. However, they tend to be more expensive.
When selecting stage panels, consider the dimensions, weight capacity, and portability that will suit your needs. Standard panel sizes range from 4 feet by 8 feet to 8 feet by 8 feet. Weight capacities span 200 to 10,000 pounds per panel. Some panels connect together with pins or clamps, while others use a tongue and groove system for quick assembly and disassembly. For ease of transport, look for panels with built-in handles or a lightweight, stackable design.
Once you have acquired the necessary panels, arrange them into a level platform and securely connect the panels together. Place panels on a solid, flat surface that can support the combined weight of the panels and any equipment or performers. For an elevated stage, you will need additional leg supports or a stage structure underneath.
To prevent tripping hazards and ensure stability, there should be no gaps between panels greater than 1/2 inch. Panel connections must be able to withstand movement, vibration, and the weight of anyone walking or standing on the stage. Test all connections before using the stage to ensure maximum safety for performers and crew.
With sturdy construction and secure connections, stage panels can provide a temporary, adaptable stage surface for all types of live events and productions. By selecting high-quality, appropriately-sized panels and setting them up properly, you can create a safe, professional platform for performers and audiences alike.
Planning Your Temporary Stage Setup: Layout, Size and Equipment
When planning your temporary stage setup, several factors need to be considered to ensure an efficient and safe design. Carefully determine the layout, size, and necessary equipment based on your event’s specific needs.
The layout of your temporary stage involves the physical arrangement of components like bleachers, stairs, stage panels, and any additional equipment. Map out how attendees will access and circulate the stage area. Account for entry points, exits, and emergency evacuation routes. Allow for multiple access points to prevent overcrowding. Position equipment with safety, functionality, and line of sight in mind.
The size of your temporary stage setup depends on expected attendance and the types of performances or events being held. As a general rule, allow at least 3 to 5 square feet of space per attendee for optimal comfort. Bleacher seats typically occupy 2 to 3 square feet per person. Staircases require a minimum of 44 to 60 inches of width to facilitate easy movement. Stage panels come in a range of standard sizes, so select panels that will provide adequate space for all performers and props.
In addition to the core components of bleachers, stairs and stage panels, certain equipment may be necessary for your event. A scrim or backdrop can serve as an attractive stage decoration or for masking backstage areas. Stage lighting is essential for evening performances or events held in dimly lit spaces. Additional rigging, trussing or staging may be required for aerial acts, pyrotechnics or other complex performances. Portable restrooms, hand washing stations and trash/recycling receptacles should also be available for attendee use.
Careful planning and forethought in the layout, size and equipment for your temporary stage setup will help create an enjoyable experience for all attendees and ensure the safety of those working behind the scenes to make the event a success. Consider consulting an expert in staging and live events to guide you through all the necessary details. With the proper temporary infrastructure in place, your event is sure to be a hit.
Build a rectangular frame with 2x4s or 2x6s, then attach plywood sheets on top for the platform surface. Consider bracing for added stability.
Assemble scaffolding platforms according to manufacturer instructions.
Pallets: Arrange and secure pallets in a desired configuration, then cover them with plywood or sturdy fabric.
Support and stability:
Ensure all legs or supports are level and firmly grounded. Use braces, crossbeams, or anchors for stronger platforms.
For elevated stages, add railings or guardrails around the edge for safety.
Stairs or ramp:
If needed, build a sturdy staircase or ramp with proper step height and railing access.
Choose chairs with wide seats and stable backrests. Arrange them in rows or sections with adequate personal space.
Build wooden benches with 2x4s or 2x6s for frames and plywood or planks for seats. Ensure they are well-braced and level.
Arrange bales in rows with stable foundations. Cover them with blankets or fabric for comfort.
As you plan an event requiring temporary staging and seating, keep in mind the options available to create an engaging experience for your audience. Bleacher seats provide efficient and cost-effective seating, modular stairs allow for custom configurations to suit your needs, scrim creates an attractive backdrop, and stage panels assemble quickly for a professional appearance. With some forethought into your requirements and budget, you can find solutions to bring your vision to life, whether for a small gathering or a major production. By selecting high-quality, durable materials designed specifically for live events, you’ll achieve both form and function to make a memorable impact. With the right components and a well-executed design, a temporary stage can serve as a compelling centrepiece for any occasion.