Serious Stages continues its successful relationship with the Hampton Court Palace Festival, once again supplying the main stage for the 2006 summer entertainment and music program. This sees a host of world class artists as diverse as Kiri Te Kanawa, Eric Clapton, Glyndebourne Touring Opera and Jools Holland and His Rhythm and Blues Orchestra tread its boards.

Serious has supplied the stage – including decking and access ramp - and roof for this event since the Festival began 13 years ago with IMG as clients and Keith Morris as production manager, and has designed a bespoke Flatroof structure tailored exactly to fit the Base Court area deep in the heart of the Palace grounds. This is scenically dressed to compliment the surrounding architecture, brickwork and colouring

The flat roofed stage is built from a combination of MaxiBeam trussing for the box at the top and GS trussing for the legs, and is a self climbing structure that pulls itself up to height via 6 electric chain hoists – four for the main stage and two for the wings.

Width is 24 metres including the wings, with 12 metres of depth, and the roof is slightly raked, giving 11 metres headroom at the front of stage and 10 at the rear, with a stage height of 1.2 metres. Each point will take a 2 tonnes load, gibing a total distributed load bearing of 12 tonnes. Overhead are four trusses for lighting positions.

It’s been designed as a slightly unusual ‘kite’ shape to fit precisely into the courtyard space, with the upstage corners sliced off diagonally. This year Serious also had a new set of made-to-measure roof covers made.

Serious also constructed the front of house platform, situated behind the seating stands with decking on three levels for sound, lighting and follow spots. This measures 14m high and is made from Kwikform scaffolding.

The Serious site crew of six including a rigger was led by Paul Piper and Leo Barcala – also a veteran of several Hampton Court Palace Festivals. It took them four days to complete the get in, and the primary challenge was getting it positioned exactly in the right place! This is a crucial operation - it’s a tight fit, with the stage left rear wing within centimetres of one of the Palace towers, and even couple of centimetres out could mean losing a row of seats.

Once erected, the stage was scenically dressed by AGM One. Lighting equipment is being supplied by PRG, sound by Wigwam and seating by Arena.