Stage Technologies was delighted to see the Queen Victoria set sail on her maiden voyage this past Christmas, with the fully automated Royal Court Theatre onboard ready to entertain the passengers as they cruised Europe’s northern seas. Stage Technologies installed and commissioned the complete stage rigging system onboard Cunard’s new vessel, built by Fincantieri in their Marghera shipyard, near Venice, Italy.

In early 2006 Stage Technologies was awarded the contract to supply the complete stage engineering package for the Royal Court Theatre and Queen’s Room venues onboard. The Royal Court Theatre is an 830-seat venue and the first cruise ship theatre to ever have a Royal Box and private boxes on each side of the auditorium, like those seen in Victoria-style West End theatres.

The stage is well appointed with automated equipment, which includes motorized lighting trusses, both over stage and front-of-house, two stage lifts with two-part sliding lids, two storage lifts, 18 flybars, six Serapid stage tracks, curtain tracks, safety curtain, and roller projection screen. The control system includes Maxis ID drives, an Acrobat control console and a number of Solo hand-held controllers. Also included within the scope of the contract is the complete stage floor structure and finished vinyl flooring which had to be coordinated with all the stage machinery contained within it. The flying system features BigTow2-290 winches and Stage Technologies unique TanJent guidance system developed specifically for cruise ships.

This was the first stage rigging contract that Stage Technologies has been awarded by the Marghera shipyard and while the equipment is very similar to that installed onboard Emerald Princess, which was delivered earlier in the year, the hull itself was different from that of a grand class vessel. The new design and tight construction schedule was a challenge for all the sub-contractors working within the ship’s theatre. Stage Technologies project manager Jim Roberts comments, “The massive coordination effort by Fincantieri and Nautilus Entertainment ensured that the owners received the venue they wanted. A major effort by the Stage Technologies team in Italy ensured that the stage rigging equipment for both venues were complete before the ship left for Southampton.”