Turn tables have been used in theater for a very long time. They allow for quick scene changes. They can be effective in adding movement to the show. On Broadway, a great example of turn table use is in the musical, Les Mis. They use the table to allow the actor to walk, but stay in one place.

The most interesting turn table I've worked on is the one built into the stage at Radio City Music Hall in New York. The turntable is built across three elevators. All three elevators must be at the same level.

A turntable is simple to make and to operate. It can be any size and shape. Round is the most popular. The one on this page is 4 feet square. You can also take a look at a turntable during the building process...

Hello Again and welcome to the Techie’s Corner. This month I am going to start a series of articles on platforms. We will try to cover everything from parallels to triskets to space age stressskin and everything in between.

Platforms in some form or another have been used in theatre as long as theatre and the stage has existed. In fact the stage itself is a form of platform. In some cases a stage is a permanent installation inside a building and is usually raised to some degree above the audience. By far though, the majority of stages in the world today are temporary structures made up of platforms. Rock concerts, Music festivals, fair grounds, school cafetoriums, etc. comprise more stages than all of the legitimate theatres in the world.


Welcome once again to the Techie’s Corner. This month we are continuing our series on platforms. This month we will talk about the most common platform in the theatre, the ubiquitous 4 x 8 stock platform and it’s close friends, the small group of “standard “ stock sizes of platforms.

All platforms consist of three things: the Lid, the Frame and the Legs and bracing.

The Triscuit and the Texas Triscuit
An Introduction to Stressed Skin Platforming

Welcome to this month’s Techie’s Corner. The last two articles have discussed types of stock platforming that have been around for several centuries, the parallel, and for almost a century, the plywood covered 4’x8’ unit. This month’s article will be about a type of stock platform first developed about 1990 at the Yale School of Drama, called a “Triscuit”.

The Triscuit is four foot by four foot, stressskin unit 2 3/8” thick. To truly describe a triscuit, we will first have to explain just what a “stress skin” unit is. For those of you who already know, skip the next few paragraphs.

Stress skin almost defines itself, i.e. a unit with a skin under stress. But what does that really mean? Actually it means a unit with two skins which oppose each other in the direction that they handle stress. Between the two skins is a core to which the skins are completely bonded. The core may be continuous, such as foam core mounting board, or open like the honeycomb construction of a hollow core door. In order for a stress skin unit to flex or bend, one skin has to stretch and the other has to compress see Illustration #1

Hello again, and welcome to the Techie’s Corner. In the last three articles we have looked at a number of different types of platforms. Not every type, just some of the most used and the most well known. Now we are going to look at how to elevate or leg these platforms to the height needed for our show.

There are more ways of legging a platform than there are of building the platform itself. What makes a legging system right for you depends on your particular situation. Do you have storage space for “stock” leg pieces? Do you have skilled carpenters or do you rely on a group whose skills vary from pro to rank beginner? Do you build your units on stage or in a shop off site? Look at the costs, time, skills, available tools, etc. and decide which system is best for you and your theatre.

Legs, Legs, Legs! (Betty Grable, Eat Your Heart Out!)

Once again, welcome to the Techie’s Corner. In the last few articles we have talked about platforms, the types of platforms, special platforms and how to brace them. This month we will look at legs, legs of many types and how to make them and what their pro’s and con’s are.

Legs fall into two major types, those that support by friction pressure and/or the shear strength of fasteners, called the standard leg, and those that support by direct, in-line compression, called compression legs. I am sure that there will be several types of legs that I will miss or forget. Please contact me directly and I will make space for those and include them in next month’s article.

The basic difference between the two types of legs is manner in which they support their loads. A friction/shear leg relies on the tightness of the fasteners, the sideways friction generated between the leg and the platform and the “sheer” strength of the chosen fastener. The compression leg relies on the direct in line compression of the leg material.


Special Effects for the stage is a wide ranging area of stage magic. Making a light flash, and door swing open on its own, making "fire" on stage could all be considered special effects. Several articles here may also belong to other categories. Such as electrics, rigging, sound, etc...

Overview of general rigging items. Knots are under their own menu item.

Overview of general rigging items. Knots are under their own menu item.

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