A successful concert is made from the stage up. The performances of choirs, bands, orchestras, live theatre, drummers, conductors and public speakers often take the importance of proper staging for granted. But everyone needs a podium to be properly seen and to be heard.
There are four types of platforms developed to meet the different audience and performance needs.
For choirs that need to stand in staggered rows with different heights, there are several different choir risers on the market. The standard step heights are 8” (20 cm), 16” (40 cm), 24” (60 cm) and 32” (80 cm) with a step depth of 18” (46 cm).
There are units with 1 step, 2 steps, 3 steps or 4 steps on the market. Some are designed to be semi-circular, while others are made to stand in a straight line for the choir. Most manufacturers also make it possible to mix the two styles.
A special feature of these types of choir risers is that they are foldable, making them easy to transport and store. Some have additional gas lifts so the risers almost open by themselves without heavy lifting.
Most of these choir risers also have wheels, so they can be pulled like a trolley. Just one person can set up a whole configuration for 60 singers in less than one minute. And it takes about the same time to break them down.
Another kind of platforms are portable stage platforms with insert legs or with a scissor leg system. Both are designed and developed by two German brothers. One of them produced these stages in Germany (Europe) where they are still manufactured, and the other brother manufactured them in Canada. The Canadian product line was eventually sold to an American company where the former owner become a sales representative.
On the European and Canadian market, the metric 1 x 2 m (approx. 40”x80”) dimensions are the standard. In the United States, 4’x8’ has become the popular size. The reason for the different sizes are the different wood plate sizes. In the U.S., the standard sheet of wood was 4’ x 8’. So it was a simple matter to make this also the size of the stage platform. To support this size, U.S. platforms require 8 insert legs. The European standard 40”x80” needs only 4 legs. Because they are about 50% smaller, they are easier to handle. Some venue elevators are also not large enough to accommodate bigger stages.
Portable Stage Platforms with Insert Legs
The stage platforms with insert legs have about a 4” (10 cm) high aluminium frame with mounted stage decks. The North American standard size is 4’x8’, and the European and Canadian is 1×2 m (approx. 40”x80”).
However, these stage platforms can be custom produced in any size…even as triangles, trapezoids or any other shape needed. A wide variety of decking is also available.
Platforms may be custom fitted with anything from waterproof plywood, carpet decks, laminate, vinyl, rubber, aluminum, up to Plexiglas. They may be custom ordered in almost any configuration and covering you can imagine.
The insert legs can also be produced in every height from 4” (10 cm) up to 100” (250 cm). For a better design, the frame, as well as the legs, can even be powder coated so that the spotlights will not reflect on the stage frame. It can also match the color of the school or the venue where the stage will be used.
The portable stage platforms with insert legs are the most popular stage platforms among architects and construction companies, as they can be produced in every size and shape, every color and every height imaginable.
Portable Scissor Stage Platforms
Another kind of portable stage platforms are scissor-leg-platforms. They can be set up normally in five different heights: 8”, 16”, 24”, 32” and 40”.
Mobile Stages on Wheels
The fourth mobile stage is developed like a ping-pong table. The standard size is 4’x8’ (125 x 250 cm). Custom sizes are available. They can be folded together and pushed away on wheels to the location where they are needed and back to the storage area by a single person.
Some of these mobile stages are a single height depending which height is preferred (8”, 16”, 24”, 32” or 40”). Others can be set up in two different heights (8” and 16”, 12” and 24”, 16” and 24” or 32” and 40”).
There are even mobile stages available which can be set up in three different heights (18”-24”-30”, 24”-30”-36” or 30”-36”-42”).
For all stage platforms and choir risers, different types of railings can be delivered. For schools with small children, there are even railings available that have vertical braces approx. every 4’ (10 cm), so that children cannot slip between the railings and also are not able to climb or play at the railings. These steel railings also come in a wide range of colors.
Back-drop systems, which can be fixed at the stage frame so that the stages can be used as a theatre surrounded by curtains, are a popular accessory.
Because portable stages with insert legs and the stages with scissor legs do not have wheels, there are specially designed dollies available to store and move up to 20 stage platforms. For the railings, there are special dollies that will move up to 15 railings.
Masterstage Mfg. has been offering premium portable stages, conductor podiums, choir risers, choral platforms, music stands, music folders, portable event flooring, mobile tables, folding tables, partitions and room dividers, staging equipment, podiums, seating, chairs and wooden toys for more than 30 years, www.masterstage.ca.