On each side of the stage there is an organ chamber, which contains the pipes for the organ. This is the stage right chamber (near the lightboard, on the left side of the theatre from the audience perspective). The various shapes and materials of the pipes account for the different "voices" with which the organ makes music.
Back on terra firma again we can look the other direction from the stage floor up. The photo on the left shows several light battens (pipes) filled with equipment, and the bottom edge of the movie screen when it is raised above the stage. On either side of the stage, right behind the main curtain, are "tormentors", which are lighting positions that light from the side of the stage. The right photo shows one of the tormentors with lights loaded for a show. These supports are about 12 feet tall.
Bottom edge of the movie screen
Inside of the roof!!
To raise and lower scenery, lights, and in this case the movie screen, above the stage, the building contains a "fly tower", which is a structure above the stage that equals the height of the Proscenium Arch in front of the stage. A "fly system" consisting of ropes, pulleys, and counterweights, is used to do the raising and lowering. These pictures are taken from the top of the fly tower, 65 feet above the stage floor, and show the beams and pulleys used. In the photo to the right, you are looking straight down at the lightboard. The yellow dot is a chair!
When the theatre is in "movie mode" the screen is lowered from the overhead flys and the speakers are placed behind the screen. The speakers are on wheels and are moved offstage for live shows. There are three speaker towers: Left, Right, and Center -- just like your home theatre system except a little larger!!! The top speaker is over 10 feet from the ground.
The lighting control system pictured to the left is the original 1928 Frank Adams Major system! It was restored mechanically, electrically, and cosmetically by Steve Margison in 1989 and now exists as one of the best preserved examples of this technology in the world. It has had many enhancements over the years but basically still functions as it did in 1928. For large and complex shows as many as three people are required to operate this mechanical behemoth. The LCD computer display is used for electronic cue sheets, scripts, and other crew functions. It does not actually control the lighting system.
Copyright 2009-2017, Steven Margison, Downers Grove, Illinois