Dewi's Stage
Props & Furniture

Props: Fold-up Scenery


In a recent play by Kanata Theatre, two actors are touring Pennsylvania presenting "Scenes from Shakespeare". The play is set in 1952, and the actors need portable scenery representing a castle that they can transport with them on trains.

I put together a folding unit made of panels of 3mm plywood, hinged together by strips of strong cloth glued on. Painting the actual scene was done by Ben Tolley, and I'm very grateful to him.
 

 

One hinge.

The strips of cloth are 3" wide, glued on with cabinet-makers (yellow) glue, and clamped while the glue dried. The hinges have stood up to 10 performances and several rehearsals and a preview performance with no apparent degradation.

Some of the panels are stiffened with strips of 5/8" x 5/8" pine, glued along the edge.

 

Here is the whole unit folded for transportation into a package 4 ft wide by 3 ft high, less than 1.5" thick. The outside is covered in shipping stickers.

  The first step in unpacking is to fold out the lower "wings", that is, the panel marked "this side up" and the one to its right - the one with a small green label in the photo above.
  At this point we are looking at one "wing" which has been opened to about 135 degrees, and now the back of the package, comprising the upper part of the castle also made up of a 4' x 3' centre plus two upper wings, must be swung up so that it is immediately above the lower-part base plus wings.
  The back of the package has been swung up to rest on the lower part, and its wings are ready to be opened.
  Nearly complete! So far, the castle can be free-standing, since the wings provide stability. All that remains is to swing up the panel on the right of the picture which has the tower and the flag painted on it.
 

The castle completely unfolded, with the tower and flag panel sticking up on the right hand side of the photo.

In this picture, the scenery is not free-standing but is propped up against the black flats behind it.

 

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