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WPI Technical Theatre Handbook: Stairs
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When high platforms are used, it is useful to have some means for actors to get to them, or else there was little point in putting the platform there in the first place. A stair is generally used to provide the necessary access, either from the ground or another platform. There are a variety of methods that can be used to construct stairs. Some form self-supporting units that require little or no mounting to the set while others form units that must be attached to the set at their top and bottom points. Often stair units are constructed for several standard heights and kept on stock in a theatre's scene shop for later re-use.

Stairs must be constructed out of appropriately strong material. Self-supporting stairs often use 1 inch lumber for the step part (called a tread), and 2 inch lumber for the supports (called stringers or carriages).

Any stair higher than a couple of feet off the ground should have a railing on any exposed side. These railings can be constructed out of two by fours for offstage stairs that are hidden from audience view. On-stage railings can be almost as simple if the look is not important, and as complex as any railing in a fancy house. The goal is to provide support for the actor, and make them feel safe when using the stair.

next up previous contents index
Next: Rakes Up: Set Pieces Previous: Flats   Contents   Index
Steve Richardson 2000-07-06

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