Stage plans Posted by TeddyBear on Aug 12, 2012
I am thinking about building a portable stage out of PVC pipe. I kinda want one with a closed top (I.E. not really the Kind that look like large sinks) does anyone have any plans they could email me or post to help save the time of me making my own? Something that could be used by 2 puppeteers practically anywhere.


Re: Stage plans Posted by Shawn on Aug 12, 2012
I don't have any plans but id did this when I was still in high school and it was pretty easy.  Mine was very similar to the old style Punch and Judy hand puppet stage set ups. 

I just built a tall rectangular box out of the PVC using the corner fittings. About 4 or 5 feet from the bottom I put in a horizontal pipe using T fittings on the front to act as my play board and opening for performance. On the side and back I put T fittings with horizontal pipe around halfway up to act as stabilizers.

To cover I cut and sewed a large piece with an opening at the same height as my front play area. This wrapped around the whole thing at I used fabric ties on the top of the piece and around the opening to secure it to the frame. You could use velcro to attach instead if you wanted to.  If This was one flat piece not sewn up the back so I would have an slit I could step through to get in. In fact I think I made it overlap some on the back.

For the top I just cut a square of fabric the same dimension then sewed on a long string around that so it would fit down over the top. Again I added ties into the seams on the back side of this so I could attach it.

I do hope that all makes sense. It really is simple.  It help up pretty good and I used it outside. When It got windy I would throw sand bags over the bottom horizontals. Note you need to glue your vertical pipes into all the fittings but you have to leave horizontals that go from back to front loose are you can't take it break it down.

I am re-reading this and get the feeling that it may not be clear.   Please ask for clarification on things.
Re: Stage plans Posted by TeddyBear on Aug 12, 2012
That makes sense. So like 1 inch PVC?
Re: Stage plans Posted by Gabriel G on Aug 12, 2012
Here's another idea from Swazzle on how they designed their portable stage. They used closet rods, PVC connectors and they also used lamp bases. Just another idea, hope it's helpful.
Re: Stage plans Posted by Shawn on Aug 13, 2012
I think you are going to need more then 1". The test would be to take a length of pipe the height that you want your stage and see how much it flexes. Looks like here that Swazzle is using 2".
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When I did it as a kid I think I used 3" but in hind sight that may have been overkill. Also that has been quite a few years back and not sure the variety of PVC was as good.

I would also like to suggest building your stage set up out of wood if you are comfortable working with wood. This can be just as compact and easy to transport and often more stable and easier to set up. Again courtesy of Swazzle check this set up out.
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These are 1" X 2" wood frames that hinge together. In this case they have made them rectangle in shape. When I was still with StoneLion Puppets we used the same method but our units where actually square. Here they are just hinged on the vertical but you can also create a unit that is comprised of four squares that would be hinged on the vertical of two then on those two you add a horizontal hinged square on each. This increases your height of the end unit. It may actually what they are using on the sides and back of this set up but I can't see for sure because of the scenery. You may wonder why you wouldn't just make the frame the height you need? Well depends on the vehicle you are going to transport in. There where times we needed something that could be thrown in the back of a hatch back instead of dragging out the van or trailer.

One more thing. Notice in the picture that you can see vertical hinges on the right and left but down the center there does not seem to be any? Well if you look right in the center you see kind of a bronze looking attachment. That is a brass chest latch. You can find them in most hardware stores.
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These make it really easy to connect different units together. We would have actually used one at top and bottom instead of just in the center. You can also use loose pin hinges to connect your units.
Re: Stage plans Posted by Na on Aug 13, 2012
You might want to try modifying any one of these PVC plans:

Re: Stage plans Posted by TeddyBear on Aug 13, 2012
Thanks guys these are some really good ideas. Btw who is swazzle? It seems he comes up everywhere.
Re: Stage plans Posted by Na on Aug 13, 2012
Swazzle's a well-known puppetry company in the USA. They do a lot of commissioned stuff, for TV and live performance.

They also have some great (though old) blogs with a few really good tutorials on them.
(Note that Sean is one of many company members...)
Re: Stage plans Posted by Terrence Burke on Aug 13, 2012
My wife and I created the stage I use.  It's 3/4" PVC pipes glued together into 3 separate 3'x6' "panels" with PVC glue (professional strength).  The stage is then bolted together and fabric is wrapped over the panels using Velcro.  It's served me for almost 50 shows in 2 1/2 years now.  I need to put weights on it during windy weather, yes it's almost gone airborne!  I think the entire stage was made for under $75.  Here's a photo:
Re: Stage plans Posted by TeddyBear on Aug 13, 2012
Na- oh ok.
Terrence-  looks cool.  What kind of places have you preformed at/in?

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