MSA helps move it for The Bodyguard
Wednesday, 5 April 2023
motor-stage-automation-bodyguard-mb-6677This production is next scheduled to play in Norway (photo: Mats Bäcker)
Denmark - Motor Stage Automation (MSA) provided automation equipment – Kinesys Elevation 1+ drives, Apex hoists and control plus three Alfa System revolves – and expertise for three set elements on the recent run of The Bodyguard The Musical produced by Lion Entertainment and staged at the China Teatern in Stockholm.
This is the first time that the popular stage version of the modern film classic showcasing Whitney Houston’s music has played in Sweden.
MSA, a new company specialising in the design and realisation of stage and show automation systems, has worked in this capacity on several other Lion Entertainment Productions, including for the Danish touring version of this show, which was on the road in 2020 and again in 2021 after some Covid interruptions.
A dynamic and eye-catching contemporary set designed by Benjamin La Cour featured three elegant LED screens that were at the centre of all the action and combined seamlessly with various scenic pieces to make up the bigger picture.
Benjamin and Lion Entertainment’s owner and creative director Thomas Langkjær made the decisions about which parts should be automated to fit the storyline and rhythm of the piece and asked MSA’s Christian Vigsø onboard. As lead automation engineer, he specified the kit required to best achieve the results they wanted and he co-ordinated their installation at the 1,230-capacity venue.
The first set pieces that needed to move were three LED screens. The central one was 5.5m by 5m and weighed approximately four tons including its support structure, and this was flanked by two side screens approximately 3m wide by 4.5mhigh and each weighing 3 tonnes including their support structures. All the screens were convex on one side and concave on the reverse.
Benjamin and Thomas wanted all of these placed on revolves, which Christian facilitated.
The first one was 7.5m in diameter for the centre screen and two at 3.3m diameter for the side LEDs. The revolves were all built by Alfa Systems, and MSA powered them using three Kinesys Elevation 1+ drive units running with a mini PD-ES (power distribution and emergency stop system) connected to the network plus a Mentor 401 safety controller that utilises SIL 3 safety over Ethernet.
“This is a straightforward, safe and reliable system that we knew would be stable,” commented Christian.
The second moving element was when the lead character Rachel Marron (played by Swedish idol 2020 winner Nadja Kasanesh Holm) entered one scene rock ‘n’ roll style, sitting on a circular set piece that was lowered 20 metres from the roof. The set piece was constructed from HOF 290-2 trussing from MSA’s stock.
This trussing circle was picked up on two Kinesys Apex 500 Kg hoists, a product in which MSA recently made a massive investment.
The third set piece being lifted was a large kitchen ‘flat’ which was used multiple times throughout the performance, but never seen coming in and out! This was also lifted using two 500 Kg Apex hoists which glided it in and out during blackouts.
All four Apex hoists and the three Elevation 1+ drives turning the revolves were run via a Kinesys Vector controller for smooth and fluid movement.
Christian notes that during the entire six-month show run which just finished in March, they didn’t have any issues with the system, which was operated day-to-day by head of automation at China Teatern Ted Silvergren’s team.
Christian commented: “This was my first project engineering the system as well as building it, a task that happened together with the great crew at China Teatern. I was very impressed with their professionalism and how they worked on many details to ensure this production fitted so well into to their nice venue.
“The Kinesys system proved super-stable. It was run on a daily basis and we did not have even one single system error in six months.”

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