James Thomas Engineering has completed the design-and-build of an ambitious new concert stage for Leeds-based production and rental facility 3D Productions. The stylish, streamlined structure, based on a series of four arches, was designed, engineered and project-managed by James Thomas’s Paul Young who worked in conjunction with JTE’s regular structural engineers The Broadhurst Partnership.

The four arches form bays 4.8 metres apart and are built from standard 52 cm Thomas SuperTruss - eight pieces per arch - which fit at the base onto an integral stage decking system giving a full area 19.2 metres wide and 16.8 metres deep, complete with thrust plinth along the downstage edge. Headroom is an impressive 10 metres at the apex of the arches. The front edge of the stage also features an elegant cantilevered ‘eyebrow’ protruding five metres over the thrust at the top-of-the-roof elevation, tapering to a flush-fit against on the downstage arch at floor level. This serves the dual role of water and weather protection, and imbibing the structure a rounded, finished appearance.

Each arch can take a sturdy 2000kg load - giving a SWL of 8 tonnes across the entire roof structure - which works at windspeeds of up to 25 metres per second. Fully rated lighting flying points are also integral to the stage, so visiting productions can easily be accommodated, just as if it was a permanent venue.

3D productions wanted a good-looking, flexible and versatile modular staging system with the option of having a 50 or 60 ft width stage in a variety of different depths - the stage reduces in depth by 4.8 metre sections. Young’s biggest challenge was turning the project round in an incredibly tight timescale. Although in the pipeline for three months, once the green light was finally given, JTE had just three weeks to complete the design and manufacture all components before delivery and first assembly. The stage’s first gigs were at Leeds City Council’s free Opera and Party In The park weekend events, set in the beautiful grounds of Temple Newsam Estate, and enjoyed by over 70,000 people each night.

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