The musical is playing at a different venue every week until July 2023
UK - The multi award-winning Broadway production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I musical is touring the UK, following its sold-out season at The London Palladium. The musical which has been captivating audiences for over six decades, is playing at a different venue every week until July 2023 and is, according to production manager Jason Culverwell “Probably the biggest musical with a weekly turnaround, touring the country right now.”
Knowing how demanding the schedule was going to be, Jason immediately brought Unusual Rigging on board to handle the rigging requirements for the tour. “My relationship with Unusual goes way back, having worked with them on shows such as War Horse, Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time and Ocean at the End of the Lane. I knew that they would have all the knowledge and skills required to provide a full bespoke rigging package for The King and I.”
The brief given to the Unusual team, was to ensure that the show would work in all the venues it was playing at. “We have a few smaller venues on the tour which makes it more challenging, that’s for certain, but Unusual always finds a way to make it work in a way that doesn’t impact on outcome for us or the experience for our audiences,” commented Jason. “In some venues, where the utopian footprint for the show could not be achieved, we have made some adaptations, but none of which feel like a compromise.”
Luke MacBride, design engineer, Unusual, added: “We’re visiting 25 venues on this tour, and at each venue we have 40 chain and 24 fly bars in action. The show weighs in at 12 tonnes which, while not the biggest we’ve worked on, is pretty substantial given the quick turnaround. Moving from venue to venue, mark out starts at 8am on a Monday morning, the first show plays on the Tuesday and we load out after the final performance on the Saturday night before travelling to the next venue to do it all over again.”
Unusual is responsible for the storage of multiple scenic elements on the show, including the ship that Anna and her son Louis sail into Siam on in the first scene. “This has to be flown out and kept in the wings. Also Anna’s bed is another item that we have to take care of, while keeping the wings clear,” added Luke.
Jason concluded: “The team at Unusual Rigging are the best of the best, from drawings through to kit and riggers; they provide it all. There has never been a moment when dealing with the team at URL that I thought we could not achieve the creative team’s vision. They’re one of the first suppliers I call when dealing with a new show, so thank you URL, you’ve done it again!”

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