Stage Designs

Throwback: Four Square

Paul Smollen from La Croix United Methodist Church in Cape Girardeau, MO brings us this mix of traditional textures with modern lighting. (Originally posted February 2012)

They created the back row of curtains from a roll of bulk window sheer (10′ wide). They made them 30′ long and finished one edge with white duct tape, grommets, and cord ties. They hung them and gathered them to a width of about 4 feet. Then they secured the bottom with a pipe weighted with sandbags.

They build the four screens from 1″x4″ lumber (9′ high by 6′ wide). They put a layer of brown paper over the frames. They they added a layer of burlap which had been taped off in a pattern and sprayed with black paint. They finished the screens with black painted 1/4″ luan crosses that cover the burlap seems in the middle.

They lit the curtains at the bottom with Elation TriBrick fixtures and color mixing cyc lights at the top. They had 2 rows of Elation TriPar fixtures for wash light, 6 Studio Spot 250 moving lights to project the yellow circles and the ‘cinnamon bun’ pattern on the walls. They also had 4 Technobeam fixtures, 2 Martin Mac500 for the dots and the sun patterns.

They were able to get a lot of different looks from this relatively simple stage since the burlap and paper take color so well.

Lights and Patterns Cross Alight

9 responses to “Throwback: Four Square”

  1. Josh says:

    This is beautiful and multi faceted in many ways! Can anyone speak to the budget that this requires?

    • paul smollen says:

      The cost to build the 9×6 screen/flats was less than $50 each. We used cheap landscaping burlap from a gardening center, a few cans of black spray paint, painters tape for the pattern, some lumber, paper, a few strips of luan and an air nailer and glue to assemble everything. We hung them with 1/16″ black steel cable and eye hooks from Ver Sales stage supply company. I had seen a similar design from one of John Meyer’s concert tour a few years back and adapted to fit our space. The bolt of 10′ wide sheer fabric was on closeout- I’m always looking for a bargain! It was less than $3.00 per running yard.

  2. Joel says:

    love this. Love how multi-faceted, as Josh said, this is!

    • paul smollen says:

      Thanks Joel,
      This is my first submission but I’ve got some other stuff to share. I really enjoy this site and have used several ideas from it. We alway look for ways to freshen up the look of the sanctuary and maximize the looks we have so it doesn’t get boring over a long preaching series. It helps to have acquired a few nice (used) lighting fixtures over the years. We started out with very little lighting equipment since our church was started in a movie theatre 24 years ago. We’ve always tried to be creative in the choices of our gel colors, lighting angles and gobos and such.

  3. Ryan Spencer says:

    I love how you use every surface around the stage to give a totally different feel.

    • paul smollen says:

      Thanks! we put ‘Snoots’ on all of our interior lighting. This gives us very good control of the light that hits our stage. It’s nice and dark when we want to wash with color but well lit in the seating area. Also, we have our stage lighting set up in 4 different zones (or focus areas) so we have options for getting visual depth out of our stage. Also, having a black back curtain helps so much to keep a clean, uncluttered look. Using a focusable fixture like a Source Four helps a LOT!

  4. Kade Young says:

    I love the two-tone on the fabric! Thanks for all the lighting info. With so many choices out there its hard to narrow down what will work for certain applications, but this definitely helps.

  5. Marc Martin says:

    I love this design. I’m curious about where you found the fabric. Our Worship Center has a huge stage and scale is a real challenge for me. Can you give me contact info for the vendor you bought from?

    Marc Martin
    Technical Director
    Grace Baptist Church

    • paul says:

      Hey Marc, I got our fabric from a local company called R.M.Coco The owners attend church at La Croix so that helps. Call them and see what they have in their outlet store. I bought partial rolls, or overruns or closeout fabric like 102″ wide curtain liner. I’ve also looked for sewing center closeouts and even used fabrics. Buying from iweiss or Rosebrand is VERY EXPENSIVE! Also, send out volunteer bargain hounds to keep their eyes open for just about ANY fabric that is big, neutral and CHEAP. I hope that helps.

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