Stage Designs

In Waves

Michael Raia from Austin DCYC (Diocesan Catholic Youth Conference) in Waco, TX brings us their design from their youth conference.

This year’s theme was Porta Fidei, which means Door of Faith.

They pre-fabricated most of the parts in advance at home and transported them to the convention center – where they assembled everything. They built sections of PVC base and painted them black. It all got put together on stage to form a 40′ wide base that they weighted with sandbags. They tied heavy black woven string in pairs onto a 40′ wide banner bar on a crank – at 4′ spacings that corresponded to the joints on the PVC frame below. They had these vertical string lines pre-cut and they put safety pins on at measured locations for the fabric strips.

They strung the pre-cut fabric strips (cheap white bulk fabric that they ripped into long strips) piece by piece, raising the bar with the crank as they went, so they never left the ground. Each string was pulled tight during pinning so the fabric wouldn’t sag. Once the last strip was in place, they raised the bar to where they wanted it and tied all of the strings tightly. The finished dimensions were 20′ high and 40′ wide. Having the strings joined at the top bar and split at the bottom, 12″ apart, resulted in greater depth of the weave at the bottom. The lighting was 18 stagebar LEDs that they setup in 2 rows – one behind the PVC frame and one in front – alternating in color. The depth of the spacing and the color contrast created a dramatic effect.

For the letters, they used pre-cut 20″ x 30″ pieces of white foam core board for the letters and rasterized text in CAD so they could measure and transfer to foam core. They spaced them on the ground and attached them with black painted 3/8″ square wood dowels and gorilla glue running along the backs of the letters at the top and bottom. They suspended them from the lighting truss with clear line and lit them with 2 flood blacklights on the outside corners of the truss. They also got a couple of boxes of really big washers and taped them to the backs of the letters to keep them from moving in the air flow.

Cost was under $300 – including string, clear plastic line, fabric, foam core, pvc, dowels, safety pins, paint, box cutters, metal straight edges, and fabric shears.

Mountains and Stars Shining Shimmering Splendid

3 responses to “In Waves”

  1. Blanton says:

    Michael – great job on the look! What venue is this in Waco, TX?

    • Michael Raia says:

      Thanks Blanton – the venue is the Waco Convention Center, newly remodeled and attached to the Hilton. This is Chisolm Hall, which seats around 2500 in theater configuration.

  2. Kenric Van Wyk says:

    Looks great! I have a question regarding the pinning of the fabrics onto the strings. I see that they are together at the top and spread 12″ at the bottom and that the strings are 4′ apart. Do the white strips alternate in and out of the “front” string and the “back” string?

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