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Wonderful World of Dissocia 2018

Spring Awakening 2018


Swing sa.png

In the white card for Spring Awakening, the creatives asked for 5 swings to fly in, performers to swing on them, the swings to fly out with performers on them and then fly back in and the performers get off the swings.


Automation would be the obvious solution. The only problem was the show would be touring to Dundee where they did not have in house automation. The initial costing was for hiring Kinesys for the week in Dundee.

Since this costing was very high and other departments were angling for more more money, we looked into the kinesis at Scottish Opera. It was being used for PTM2 Classes the week before Dundee. We were lucky that the dates just lines up that we could borrow the motors elevation and array for that week. Since it was being used the week before in classes, our show was also programmed by PTM 2 as an exercise.


The initial brief was for 5 swings, one performer on each swing. The night before the swing were going to be rigged, we got an email from the director via DSM:


To quote Malcolm “Well, there’s nothing quite like a change in plans the night before you rig.” So that evening the entire Swing rig was re-drawn and recalculated to accommodate 4 swings with 2 people on one swing. Funny thing was, they didn’t end up using a second person on that swing.




We were on the edge of what we could achieve using 4 winches (or 2 motors). It had to be a very precise placement of the points in order to stay within acceptable loadings.


While doing some performer flying tests in the scene dock, we also set up a swing rig with load cells on the point of connection to the truss. From those recordings we were able to see that even with a fall, the swinging motion never went above 30% of the weight of the person on the swing.



The brief presented a fair few problems. There was talk of doing it off a counterweight bar with a kinesis motor attached to the bottom of the cradle to account for the weight difference. With the weight of 5 people (Approx. 400kg) was too much to put on a counterweight bar as that number does not take in to account rigging and we did not know what kinds of forces would come from the swinging motion.

The rigging was approached from a couple angles. Autonomous flying swings with the pivot point at the termination on the truss or static pivot points and flying swings.

Moving Pivot Pro Moving Pivot Con Static Pivot Pro Static Pivot Con
Less dangerous if swings still moving. Must have a “no fly zone” to allow for movement in the rig. Less movement in system. Any movement left in the swings is made more violent when lines are shortened.
Fast installation. Rig will never be without movement. Can rig other items close to swings. More equipment required.
Less equipment required. Ratchet straps must be bought. Longer installation. Truss must be borrowed or hired.

The moving pivot was the most practical solution for this trick. It would have to be installed into 2 different venues and with the layout of the set, there was already a natural “no fly zone” in the DS with the climbing frames separating the LX US.

We went with H30v and Stags Tech Big Tow winches in Glasgow and Kinesys motors in Dundee. We installed a tension line from grid to deck on either side of the truss just out of the sightline. This allowed the sings to fly in and out running on the tension line, and restrict the movement made from the swing. Even with this in place the performers had to be carful how much they swung and before the swings flew out with performers on them, the swinging motion had to be stopped.

"Splice" that went around the truss.
Steel cable tied to the back of a rope strand.
Cable ties near the performers were filed down so they weren't sharp.
Join of 1000mm and 6000mm steels for connection point for the hand loop. Maillon Rapide backed out w/ LX tape.
Making up swing components in the scene dock.
Steels were best cable ties while hanging. This reduced any spinning to the front of the rope and revealing the steel.

Health and Safety

More information on Hand Loops.