Easy to Operate: Vivian Fusillo Theatre

Fly System

Operator-Friendly Equipment:

Thern Stage Equipment in the Vivian Fusillo Theatre

Thern Stage supplies easy to operate theatrical rigging equipment to venues around the world, including in their own backyard. A few Thern employees recently took a trip to a local theater utilizing Thern Stage equipment to experience the products at work in the field.

The Venue:

Located at Winona State University, the DuFresne Performing Arts Center is home to the Vivian Fusillo Theatre which is the main performance space. This theater is a proscenium stage that houses an audience of over four hundred people and is used often. During the school year, programming at the Vivian Fusillo can include up to eight plays, multiple dance performances, as well as twenty music concerts. Since it’s one of the biggest stages in the city of Winona, the Vivian Fusillo is often used by various community organizations. The Great River Shakespeare Festival has been using the venue to stage their performances since 2004.

The Vision:

Around 2013, WSU wanted to replace the counterweight rigging system that had been in the Vivian Fusillo since the 1970s. The university needed a safe, reliable, and easy to operate rigging system that could be a teaching tool for the students. Technical Director, Isaac Sawle, says that “the space is used for theatre, dance, music, and many other types of events, so we re-hang in there frequently.” In addition to ease of use, the system needed to be flexible to meet the needs of each event.

The Solution by Thern Stage equipment:

Thern Stage engineers wanted to provide operator-friendly equipment with am emphasis on safety. They designed a customized lineset with Thern Stage Brickhouse Equipment that integrated the existing T-wall and tall fly gallery. The fly gallery has a grid at approximately 60 feet and the load capacity on the linesets is around 900 pounds. The higher load capacity combined with the tall fly gallery allows for versatility and storage. Now, the operator can combine multiple drapes or scenic elements on to a single batten if necessary. The essential rigging equipment in this part of the system are the Thern Stage blocks and Brickhouse front loading arbors.

Fly System

Loft Blocks

The addition of front loading arbors are the perfect solution to this versatile system. The training of students is now a smooth process as the front loading arbors are easier and safer to use. Along with the arbors, Brickhouse rope locks are another easy to operate solution found in this rigging system. These cam style rope locks will indicate out of balance linesets with plenty of time for the user to adjust.

line shaft hoist

Isaac highlights the linesets for the electrical battens and says that they are more user friendly than the average venue. He mentions that the layout of the space “requires that the 1st and 2nd batten do most of the lifting, so having the additional capacity with the counterweight assist winches have been very helpful. Our 3rd and 4th electrics didn’t require as much capacity, so they installed line shaft hoists (as seen in the photo above) in those positions.”

Due to the great examples of rigging equipment at work, Thern Stage often uses this venue as a showroom. If customers are in Winona, Minnesota or Thern needs to educate employees, they can visit the Vivian Fusillo Theatre.

rigging system

Thern Stage is proud of supplying equipment to a venue the serves the entire community. To learn more about the system that’s in the Vivian Fusillo Proscenium Theatre, read about it here. Contact a Thern Stage Sales rep today for your easy to operate theatrical rigging system today!