Archive for the ‘JR Clancy News’ Category

Custom Hoist and Tracking System Bring New Versatility to Valley Baptist Church

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

USA – Bakersfield’s Valley Baptist Church provides three worship services every Sunday in its 1,800-seat worship centre, two services with a choir and orchestra to appeal to a diverse age group, and a third with a praise band playing guitars and drums. As its congregation grew and more young adults with children crowded the centre for the contemporary service, the church’s leaders decided it was time for an update of the hall’s technology.

A decade ago, the church had installed video projection screens, so the faces of the pastor and other celebrants would be very visible to everyone seated in the hall. The church also projects song and hymn lyrics on the screens, a feature that significantly increases the congregants’ participation in the service.

A stage filled with musicians and a choir feels grandly spiritual, an effect that appeals to many people attending, but a deep, mostly empty stage can dwarf a much smaller band. To find a new configuration that would work for both kinds of services, the church approached the theatre consultants at Idibri Design, the company that had worked with Valley Baptist on two previous steps in this technological renovation.

“We wanted a way to update the stage look between the two services without losing the ability to use screens upstage,” said Jason March, director of engineering at Valley Baptist. “We wanted a backdrop that would come down and separate the orchestra and choir from the praise band, and we wanted our screens to come forward in front of all the backdrops. We didn’t want to lose all the graphics and images for the service with the praise band.”

Idibri began the renovation by replacing the video projection screens with two 18’ x 10’ LED display walls, a technology update that increased the movability of the church’s video system. The challenge, however, came with the need to reduce the stage size to make the space more intimate for the contemporary service. The church needed a system that would move the screens downstage 28 feet, and then lower them to eight feet above the stage.

To create this custom solution, Idibri and local theatre technology dealer Pacific West Sound turned to J. R. Clancy, Inc.

“The people at Clancy and I came up with a reasonable solution, based on the design concept from the consultants at Idibri,” said Chris Berendsen, installation manager at Pacific West Sound. “Clancy had done LED gantry systems that moved up and down or in and out, but this one had to do both. It was truly unique.”

Movement on several different axes was only part of the solution, said Patrick Finn, product manager with J. R. Clancy. “They needed the screens to play at both an upstage and a downstage location,” he explained. “We designed a way for them to travel upstage and store flush with the back wall. It required a custom hoist and gantry system, using components of our PowerLine line shaft hoist but configured in a custom way.”

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J.R Clancy Receives Lifetime Achievement Award at USITT Conference

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

J.R. Clancy, Inc. was honored at USITT’s 2012 annual conference in Long Beach, California, with the USITT Award for a lifetime of contributions to the performing arts.

J.R. Clancy president, Mike Murphy, received the award on behalf of the company.

The USITT Award recognizes a lifetime of distinguished contribution to the performing arts or entertainment communities in any capacity. The nomination notes that, in the case of J.R. Clancy, “the USITT Award recognizes not just a lifetime but several generations of distinguished contributions to the performing arts and entertainment community.”

The award nomination continues, “During this period, they have generously and willingly supported the Institute in many of its endeavors…. Their most recent support came in the way of funding for an initiative to enable secondary schools throughout the country to have their rigging systems inspected to ensure that students are learning in a safe environment. Forward thinking such as this is just one example of the contributions that J.R. Clancy has made to the benefit of the industry.”

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JR Clancy in control at Zayed University

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

UAE – When the 1,000-seat theatre opened on the new Abu Dhabi campus of Zayed University in December 2011, the theatre’s advanced technology included motorized rigging and controls provided by JR Clancy.

Zayed’snew campus has space for up to 6,000 students – a dramatic increase over the 200 students enrolled when the university opened in 1998. The new theatre is part of a convention centre designed to involve the broader community of Abu Dhabi in performances and events on campus.

JR Clancy worked in partnership with the UAE team of J & C Joel to provide a combination of 20 counterweight rigging sets and 24 PowerLift motorised rigging sets. This system gives the new theatre plenty of capacity for raising and lowering scenery, lights, curtains, and an orchestra shell.

“The blend of manual and motorised rigging gives technical theatre students the opportunity to learn to operate both kinds of rigging, so they will be ready for whatever rigging they encounter in professional theatre situations,” noted Charles Shatzkin, international sales manager for J. R. Clancy.

Twelve variable-speed PowerLift units with a capacity of 1,200 pounds each will be used primarily for scenery. Additional variable-speed units, each with a2,000-pound capacity, will raise and lower the electrics battens. Four double-purchase PowerLifts – making their capacity 4,000 pounds each – are used to raise and lower the four 2,075-pound sections of the Wenger orchestra ceiling.

Clancy also worked closely with stage lift manufacturer Serapid Inc. who supplied the motors for four stage lifts and an orchestra pit lift. Thirteen motors raise and lower these lifts and an accompanying set of masking panel actuators, at speeds of 0.001 to 0.1meters/second.

With so many elements in motion, Zayed needed a top-of-the-line computerized controller-and Clancy’s SceneControl500 automated control system was chosen.

“Zayed University is a centre of excellence, and this new theatre truly illustrates its focus on innovation, inspiration and education,” said Shatzkin. “We are pleased to have the opportunity to work closely with the team at J&C Joel to create this exciting new space for the students and the Abu Dhabi community.”

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JR Clancy sets the pace in Parker

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

With the opening of the Parker Arts, Culture and Events Centre (PACE) in Parker, Colo. late in 2011, audiences looked forward to an exciting season of more than 60 performances of 28 different shows.

The inaugural season includes productions of A Christmas Story and Annie, the premier of an original musical, a custom light show created by Luma, the Irish dance troupe direct from Ireland-Celtic Nights, and an interpreted production of Stuart Little for hearing and deaf audiences.

The new facility’s 536-seat theatre – one of two performance spaces in the extensive centre – can host this diverse series of events because of the easy-to-use automated rigging system provided by J. R. Clancy, Inc., and installed by Barbizon Light of the Rockies. Barbizon’s Rick Loudenburg was on the design team as the theatrical rigging and lighting integrator with Semple Brown Design Architects, David L Adams and Associates and Shaw Construction.

The new theatre features 14 Clancy PowerLift automated hoists, including eight variable-speed and six fixed-speed hoists.

Clancy’s popular Altus digital controller was the system of choice for the project. Designed for mid-level backstage rigging systems with up to 48 hoists, Altus allows operators to create up to 200 cues with different speeds and targets for each hoist. In addition to the PowerLifts, Altus will control the H&H 462 draw curtain machine on the front curtain.

“We originally planned to go with a more expensive controller, but Altus was introduced while we were designing the system,” said Dan Obenhaus, senior project manager for Barbizon Light. “Altus did everything we needed, it was easy to use, and it brought the price of the project down. It was good for everyone.”

“We love the rigging system,” said Shaun Albrechtson, technical director at PACE. “It’s very versatile and easy to use. We really enjoy that we don’t have to worry so much about weights. It’s freed us up from the mundane aspects of the standard rigging system. The safety features alone are phenomenal-it has everything calculated through the computer, and everything operating smoothly is just a comforting feeling.”

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Curtains Up

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Mike Clark finds that new venues around the world are bringing new optimism to the theatrical rigging sector.

Just over a year from Hoist’s last report on the entertainment market, in which key members explained the recession’s effect on their business, feedback from manufacturers, suppliers and users worldwide now paint a more optimistic situation, with suppliers refining their marketing and product strategy to address the current market despite budget reductions by some clients.

Hoists have recently been installed in brand-new venues – another positive sign – such as sports arenas, opera theatres and convention centres.

Interviewees range from industry giant Columbus McKinnon Corporation through to a relative newcomer to the entertainment hoist market (Italy’s RWM), companies specifying hoists on high-profile projects as well as top riggers.

In its 2011 annual report, Columbus McKinnon Corporation, indicates that its recently developed sales, marketing and distribution set-up in Asia-Pacific is providing traction, demonstrated by an 82% increase in fiscal 2011 sales there, and it expects China will continue to provide strong double-digit growth well into the future. EMEA sales in fiscal 2011 outpaced general economic growth in the Euro zone, rising by 13%. The Latin American market also provided very positive results, with revenue growing by 29%. Overall CMC hoist sales accounted for 55% of net 2011 sales.

Marc van der Wel, Commercial Director with XLNT Advanced Technologies BV also confirms Cyberhoist’s expanded presence in South (and North) America, both growing areas, adding that Eastern Europe and Russia are expanding enormously for the company.

Alexander Hartung, Sales Director with Germany’s ChainMaster, reports increased activity on various markets and positive results with good continuous growth worldwide.

Explaining how his company has managed to avoid negative trends, Tom Young, VP marketing for J R Clancy Inc (US) continues, “Our 2009/2010 business growth placed us on the Inc. Magazine list of the 5000 fastest-growing privately held companies in the US. Many of the projects we’re working on were funded before the economy started to slip, but for the projects we’ve won since the global recession began, we are often chosen because of our ability to provide everything from highcapacity, custom-engineered products to off-the-shelf hoists and control systems, which gives us a significant competitive advantage.

Jean-Yves Beaussart, marketing and communications manager with Verlinde adds, “Sales volume over 2010 was coming back on to the trend of 2008, which was a very good year, and we are ensuring this continues by working more deeply on daily business of course, but also concentrating on big projects which bring volume, and new geographical areas.”

RWM export manager Marco Rebeschin says, “Over the last year, our sales have gone well thanks to the new DIVO entertainment chain hoists and to buck the crisis we canvassed for new foreign sales contacts.”

Regarding the fact that, while his company’s lighting fixtures and controllers are world-famous (particularly in the theatre world), its hoists and rigging are currently only available in the US, Bill, Gallinghouse VP of marketing with ETC (founded in Madison, Wisconsin in 1975), explains, “Our initial focus is on the US academic market, since we feel it has been ill-served by products typically developed for larger spaces with more sophisticated requirements. In our opinion, these spaces benefit the most from automated rigging due to their lack of experienced staff. From time to time, we introduce products into specific markets based on unique market requirements, regulations and/or product preferences. We intend taking our products into other markets in the future as we broaden our rigging offering.”

John Jones, managing director of Lift Turn Move (Birkenhead UK) comments, “It’s been a reasonable year, things could be better, but have improved – just take longer to confirm these days. There is no special trick in the current economic situation – we just work longer and harder!”

Roger Barrett, group development director with Star Events Group Ltd adds “Everyone is squeezing budgets, local authorities and smaller community events seem to be the worst hit.”

Tom Bilsen, operations manager with Stageco Group, one of the world’s most prominent international staging companies, adds, “Apart from the custom fabrications we supply for events such as the U2 360° world tour, we have hundreds of hoists, mainly Lodestar and a few Verlinde, plus 16 EMCE 7t winches, which we don’t rent, but use to lift our stage roofs. We do both corporate projects and rock ‘n’ roll – the former has increased a bit, but generally speaking the total has increased a lot over the past few years.”

A lift on the ocean wave

As well as continuing to be in all the company’s main market sectors – show rentals, installations, universities, and worship facilities – theatre automation supplier Stage Technologies (based in the UK, but with offices in the US and China) has also remained strongly in the cruise line market, as group development director John Hastie states: “The building of ships is remarkably independent of a recession, partly because of the long lead times involved.”

On-board shows are often of West-End size and scope, albeit with pre-recorded music rather than an orchestra.

In spite of reporting a slack period as far as new build ships are concerned, Nautilus Entertainment Design of San Diego, California, has designed and project managed entertainment projects for at least 45 cruise ships for major lines. President and principal consultant Jim Tetlow says, “We see much more interest in retrofitting existing ships, but that’s often not just a case of refurbishing existing entertainment areas – it’s totally redesigning their entertainment spaces.

Regarding stage automation, I think we’ll see fewer deck mechanics installed and a lower volume of flying battens, but I think we’re going to see more complex intelligent flying systems and systems for moving video display technology around stages.”

Paolo Campanelli, consultant and executive technical-artistic specialist with Costa Cruises’ Cruise Operations Department for Entertainment adds: “Costa continues to design and build to the strictest safety and quality standards. New-build liners and refit projects involve huge investment and we follow the ongoing technological evolution very closely, adopting increasingly innovative solutions, particularly in the field of theatre automation and stage and set movement, of fundamental importance for events’ success and performers’ safety.”

Putting on a great show

On land hoists have, as usual, played a key role in a wide variety of events recently.

The Pan American Games opening ceremony featured a large truss ring suspended 30m above the pitch at Guadalajara’s Omnilife Stadium, used as a scenic element and for the attachment of rigging, performer flying systems, projection, lighting and more. Stagetech was responsible for a 21-axis power flying system, comprising 21 winches; 12 of which were their Big Tow 290 series, and controlled the flying performers.

For the 2011 Ravenna Festival events staged in the city’s Pala De André indoor sports arena, hosting events ranging from classical music to contemporary dance, to improve the venue’s acoustics, RWM Divo distributor Trabes recently installed a Trabes Professional HD40 truss grid from which acoustic treatment panels, lighting truss bars were suspended and was lifted into position with twenty DIVO 1t hoists.

The 46t glass acoustic ceiling at the Palladium concert hall in Carmel, Indiana, comprises four panels, each weighing over 23,000lbs, suspended above performers and audience to adjust acoustic response for different types of performance. J R Clancy designed, built and installed the hoisting system, which had four zero fleet (travelling drum) canopy hoists with a motor brake and a 5ft diameter brake disc on the drum with two air brakes.

Star Events built and installed the flying bridge carrying set, performers and lighting for the anniversary Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall, which rolled up and down custom vertical steel tracks, supported on complex scaffold and truss structures, also built them. The bridge was lifted by four single-chain 2t Loadguard Hoists specified as Cat A. Control was via a C-Force system with integral weight management and static load on each hoist was around 1,100kg. To keep dynamic loads under 80% of hoist capacity, ramp up and down was over seven seconds.

Industry icon Bill Sapsis of Sapsis Rigging (Landsdowne, PA USA), says “We recently finished Fashion Week in New York – actually almost two weeks of nonstop production and all the extremely hectic and challenging event’s venues used chain hoists to some extent: the Park Avenue Armory and Lexington Armory used over 100 each.”

Over 100 Cyberhoists were fielded at a recent Skoda corporate presentation in Prague, 60 are on German rock band Rammstein’s upcoming world tour and, for Yalta’s September Crimea Music Festival, Ukrainian company Zinteco supplied 51 Cyberhoists to move the set’s lighting trusses and LED screens, plus 24 1t and 28 0.5t Columbus McKinnon Lodestar hoists and a pair of CM ProStar 0.25t hoists to lift the lighting and sound systems into place.

Twenty (six 500 kg and fourteen 1t) Verlinde/Stagemaker electric chain hoists and other Stagemaker products were fielded by Moscow’s Live Sound Agency for the Opening Ceremony of the 7th Asian Winter Games, the largest event staged in Kazakhstan since its independence from the Soviet Union. At Astana’s 30,000 capacity arena, the hoists enabled a series of huge props to appear in the venue’s “skygates”, including a 6t version of the Asian Game Cup, for the ceremonial lighting of the flame.

Two Middle East Gulf States recently inaugurated important, but extremely different venues, in which hoists play an important role.

After the inaugural performance at Oman’s spectacular Royal Opera House in Muscat of Puccini masterpiece Turandot, with Verona Arena’s chorus and orchestra conducted by Placido Domingo, and a Franco Zeffirelli designed set, the theatre’s technical director Geoffrey Wheel said, “Hoists installed by SBS Dresden are six custom SBS electric variable speed 360kg point hoists, 54 custom SBS electric variable speed 750 kg flying bars, six Chainmaster VarioLift BVG C1 standard 0.5t chain hoists in the side stages for assembly and eleven 1t versions for US backlight / flood bar truss. Control is via an SBS Scout control panel and SBS COSTACOwin software.”

From the huge cutting-edge Qatar National Convention Centre in Doha, which as well as numerous exhibition halls features a theatre and three auditoria, AV and production manager Lee Forde explains, “We have a very high tech, wellengineered computerized fly bar system, winch driven and installed by Wagner Biro in the Theatre and Auditorium 3, and Glantry engineering in the concourse. In the conference hall, we have 64 rigging points with twot Bat Alpha computercontrolled hoists. We use 96 Stagemaster hoists in exhibition halls 1 and 2, and 1800 Chainmaster hoists (a combination of 1 and 2t models) in halls 3 to 9. Theatre or additional touring production is controlled by Wagner Biro Controller, Hall 1 and 2’s mother grid via Siemens Motor controller and Halls 3 to 9 mother grid control is via a bespoke system.”

Safety first

As well as agreeing with Bilsen on the fact that – at European level – the strictest regulations are those applied in Germany, all-round consensus was given to the need for internationally accepted rules and certified training bodies for hoist users, particularly when loads are suspended above members of the public and performers.

Hastie says, “Within the entertainment industry there is a push for professional certification of riggers, led by the Professional Lighting and Sound Association, which we regard as a very good thing, particularly as the PLASA-led qualification involves both theoretical and practical exercises.”

Sapsis, Chair of the PLASA Rigging Working Group and member of the ETCP Council, states, “In other countries, especially in Europe, regulations regarding entertainment rigging are better defined than in the US. While the US has regulations for equipment used, they do not specifically identify a particular industry. Standards are more common in the US than in other parts of the world. The US has the ETCP certification, the UK has NRC and many other countries are considering certification as a means to make the industry safer. All of this is a very good thing, as it helps make for a safer work and performance environment.”

Washington-born Wade Hinshaw is head rigger of the 30-man rigging team on The House of Dancing Water, the “world’s most spectacular extravaganza”, staged in a purpose-built venue in Macau and packed with automation and lifting equipment of various kinds, including 30 halft, 15 1t and seven 2t Stagemaker electric chain hoists fitted with a retro fit Raynok system from Hoist UK, enabling the motors to be controlled via computer and mainly used for the dark period for maintenance, lifting some of the heavy props used on the show. He opines, “I think we’ve a good start towards safety regulation, but can do more. For example, Australia has an industrial rigging program that entertainment riggers must go through. I already have been asked how can we make an international school that is accredited everywhere, examining on written and practical knowledge with onthe- job training. We must work more towards unifying our industry with the same basic safety regulations.”

Barrett adds, “China has stringent rules governing the qualifications of companies installing hoists on a permanent basis but there seems to be no control over shortterm show rigging. The NRC is rapidly gaining ground in UK, but needs venues to make it mandatory to give it real impact.”

As well as working on the spectacle for the inauguration of soccer team Juventus’s new stadium, Luca Guidolin, one of Italy’s most respected riggers, recently headed a team with Emiliano Bitti that installed no less than 150 Stagemaster 1- and 2t hoists supplied by rental firm Agorà for the huge audio and lighting rigs suspended for events staged by Ukrainian soccer team Shakhtar: the inauguration of the club’s new stadium and the celebration of the club’s 75th anniversary. As far as the safety factor when suspending load over spectators is concerned, he says: “I think it’s often a case of taking more care when setting up – when the audience arrives, the truss has already been secured, but residue risk is often represented by material left by technicians – screwdrivers, keys, testers, etc. Safety could also be improved by a wider use of hoists with double brakes.”

What’s new

A considerable number of new products recently debuted at two of entertainment technology industry’s key expos: London’s PLASA (September) and LDI in Orlando (October).

At LDI 2011, J R Clancy showcased its new PowerLine line shaft hoist, featuring a lighter backbone than the standard line shaft. J R Clancy says that the PowerLine line shaft hoist is easier to install with no reduction in strength or durability, plus an increased choice of brake options to meet a variety of standard applications.

The PowerLine was nominated for the PLASA Members’ Choice Products Award.

Stage Technology is developing its own Ethernet-connected chain hoists which may be programmed remotely from its consoles.

RWM’s DIVO series, which targets the entertainment market, with 0.5, 1 and 2t models, is the latest addition to the electric chain hoists we’ve been manufacturing for over 30 years. The others are the compact single-phase W series (from 125 to 2,000kg) and WR series (1,000 to 5,000kg), for industrial applications with a high duty cycle, both available with a comprehensive range of single and dual speeds and also in ultra low headroom versions. The company’s R&D team is at present working on the electronics of a digital hoist.

During the PLASA fair, Verlinde/Stagemaker introduced a concept of hoist which could have increasing applications with future generations of riggers, which met with considerable positive feedback: the new Stagemaker streamlined hoist features Chain Flux chain guide system, shock absorber bumpers, new dedicated heavyduty lifting motor, new clutch and gear concepts, new electromagnetic disc brake and 250–2,000kg lifting capacity.

Chainmaster products launched in 2011 include an auxiliary control unit for the BGV-C1/SIL3 computer controller, a wireless control desk with a touchscreen and two analogue joysticks, loadmeasuring cells with a reliable wireless link for loads up to 5,000kg and new BGVD8/ D8+ manual controllers.

At PLASA XLNT debuted CyberMotion, a complete range of inter-compatible motion products (C-Hoist, C-Winch, CTrack and C-Trolley), designed specifically for shows and cost efficient global touring, to “make mobile motion control a reachable standard item on shows”.

ETC’s Prodigy hoists are primarily aimed at small- and medium-sized theatres and are a third the length and half the weight of other-brand hoist systems, making them easier to ship, handle, lift and install.

Additionally, the structural benefits of their Compression Tube feature allow them to be installed where traditional hoists could not be installed.

The Compression Tube absorbs and disperses lateral stress to the building. Buildings such as school gymnasiums, churches, historic theatres can now have the benefits of automated rigging.

Customer feedback

Trade expos also give an important insight on what end users are looking to achieve with their investments in hoists, and Art Zobal, entertainment market manager with Columbus McKinnon explains, ”Hoist motion control continues to be increasingly important and specified in the global entertainment market. As a result, we are furnishing more of these sophisticated systems for various venues worldwide. In the US we are also seeing more hoists requested that meet European standards such as C1 and D8+.

Young says, “There is much greater use of automated rigging systems in Europe than in the North America, where it has taken quite a bit of education to get users and owners to see their benefits and accept them.”

Beaussart adds, “Requests follow trends from the field, such as safety to meet new regulations or codes of practice and new buildings with more fixing points with lower swl capacity.”

Jones comments, “We have more request for systems with added safety features that can also combine automation.

Hartung explains, “Synchronized movement, position and load feedback and group switch-off functions are requested increasingly frequently.

Van der Wel concludes, “Cyberhoist users want affordable dedicated, compact plug-and-play equipment that can be up and running very rapidly, fundamental for tours, conferences.”

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Mike Murphy appointed CEO of JR Clancy

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

US theatre rigging specialist J R Clancy’s president Mike Murphy will replace longstanding CEO Bob Theis, when Theis steps down on December 31, 2011.

Theis will continue on as an advisor to the board of the company that owns JR Clancy, Wenger Corporation, until July 2012. He has served as CEO for 30 years.

Mike Murphy became president of JR Clancy in 2009, and will retain the title when he becomes president and CEO on January 1, 2012.

He has been involved in many of the company’s operations including its largest and most complicated projects to date. His many commitments include sales, project management, and new product development.

Murphy assisted development and implementation of the company’s quality management program, leading to the company’s ISO 9001 registration.

Murphy congratulated the outgoing Theis on his successful career and completion of the ISO registration project: “Under Bob’s leadership, J R Clancy has grown significantly in capabilities and in the strength of its business practices,” he said.

“He established an important company goal that has become our mantra: Make Our Partners Successful. Thanks to his commitment to best practices, Clancy has been an ISO 9001-registered company since 2002, and we are listed as one of the fastest growing companies in the United States by Inc. magazine. Bob can be very proud of the things he accomplished at Clancy.”

Theis said, “I’ve worked with Mike since 1997, and I can honestly say that he’s more than qualified to take on the leadership of J R Clancy,” Theis said. “Mike and our management team are the best in the industry – there are none better.”

Murphy said he will continue Clancy’s R&D and project management activities. “We’re looking forward to introducing some dynamic new products, and expanding our international business in the coming years. These are exciting times at J R Clancy.”

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Dolly Parton’s Pirates Voyage Attraction from JR Clancy

Friday, October 14th, 2011

MYRTLE BEACH, SC – J.R. Clancy rigging products were used for Dolly Parton’s Pirates Voyage, an attraction featuring two life-sized pirate ships. There are 11 custom-built, variable speed drum hoists in the building, which had been used for Parton’s Dixie Stampede dinner theater from 1992 to 2010. J.R. Clancy’s Altus controller controls the hoists. Each has a 750-pound capacity and a top speed of 416 feet per minute. More details from J.R. Clancy (

J. R. Clancy Provides Rigging For Spectacular Pirates Voyage Show in Myrtle Beach, SC.

JR Clancy

 SYRACUSE, NY—Two life-sized pirate ships, bands of swashbucklers sword fighting across a 15-foot-deep lagoon, sails unfurling and props descending from the sky… there’s nothing like a major family entertainment attraction to challenge every aspect of theatrical production.

So when Mike Compton of Pirates Voyage took on the challenge of bringing the new attraction to life in Myrtle Beach, SC, he knew he needed the rigging experts from J. R. Clancy, Inc. Compton had worked with Clancy on three other recent projects, so he knew they could help make the technical aspects of this show as exciting as they could be.

The latest attraction from Dolly Parton, Pirates Voyage moved into the building that housed her famous Dixie Stampede attraction for 19 seasons. Transforming a former Dixie Stampede hippodrome into a pirates’ show in just five months—from its closing in January 2011 to its grand reopening on June 3, 2011—was no small challenge, Compton explained. “It’s a metal building with girders, so we installed a series of catwalks coming off the girders to access everything,” he said.

To raise and lower the massive set pieces, Clancy supplied 11 custom-built, variable-speed drum hoists, each with 750-pound capacity and a blazing top speed of 416 feet per minute. “I’m familiar with a lot of the hoist configurations that Clancy manufactures, so we provided the drawings of the catwalk and the locations of the hoists,” Compton said.

With seating on every side of the arena, the hoists would be in full view at all times, said Patrick Finn, Clancy dealer project manager.  “Mike needed hoists that could go into a confined space and still function,” he said. “The hoists are mounted to the side of the catwalks, and diverting loft blocks are mounted from the roof steel to get the lines to drop in the proper locations. There are four types of hoists, each designed differently to get the proper space and capacity requirements for the different scenic elements.” The hoists lower such pirate-specific props as anchors, skeletons, and a throne into view at dramatic speeds to delight the audience.

To accomplish these exciting effects, the owners selected Clancy’s Altus controller. Altus can control up to 48 motorized hoists, and users can program up to 200 repeatable, consistently reliable cues for a single production.  Each cue can control up to eight hoists at once, and each hoist can have its own speed, target position, acceleration and deceleration for spectacular scene changes.

“Clancy’s great—I’ve been familiar with them since the 1970s,” Compton concluded. “Safety is their number one issue, and you can call them anytime on any phase of the project to make it work for you.”

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Remember: Safety Above All

JR Clancy finishes Saudi job in half time

Friday, March 11th, 2011

When the newly constructed Saudi-Arabian Princess Nora Bint Abdulrahman University becomes the worlds largest women’s university in 2012, the women in the drama department will operate rigging systems by JR Clancy.

The enormous theater complex houses three theatres: a 2500-seat performance hall, a 700-seat drama theatre and a so called ‘black box’ lecture theatre.

Schuler Shook, the architect that designed these diverse theatres, selected JR Clancy as the unique supplier for the rigging. The firm will supply a package of under stage and over stage rigging.

The theatres will use Titan hoists, the largest standard automated hoist manufactured by Clancy. Titan was chosen for its zero fleet angle design and its ability to move large loads at production speed.

Acoustic tip-and-fly ceilings the theatres use Clancy orchestra lifts for simple conversion of the spaces from theatrical to orchestral productions. All of the hoists and lifts are controlled using Niscon’s Raynok motion control system to quickly convert the theatres from one show type to the next.

Rigorous Saudi Arabian fire safety codes required custom steel framed fire safety curtain systems. Curtains were made of Zetex Plus 1210ZP fabric with a one-hour rating for fire protection.

Challenges also arose from the six month timeline for completion, from design to installation, according to Charlie Shatzkin, international sales manager for Clancy.

Shatzkin said, “We were able to meet the challenge, in part because our ISO 9001 infrastructure provides a highly efficient design and manufacturing system. We can ramp up quickly and efficiently to meet high demand.”

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JR Clancy supplies Arkansas community college

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

University of Arkansas Community College in Hope has selected JR Clancy as the rigging equipment manufacturer for its new auditorium and conference centre Hempstead Hall.

The firm will supply six Powerlift automated hoists, to be installed by general contractor Pook, Diemont and Ohl, that will control the cyclorama, electrics and utility battens.

These in turn will be controlled using JR Clancy’s SureTarget 10 control system, a wall-mounted console capable of controlling the movement of up to 10 hoists, and featuring a touch-screen display.

Constructed using industrial grade components more commonly associated with elevators and critical lift applications; the unit will provide precision position control for the 2000lb lifting capacity hoists that will travel at cross-speeds of 20ft per minute.

Construction of the new 50,000 sq ft facility at the community college will also include an expandable exterior amphitheatre, in addition to the 1600-seat auditorium and convention area.

Hempstead Hall will be finished by November this year, while the remainder of the project is scheduled for completion in January 2012.

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Stage lifting firms set for PLASA

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Entertainment riggers JR Clancy and Hoist UK will showcase a new partnership at next month’s PLASA show, which takes place at London’s Earls Court from 12-15 September.

The distribution and partnership agreement is designed to offer clients a complete project solution. Hoist UK aims to integrate products from each partner’s field and equipment range through a single dealer source, thus reducing the time and money spent by organisations on managing multiple suppliers.

Tony Dickson, co-founder of Hoist UK, which is a distributor for the complete range of Verlinde industrial and entertainment lifting equipment, said: “The Best of All Worlds partnership offered by Hoist UK gives customers the opportunity to find products from industry brand leaders that are seamlessly designed, conceived, manufactured and delivered with one call.”

Hoists and lifting equipment firm Verlinde SA and motion control systems supplier Niscon Inc. complete the “Best of All Worlds” partnership.

PLASA visitors will get to see JR Clancy’s popular PowerLift automated hoist that has been installed in theatres and concert halls across Europe and America.

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