The Royal Opera House - Stage Management Gantry

As part of a £214 million modernisation programme, a project was undertaken to transform the way in which backdrop scenery, stage lighting and auditorium access was managed at The Royal Opera House.

To solve this challenge, SCX Special Projects designed a unique travelling gantry, which was installed in the late 1990s during a substantial restoration of the 19th century building.

The Challenge

As part of a £214 million, three-year restoration of the Royal Opera House in London, an overhead gantry was required to handle scenery, position lighting and provide service access to the auditorium.

Prior to the refurbishment, stage scenery work was undertaken by a large group of people in cramped and cluttered conditions. A full rethink and redesign of the stage management system promised to improve safety, efficiency and flexibility.

The Solution

Access gantry inside the Royal Opera House

SCX Special Projects designed, built and installed a bespoke stage management gantry, spanning the 28-metre auditorium and weighing 36 tonnes.

The gantry has some very innovative features, including: chain hoists beneath the bridge to lift heavy cloth backdrops and scenery; an articulated mobile access platform to reach all parts of the stage; and a large work area hidden within the bridge beams for the stage technicians.

Access all areas

  • The stage gantry has a 20 tonne payload capacity, travels at speeds up to 18m/min, and can be controlled on board or remotely from the stage
  • A mobile working platform travels along one side of the gantry, carries two people, extends 12m outwards, 5m upwards and 13m downwards
  • Six 1t chain hoists mounted under the gantry work individually or in unison to lift and move heavy stage sets


Setting the scene

  • In addition to the design and build, SCX installed the double-girder gantry and rails during the Royal Opera House’s substantial renovations
  • The crossmembers between the main bridges also act as joists for the stage technicians’ working platform
  • The bespoke end carriages have self-correcting track alignment and multiple wheels to traverse a gap in the rails where an acoustic wall slides in


Hidden stars

  • The area between the gantry bridges provides a flexible working platform for the stage technicians, safely hidden from the audience
  • Around 150m2 of floor space is available for up to 12 technicians, stage equipment, props and tools
  • The mobile platform is accessed from this work area, via gates secured with automatic safety interlocks


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SCX Special Projects Ltd

Roman Ridge Road, Sheffield, S9 1GA, United Kingdom

t:  +44 (0)114 262 6199