Celebrate Arbor Day With #RigSafe

Rigging Safety Initiative

How will you celebrate Arbor Day on April 29? We’re joining with USITT in celebrating Rigging Safety Day, a day to promote safer stages by posting and tweeting with the hashtag #RigSafe Arbor Day is the perfect day to remember rigging safety, because the “arbor” is the part of a counterweight line set that holds the stage weights. On April 29, USITT will post #RigSafe news all day and ask people to support its Rigging Safety Initiative (RSI), which provide free rigging inspections and safety training for school stages. J.R. …

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Performing Arts Market Blooms in China

Wuxi Grand Theatre interior

The world’s most populous country is creating its own national identity in the performing arts. Breathtaking new facilities are blooming, designed by world-famous architects and outfitted by noted theatre designers. For a first-person perspective on these developments, we contacted Mr. Sascha König in Beijing, a native of Germany who has worked in China for 12 years. He is currently Chief Asia Representative for HOAC Schweisstechnik GmbH, a German stage technology company that is Wenger’s partner in China. In recent years, Wenger and HOAC have often collaborated on acoustical shell projects. …

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Meows & Mini Golf: Audience Pandering?

How are the arts – including the performing arts – remaining relevant for audiences today, while competing with multiple entertainment options? To keep people shelling out money for tickets, are the arts selling out?  Several recent news items inspired this week’s reflection. Cat Video Festival Cancelled.  The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis announced last month it would not continue its wildly successful Internet Cat Video Festival, which had snowballed (furballed?) into an international phenomenon after its launch in 2012. In a newspaper article, the Walker’s design director explained, “We think …

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‘Wicked’ Path to Broadway

broadway music

Eating ramen noodles for frugal meals – on borrowed utensils. Daily six-mile walks to midtown Manhattan to save subway fare – uphill both ways! In his “starving artist” period in NYC, Matt Doebler cobbled together odd jobs like coaching singers for auditions or playing rehearsal piano for one-off shows. He considered himself fortunate for always finding musical work; he never waited tables. Before NYC, he was a full-time pianist and faculty member in Penn State’s musical theatre program for six years. Through that program, Doebler met Broadway music professionals who …

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The Importance of Acoustical Shell Ceilings

Ron Freiheit, Director of Product Development & Acoustics For 70 years Wenger Corporation has provided high-quality products and services to the performing arts industry. We pride ourselves in delivering superior and safe products that improve the acoustics, aesthetics and overall theatre experience for the performers, staff and audience. This message is to inform you about our acoustical shell ceilings related to code compliance. On rare occasions questions arise related to the location of acoustical shell ceilings and the overhead sprinkler systems in performing arts spaces. Recently a concern of this …

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Sheep Thrills: Woolly Opera Stars Inspire Poem

wenger corporation

[News Item: The most surprising stars of NYC’s 2016 spring opera season are 100 sheep, a flock playing a supporting role in “De Materie” by Louis Andriessen. A New York Times critic penned this description: “…The sheep, almost as if directed to do so, moved slowly, huddling and hovering in a circle, like particles spinning within an atom. And their occasional bleating lent a lovely natural touch to the score.”] Spring has arrived in the Big Apple again, The metropolis greens up and looks pretty. New York’s newest opera stars …

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Survey Reveals Attitudes on Arts Education, Government Funding

arts funding

The link between robust K-12 arts education today and a vibrant performing arts community tomorrow is easy to understand. Today’s students who are taught to explore, embrace and appreciate the arts are tomorrow’s actresses, musicians,  stage & sound technicians, costume & lighting designers and – importantly – ticket-buying audience members and tax-paying citizens. Earlier this month, Americans for the Arts released the results of a public opinion poll commissioned in December 2015 on the topics of arts education and government funding for the arts. More than 3,000 adults were surveyed; this …

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So Many Control Systems—Which to Choose?


Making the move to automated rigging can be intimidating for managers of any performance space. When it’s time to replace the familiar system of ropes and weights with motorized hoists and a computer controller, the facility’s leaders must make some complex decisions. For example, which controller is right for the hall’s size and capabilities? The family of SceneControl® 5000 controllers now has a console for performance spaces of every size, from the most complex performing arts center, sporting complex or Broadway show to the high school, church and college stage. …

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A Letter To Our Friends in the Performing Arts Industry

To our friends in the industry, Because we highly value our relationship with you, we want to ensure transparent communication between us. We are writing to reaffirm our commitment to serving you and your clients – not competing against you. While Wenger Corporation continues to strengthen the Wenger and J.R. Clancy brands by further investing in our product and service portfolio, it has recently come to our attention that some partners are unclear about our objectives and role in serving the performing arts market. We want to be crystal clear: …

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Acoustical Banners Increase Recital Hall’s Flexibility

acoustical banners

“Our Transform banners have added new dimensions to the Recital Hall known for its wonderful acoustic properties, but not as flexible for the various uses that we desired,” explains Dwight Vaught, Director of the Doudna Fine Arts Center at Eastern Illinois University (EIU) in Charleston, Illinois. Featuring 175 seats, the Recital Hall features opaque glass lining the stage and ceiling, providing both visual and acoustic interest. This intimate space hosts faculty and student recitals, rehearsals, solo and chamber performances, along with small music theatre productions and many other events. It …

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