Tales from the Theatrical Woods: Chapter 16

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31 March 2017

It’s always the last piece of the interlocking puzzle that is so contrarily difficult to place.  So it has been with the last concrete slabs which form the raked floor of the stalls.  Normally these would have been hoisted in by a tower crane, but with the roof long since installed and the enclosing walls almost complete, this means of access was unavailable to the builders.  Like the inner carving of a Chines ivory ball, the slabs had to be chivvied and poked into place through a side opening.  This proved to be no challenge to R J Smith with their reputation for historical construction.  What did the ancient Egyptians use to build the pyramids: rollers and block and tackles. The slabs were lifted and transported to the side opening, laid on rollers borrowed from the scaffolders; pushed into the building with a JCB; raised on a block and tackle suspended from a gantry, trundled forwards; winched sideways; located in the required position and dropped into pace.  There were fifteen of them.

Getting this building sufficiently finished for Tosca in June is going to be a close run thing, but we think hard hats and high vis jackets need only be optional when attending.

David Lloyd Jones