Setting the Stage

Staging Rentals & Construction

With a highly skilled team possessing a unique combination of building skills, in-depth knowledge of materials, engineering expertise, and an unparalleled degree of artistry, the company specialises in bringing creative ideas to life.

Back when playwright William Shakespeare wrote, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players”, it is unlikely he could have envisioned what actual stages would become one day. When the Bard’s famous monologue from As You Like It was first performed around 1600, theatres were usually open-air wooden amphitheatres – with the stage often uncovered – or cramped indoor halls, with actors and audience alike navigating their way around through the flickering glow of torches and candles.

Today, stages are epic masterpieces of art and engineering in themselves. Limited only by the imagination of the creators, they have become truly magical places where illusion takes over from reality in ways Shakespeare could not have predicted. From traditional and modern-day theatrical performances to operas and from massive rock concerts to corporations unveiling their latest product, theatres and staging are the product of meticulous planning, decades of combined experience, sophisticated engineering know-how, skilled craftspeople, seamstresses and an array of highly talented designers, artists, painters and other gifted men and women.

Staging Rentals & Construction Services was created back in 1990 by Director Meri Took after he identified a need in the Australian market for rental supplies for staging. Starting off in Took’s garage with little more than his Mitsubishi Sigma and trailer to deliver his dozen black drapes and thirty second-hand risers, Staging Rentals was born.

Took had worked in lighting and stage manager roles for many highly regarded artists over the years, having toured with INXS, Elton John, Neil Young and Cold Chisel – among others. Widely known for his exceptional project management skills and unrivalled attention to detail, Took has staged thousands of successful corporate events starting in 1983 with the launch of the Apple Macintosh in Hawaii. He continues to live by the motto, “You’re only as good as your last gig.”

Constantly evolving and innovating, the business adopted the trading name Staging Rentals & Construction Services in 2005, to reflect the burgeoning construction arm of the business, says Managing Director, David Comer. “This development was prompted by expansion into the exhibition industry as well as theatrical and television productions and, more recently, set pieces, designed environments and props, experiential marketing, and brand activation agencies,” says Mr Comer.

In that same year, due to increased demand for its services, the company expanded operations into the Victoria and Queensland markets, opening warehouses in Melbourne and Brisbane. “This has afforded the company national reach and the ability to offer clients consistency across the country,” says Mr Comer, who became a joint partner in Staging Rentals in 2008.

Staging Rentals & Construction is able to transform ideas into reality with its full range of drapes, a complete construction workshop for wood, metal and paint and much more. Through constant and open communication with clients, precise planning, complete care from project inception to completion and years of event experience, the company creates outstanding events for clients and producers, while maintaining schedules and adhering to budgets.

Delivering not only expertise and products but valuable insight, the company and its staff have a great deal of knowledge about techniques, materials and products, and the latest innovations and technologies in the marketplace. “Each job has its own requirements. The range of work and size of jobs we work on every day makes it a very interesting and professionally satisfying place to work. We can be hiring out stage, hanging a kilometre of drapes, building a set for a mainstream television show, installing a custom exhibition stand or a finalising a prop for the Opera, all in one week,” says Mr Comer.

In addition to its array of products and services, the company provides extra value to its many clients with its technical services. Instead of dealing with multiple people, customers have one point of contact. This means clients get the best price, minimised risk, guaranteed delivery, and coordinated lines of communication.

Fourteen years ago, the company worked on one of its largest productions ever: The Sydney 2000 Summer Olympic Games. The first Olympics of the new millennium, the XXVII Olympiad – held in Sydney between September 15 and October 1, 2000 – won worldwide acclaim. Staging Rentals & Construction Services was thrilled to be part of an event that received such extraordinary, positive, worldwide attention.

“The 2000 Sydney Olympics was probably the biggest production show that we have been involved in,” says Mr Comer. “The numerous venues that this event took place in created a huge logistical challenge to be able to provide the quantity of equipment on this scale and, also, equally important was the large number of crew to perform the tasks required.”

Working on the development of the numerous diverse events over two decades in the industry, Mr Comer has served as production director on many large scale projects, most recently: the Sydney APEC Summit, multiple Toyota National Dealership Meetings, Nissan National Dealership Meeting, Opera Australia, years on the Mercedes Australian Fashion Week and corporate launches for Adobe, Linkedin, Google, and Sony to name a few. As Managing Director, he is on hand to ensure all of the company’s products and services and the customer’s satisfaction continue to remain at the highest levels.

Working with client needs of all sorts, Staging Rentals & Construction regularly works with products such as drapes, props, catwalks, bollards, lecterns, carpeting, flagpoles, bars and a great deal more. Staging Rentals & Construction, unlike some smaller companies, has the tools and technologies to realise the vision of all clients. In New South Wales, the company has a warehouse of almost 4000 square metres, comprising its drapes department, staging and rental items, construction department, paint shop, metal workshop, CNC workshop (computer controlled cutting machines), CAD design department and sales department.

“We have CNC machines, welding machines, spray guns, a variety of timber saws, steel and aluminium saws and the list goes on,” says Mr Comer. “We also have warehouses in Melbourne and Brisbane with similar capabilities.”

Clients are assured of in-house quality designed products, all manufactured to the exacting specifications. The company handles paint finishes, scenic art, special event construction, interactive displays, special exhibits, props, exhibition and tradeshow stands, catwalks, television and theatre set construction and more.

Two and three dimensional designs for events, exhibition stands, staging and all other events are brought to life by Staging Rentals & Construction’s CNC manufacturing skills, enabling speedy delivery of components made from a variety of materials including plywood, acrylic, MDF, polystyrene and aluminium composite panels. The workshops can produce intricate fret work, fit outs, display cabinets, curved walls, templates for fabrication purposes and three dimensional shapes all custom painted in a variety of finishes including low sheen, matte, gloss, anti-slip, metallic, speed lacquer and two pack epoxy. Convincing, highly professional finishes include marble, sandstone, ragged, wood grains and ageing, as the company’s in-house scenic artists can create virtually any environment imaginable.

Providing unparalleled versatility is the company’s flagship staging product, AllySTAGE. The modular system consists of a series of easily connected stage platforms on a variety of leg heights and is attractive and lightweight yet extremely strong. As it is configurable, by using AllySTAGE, clients can have an impressive range of circular stages and semicircular stages which can also be custom painted or clad in different materials and fit well into many venues. This versatility makes it perfect for band risers, seating platforms, DJ platforms, catwalks, tables and bars. The lids (stage surfaces) can be of clear or coloured acrylic, covered in carpet or even custom painted or covered to complement any staging scheme.

Similar to the AllySTAGE, the company’s GloBAR modular steel and Perspex system allows an instant bar to be set up for any event or venue. Self-contained internal lighting means the wheeled bar can be moved anywhere.

Staging Rentals & Construction stocks a diverse range of specialty staging products such as temporary walls, known as ‘flats’, which are often used to create event areas and exhibition stands as well as for building sets. These highly versatile items can be customised in a myriad of ways to suit a customer’s needs.

It carries a large range of revolving and circular stages, from 500mm in diameter – for showcasing such small items as jewellery – all the way to six metres in diameter – ideal for automobile product launches or performing artists. The larger stages have direction control and variable speed control. The revolving stages come with a standard matte black lid which can be either painted to order or covered in any number of custom materials.

Of course, few theatrical presentations are complete without drapery. “We have provided draping to venues such as SCEC (Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre) and MECC (Melbourne Exhibition & Convention Centre) that have used approximately three-quarters of a kilometre of draping at any one time,” comments Mr Comer.

“The majority of clients will come to us with a look and feel for their event. This is shown to us in different ways such as mood boards, renders, artists impressions and, from this, we will determine the type of drape that is required that best fits their event.”

From simple presentations to complex theatrical works involving extravagant sets, textures, draperies, curtains and a variety of materials, Staging Rentals & Construction does it all. If the customer wants an extravagant Las Vegas feel with crystal-studded drapery for their project, that is possible; if they prefer the clean simplicity of a wool curtain behind lecterns, that too is possible.

“We are becoming more involved in work for the experiential marketing and brand activation sector due to the fact that people want to be engaged and have an experience they can remember and share when they come away from an event,” says Mr Comer.

“We form relationships with our clients; we listen and continually communicate with our clients. We often bring them into our warehouse so they can sit with our design team and/or actually see their idea being built or created. Communication at every step of the process is key. We like to think of this as a collaboration or team-work, we are a team – they are not just a client to us.”

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January 18, 2019, 3:28 AM AEDT