Stage Technologies Moves Mountains For The Sound of Music


Stage Technologies make the hills come alive in the new production of The Sound of Music at the London Palladium, literally moving mountains. In this case, it is a 12-ton automated mountain (26 tons, including mechanics), one of the focal pieces of scenery in this production in London's West End. Stage Technologies worked with set building company Scena to create this scenic piece which is raised and lowered from the grid and also rotates along horizontal axis, all of which is controlled by an Acrobat control console.

As well as mountain backdrops, the story of the problematic Maria unfolds amidst the stone walls of an abbey and the beautiful Von Trapp family mansion house. Large automated trucks bring the house on stage in four sections. The synchronization and millimeter positioning of these trucks is vital to bring each piece together in full view of the audience. Onboard drive systems enable each truck to rotate, turning the sections and transforming the interior into the exterior in fast fluid moves.

BigTow winches are used to fly wall backdrops onstage to create the abbey and a bedroom where the children take refuge from a thunderstorm. Cloths, gauze, and banners are pulled into position and life size birch trees fly and track into view. A travelator is also used to whisk furniture and performers on and off stage quickly and safely.

The automation control was programmed by Alex Hitchcock, who has automated many large West End productions with Stage Technologies including Oliver!, The Witches of Eastwick, and Mary Poppins.
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