Newsletter – 01/21/2022

JANUARY 22, 2022

9am – Noon

Dear Strand Fan, 

We are hard at work improving the theater.   The past few weeks have brought great progress, but more is needed.  If you can help on Saturday, we could use the assistance.   Several jobs, while not difficult, take several people.  

For all you engineering types, let’s talk about what makes a modern stage.

The Strand was built in 1916.   The stage was built with a rake.  That means it sloped from downstage (the audience) to upstage (the back wall) a total of 8 inches.  That is why we replaced it.   The structure was 2 x 10 joist on 16” centers.   A diagonal 1 x 6 subfloor was finished with a 1 x 4 pine tongue and groove.   With the exception of one row of cross braces, that was it.  It was nailed together and the upstage joists rested on the brick of the back wall. 

Can’t do that today.   With some notable stage collapses, the codes governing stage floors are strict.   The modern designed loading is 150# per square foot.   To achieve this, the Strand’s replacement stage was designed by a structural engineer.   That guy has no sense of humor or maybe lots, depending on your perspective.   

The new floor is lowered so that from downstage to upstage it is flat.  It also matches the height of the downstage portion.  This is huge.  The total drop at the back wall is 17”.  The structure is more than the original.   We have the same 2 x 10 joist on 16” centers.  Those joists have 2 x 8 nailed to the side of every joist to stiffen the structure.

The downstage support in 1916 the joists sat on a hip wall.  Since the structure was lowered almost 9”, it now sits on a 2 x 6 nailed to the hip wall.   Under the 2 x 6 is 2.5” steel angle iron to up the rating to 150# per square foot.   The upstage support is no longer in the bricks.   We built a load bearing stud wall to take the weight.   The joists sit directly on that wall.   Much better.

When we upgraded the electrical panels, they were placed in the basement under the stage.  Unfortunately the conduit is now higher than the new stage floor.   We have retained a small 18” section of floor to hide that conduit.    That is completely upstage right.  In order to support the 9 joists in that section of floor, we have to provide a 4” steel c channel with 4 x 6 posts.   This all needs fabricated and welded to provide the proper bearing plates and connections to the post.

On top of all this structure is ¾” OSB (Oriented Strand Board) tongue and groove underlayment.  This is screwed down with 2-½” x #9 bugle head screws.  It is glued with a screw pattern every six inches!   Our new stage will be STRONG.   But wait, there’s more!    The entire stage will be covered with another layer of ¾” AC (good one side) tongue and groove plywood.   There will 15# felt paper between the layers.    When done we will be ready for the triumphal scene of Aida! (go look that up) (editor’s note: One of my favorite scenes)

This is not an easy job.   While we are providing most of the labor, we had Space and Sites and their structural engineer design the project.  They also submitted the drawings to the State Fire Marshal for a Construction Design Release.    If you stop by the Strand, you can see these plans…all for a simple stage upgrade.

We are still holding off starting our season due to Covid.   We will be posting upcoming events as soon as we know for sure they can happen.    2022 will be a full and fun production year. 

Thank you for your support.   We could really use your help on Saturday.   See you at the Strand!