Over the past twelve months Pearce Hire has been working on an intricate and very different style of project from what they are most known for. This time last year, the theatre group 'Shakespeare at The George' got in touch to ask for Pearce Hire's expertise in project managing and building a bespoke temporary stage set for their annual performances. But it is no ordinary stage set as the production takes place outdoors in the middle of an olde English Inn in the heart of Huntingdon, Cambs, that dates back to Cromwell's time.
Pearce Hire were charged with producing a solid and reliable temporary stage system for use in an environment akin to how it would have been in Shakespeare's time. With the intricacies and detail of a Jacobean Courtyard to contend with, it was certainly not going to be a simple straightforward installation of standard stage components.
Explains Richard Brown of 'Shakespeare at The George', 'We had been struggling for a couple of years to find a solution for replacing our loyal but very worn wooden, cumbersome stage structure, and a chance meeting with Pearce Hire seemed to answer all our problems. Pearce Hire took on board from the start just how intricate this project was, but offered a solution in a calm, knowledgeable manner, and at the right price and it just instilled in us an enormous amount of confidence in their team'.
The project has involved months of technical and engineering planning, a number of detailed on-site visits to take accurate measurements and for technical trials.
The result has been a stunning, bespoke built stage set which received its inauguration this summer with a fortnight run of Macbeth in the courtyard of The George Hotel in Huntingdon, Cambs.
Working alongside Pearce Hire on the delivery of the project was Prolyte Group who manufactured a specially engineered stage which allows for the slightest change in floor level throughout the courtyard, and worked around the pillars of the 17th century listed building.
Prolyte's Nick Williams explains: 'We have always had a great business relationship with Pearce Hire via our distribution network, and so when Shaun Pearce asked use to get involved we were only too pleased to take up the challenge with them. We took our standard LiteDeck product as a start point, and then custom designed it to match the tricky requirements of the space. The reason it was so complex was because the courtyard walls were not at 90 degrees square and the stage structure required needed to fit into the exact space. So Pearce Hire had to take each measurement individually to ensure that each corner section would have some tolerance, and fit perfectly. It also had to be designed to avoid disruption to the day-to-day working of the hotel during the time it was in situ. All in all, it was an unusual request of a temporary demountable structure and accuracy was critical.'
Richard Brown sums it up: 'Pearce Hire and Prolyte have provided a performing area that is safe, durable, easy to construct and de-rig, and will last us for many years. Throughout the project they were accommodating, very professional and kept us up-to-date on progress at all times. It is a fantastic stage to act on and it made an enormous difference to the cast. I wouldn't hesitate in recommending Pearce Hire to any other amateur dramatic company with a similar challenge, and we are hoping for an ongoing relationship with them for any future requirements'.
In conclusion, Simon Maylor, Publicity Trustee for Shakespeare at the George was delighted to report that the stage was dismantled in just one and a half hours, rather than a whole day with the previous structure. 'Fitting the stage into the exact space that we have to work with at The George is a work of genius'.