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J.R. Clancy Replaces Hydraulics with Automate Rigging at Canadian College

Jacob Coakley • Industry News • April 19, 2013


J.R. Clancy complete the install in a few weeks over the college’s holiday break.

J.R. Clancy complete the install in a few weeks over the college’s holiday break.

Though  you may plan on replacing your rigging, sometimes your rigging system has plans of its own. Such was the case at CEGEP de Drummondville, a technical college in Quebec. The rigging system failed during a speech by the president of the college. No one was hurt when one of the hydraulic hoists slipped, but replacing the rigging system became a lot more urgent. To handle the upgrade the college turned to theatre consultancy Trizart Alliance, who awarded the contract to J.R. Clancy. The new automated rigging system includes 14 custom-built hoists and is controlled by Clancy’s Altus console.

J. R. Clancy replaces hydraulics in Quebec college theatre with automated rigging

There’s nothing like the malfunction of an aging rigging system in front of an audience to step up the pace of a replacement—just as it did at CEGEP de Drummondville, a technical college in Drummondville, Quebec.

The college had budgeted for a replacement “within the next five years,” said Geoff Stock, project manager with J. R. Clancy, Inc. “While the president was doing a presentation in the auditorium, one of the hydraulic hoists slipped, and the pipe crept in behind him.”

Suddenly the replacement rose to the top of the agenda. The hydraulic system was condemned overnight, said Pierre Lemieux, principal with Trizart Alliance, the theatre consultancy firm selected for the job. “Within two weeks, the contract was awarded,” he said. “We had good support from Clancy’s local installers. Everything moved very rapidly.”

Trizart specified an automated rigging system from Clancy as the best fit for Drummondville’s stage and budget. The system includes 14 custom-built hoists with zero fleet angle—allowing the hoists to be installed in the underhung configuration the stage required.

To control the new system, Trizart chose Clancy’s Altus™ Console, a controller designed for students to use safely while providing the flexibility to create exciting productions.  Altus is designed for mid-level backstage rigging systems with up to 48 hoists. Its touch-screen programming allows student operators to create up to 200 cues for a production, with different speeds and targets for each hoist.

The trickiest thing about this job, said Stock, was the short time frame for the installation. “We bid this job in October for a January completion date,” he said. “The entire installation—including removing the old hydraulic system—had to be done between December 20 and the middle of January.”

Removal of the hydraulic system went smoothly, and a team from GC Stage Equipment got to work installing supplemental steel to hold the new system. Once this steel was in place, the team completed the installation of the new hoists by January 15.

“The job was installed in record time during Christmastime, which was like a miracle,” said Lemieux. “It’s all working, and they’re using it every day. That’s the best thing you can say about any job.”

More information about J. R. Clancy is available at, or at (800) 836-1885.

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