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Theatrical tent installation

Event Production, Project Briefs | June 1, 2013 | By:

Starr Tent soundproofs and customizes tent for off-Broadway show.

When the off-Broadway, eletro-pop opera “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812” premiered in the fall of 2012, set contruction within the theater couldn’t overcome the fact that the space was too small and limiting.

Show producers needed a theater that was both larger and offered a more creative arrangement—one in which the audience would sit amid the set of a Russian supper club while actors, musicians and food servers used the entire space as both the stage and the “dinner” half of a dinner theater. The solution was to install a tent that could be customized exactly as producers desired, and Starr Tent of Mount Vernon, N.Y., was up to the task.

“The structure being used in this way was certainly a first for Starr Tent,” says Will Madison of Starr Tent. “We have had plenty of complex and challenging projects throughout the years, but never has one been used for dinner theater—complete with each table’s own personal bottle of vodka.”

The tent with its own moniker—Kazino (the tranliterative Russian word for “casino”)—is an 18-by-30-meter Losberger structure with a custom-end arch that fits below the famed Meat Packing District’s High Line Park. To be used as a theater, producers required a structure that could be erect for five months and include air conditioning, a reinforced floor and soundproofing. Starr Tent has been asked about soundproofing in the past by other clients, but this was the first time the company took on the challenge.

“We created an acoustical barrier utilizing 15,000 square feet of soundproofing material, which was then installed as a second skin beneath the tent roof and wall,” Madison says.

Code compliance required 10 different permits, and timing was also a challenge. The structure, floor, soundproofing and a full sheetrock enclosure were installed over four days. Starr Tent also provided bathrooms, connecting marquees, blackout liner, air conditioning, lobby and kitchen.

Once Starr Tent’s work was complete, the show’s production crew spent another month finishing the set for the show, based on a short passage of Tolstoy’s War and Peace.

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