Working in a theater, you spend a lot of time on set up, stage building, lighting and sound direction. If a show also has some special effects, then you have to rig up the effects too. That means reaching up high, higher and highest of all to get to the ramparts, catwalks and light hangers up above. If your theater does not own any of these already, here are three warehouse lifts (click here for more info) that can make your stagehand job so much easier.
Skid Steer with a Forklift Attachment
A skid steer with a forklift attachment can help you reach several feet over your own head, and it can fit on the stage with little difficulty. If your theater cannot afford this piece of equipment, you are in luck. It can be rented from most construction rental stores or from hardware stores that rent large pieces of equipment and machinery.
Vertical Hydraulic Lifts
These lifts have a single platform with a control panel. The controls activate the hydraulic system that can lift you anywhere from two to four times higher than your forklift option (depending on the size of vertical lift). They are more compact than the skid steer and forklift, but they are much more expensive and usually cannot be rented. The height abilities of some vertical hydraulic lifts could allow you to make adjustments to the theater's sound system and lower light hangers. With the vertical hydraulic lifts that can reach much higher up, you may even be able to move from lift to lower catwalk, depending on how your theater's stage is constructed.
A scissors lift is named for the scissors action in the criss-cross support bars underneath the platform. As the platform is lifted and lowered. these bars fold and unfold like an opening and closing scissors. The large platform on a scissors lift will allow you to carry lots of heavy theatrical lamps, fog machines, cords and equipment into the upper reaches of the stage's ceiling.
Some of the best scissors lifts can hoist you and your theatrical equipment a few feet more beyond that of a vertical hydraulic lift, and the scissors lifts are often more easily maneuverable than the vertical hydraulic lifts. Overall, if your theater could only afford to purchase a single piece of warehouse equipment to make stage work easier, safer and faster, then the scissors lift would probably be ideal. It lifts the highest, carries the most stuff on the platform, can be driven like a forklift and be stored in less space than it takes to store a stack of auditorium chairs.