Custom Capabilities: Bringing the Impossible to Life

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When you’re trying to create the perfect performance space, it’s essential to install products that work together seamlessly. And, in some cases, standard products and solutions may not be the right option for your space.

Fortunately, in addition to our extensive line of standard performance space solutions, we also offer customized options through both the Wenger and J.R. Clancy brands. Now you can create an extraordinary venue with the highest quality products adapted with your creative vision in mind. Our custom product installations are not only designed and manufactured to provide the best results, but you can trust our proven reputation for quality, reliability, and safety. That means that the only thing keeping you from the performance space of your dreams is your own imagination.

Here are a few examples of our custom capabilities in action.

Custom seating wagons at the Cincinnati Music Hall

Custom seating wagons at the Cincinnati Music Hall

Cincinnati Music Hall

The Cincinnati Music Hall in Ohio needed to improve their acoustics, maximize a challenging space, and install safer rigging. But standard installations weren’t an option for this National Historic Landmark originally built in 1878.

“We wanted to help create a closer relationship between the audience and performers but maintain the signature sound of the historically protected building,” said Christopher Blair, Chief Scientist and Partner at Akustiks. “That created limitations on what we could and could not do.”

Customized solutions for this space included:

  • Seating wagons to move the stage edge 13 feet out into the audience and musicians in front of the proscenium
  • Creating choral and orchestral risers to elevate performers
  • Custom rigging solutions for the chandelier, acoustical glass ceiling panels, and speakers
  • Custom stage lifts and traps, designed with flexibility and safety in mind

In addition, Wenger provided custom stage traps and orchestral staging for the Music Hall Renovation.  J.R. Clancy provided nearly a dozen customized drum hoists, five motorized line shaft hoists, automation controls, custom stage lifts, and three rows of custom seating wagons. These moveable seats shift easily into position on custom tracks, taking approximately 40 minutes to put all three rows into performance or storage position.  When not in use, they’re hidden discreetly from view with the custom stage extension.

The "falling stars" chandelier at Winspear Opera House

The “falling stars” chandelier at Winspear Opera House

Winspear Opera Hall

When you think of Wenger Corporation, you probably don’t think of chandeliers. But, when the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas opened its doors to the public in 2009, a custom-built 40-foot-high and 40-foot-wide “falling stars” chandelier was the centerpiece of their Winspear Opera House.

The chandelier features 318 internally illuminated acrylic rods – reminiscent of shooting stars. Each six-foot-long rod contains an LED illuminator, optically coupled at the top for maximum effect. They’re suspended from their own cables and powered by 44 custom-designed hoists mounted around the chandelier’s ring. This high-tech, custom J.R. Clancy rigging system makes it possible for the rods to travel as much as 60 feet, gliding effortlessly into position above the stage or retracting into the void above the ceiling.

While the chandelier’s visual effect was the top priority for the design, keeping the audience underneath it safe was equally important.

When developing the cable, engineers at J.R. Clancy did extensive testing of the load capacity. It exceeded an 8:1 safety factor, even in a gross overload situation.  Therefore, if anything binds up, the spring will trip, and the hoist shuts down for safety.

In addition to the chandelier rigging, a J.R. Clancy SceneControl™ motion control console makes the rods’ shimmering, synchronized movements possible.

National Arts Centre's custom acoustical shell, our largest at the time

National Arts Centre’s custom acoustical shell, our largest at the time

National Arts Centre

The National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, first raised its curtain in 1969 and is home to Canada’s most creative artists. But, after 50 years, it was in need of a serious renovation. Part of this vision included a brand-new acoustical shell in their largest venue, the 2,000-seat Southam Hall. At the time, this custom installation would be the biggest, most complex shell we had ever created.

“The stage was a black hole,” said Jennifer Mallard, Architect and Director at Diamond Schmitt. “We wanted to create a more immersive experience, so people can feel more intimately involved with the performance they’re experiencing.”

The new, Wenger custom acoustical shell has a one-of-a-kind prism design and custom reflectors.  The four main shell components include:

  • Eleven onstage towers with custom prism design work that can be moved around the stage and set up in different configurations
  • Three 10-foot long and 57-foot wide onstage reflectors with a space-saving design, allowing for storage above the stage in the fly loft or along the upstage wall
  • Eight forestage towers downstage of the proscenium that vary in height from 34 to 52 feet tall; half with doors on each side of the stage as well as double doors at their base for large items and pianos to pass through
  • One 23 x 62-foot forestage reflector to create a more immediate sound for the audience

Wenger Corporation provided collaborative Design Assist for Fisher Dachs Associates to ensure the extensive rigging needs to move the shell into performance and storage position were met. It also included the shell structure onstage and front-of-house. Engineers at J.R. Clancy worked to create custom rigging systems for these two main areas. The first area includes two front-of-house line shaft hoists that suspend the reflector and can support 20,000 pounds, five custom speaker hoists, and three Titan® hoists for the house curtain and flown scenic elements. The second area includes three custom line shaft hoists and a fourth storage hoist to store the ceilings. These custom rigging solutions allow the NAC to change their stage with minimal effort and manpower.

For more information on custom capabilities please visit or contact a Wenger Corporation representative today.

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