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Creating an Experience Through Stage Design

Grid images on a white background with text that says "Stage Design"

Your stage is more than just a backdrop, it’s part of the show, but being purposeful with design will create a larger impact for your audience. Whether it’s unique stage configurations or custom scenic design, here’s a few ways to design a memorable event experience. 

MULTI-STAGE SET-UPS 

Using multiple stage platforms is a great way to include your audience in the programming by setting seats amongst the stages. A side stage is a popular option as it gives a place for entertainment acts—such as bands, dancers, or DJs—to set up without interfering with the main stage set-up. 

How do you revitalize this staging? Consider taking it a step further with a floating stage or two satellite stages. With these options the programming can have a completely different impact by simply putting different segments on the individual stages. For example, put panel discussions on one stage and award presentations or emcee remarks on another stage. Give keynote speakers the freedom to walk between the stages during their presentation to keep the audience engaged. You will need to working with your Lighting Director and Audio Engineer in pre-production to ensure coverage for both. Floating stages also provide an opportunity for anyone taking the stage to enter from various spots in the room vs. a traditional backstage area, creating moments of surprise for your audience. 

When utilizing multiple stages, you need to consider the background and what the camera shot will be. Be sure the scenic includes oversized screens that can share your branding or sponsors in the background. If not, work with your Producer to design small scenic elements that are cohesive with the main stage. 

UNIQUE SHAPES 

Being creative with stage shape can also influence the program execution and flow. For WE found this particularly useful for clients with multiple large groups taking the stage for recognition. For client “X” we built a wide stage with three segmented areas, all connected by runways allowing us to bring the groups from the audience and clearly segment them during the program, each having their own portion of the stage. This configuration also gave us a bit more flexibility for setting up and removing panel furniture without disrupting focus from the main stage, with the bonus of side audience segments a being closer to those panelists compared to all programming being center stage.  

Similarly, tiered stages can play a useful part in functionality. For a show featuring multiple opening acts, the tiered stage allowed us to set-up equipment for the performers on each side and center stage so we could seamlessly flow from one to the other without losing time for resets. 

RUNWAY 

A runway is not a new concept but can be effective if encouraging presenters and emcees to use it. Giving the opportunity for speakers to walk further into the audience will increase engagement and interaction with both. Step it up a bit by adding a circle stage insert at the end or a smaller square stage to make it functional for a fireside chat or small interview area.  

Just a note, some of the configurations listed above may affect your budget with increased rigging, sound and lighting costs to cover a larger area of stage and audience so plan accordingly with a LAI Live Producer! 

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