Theatrical rigging refers to a system of equipment utilized to secure lights, curtains, scenery, audio equipment, or other technical needs above the ground in a theatre.

Each component of a theatrical rigging system needs to be capable of supporting the oload it is designed to accommodate.  For example, if a rigging system is intended and designed to support a 500lb. load, each and every component of that rigging system must be rated to support a minimum of 500lb. (though a higher rating is always desirable as a safety factor).

Before implementation of any rigging project, proof of concept must be demonstrated to the Faculty Technical Director or the Lighting and Sound Supervisor.  All rigging supplies are to be inspected by qualified personnel prior to their use in the implementation of any rigging project.  Logs of rigging inspection shall be kept in the Technical Director’s office.

For training in theatrical rigging, please contact the Technical Director or the Lighting and Sound Shop Supervisor.

General Rigging Knowledge for All Crewmembers

  • Every light, speaker, or any other piece of equipment above the surface of the stage or house floor MUST have a safety cable securely attached both to the equipment and the position from which the equipment is hung.
  • Before hauling any piece of equipment up or down on a handline, ensure that every component of the equipment is secure and cannot come loose in the air.  If you cannot tie a knot correctly, ask someone who knows how.
  • Make sure that any rope or cord used to haul equipment up or down is both strong enough to handle the load and not frayed or damaged in any way.  Never use electrical cabling to haul equipment up or down.
  • Before working above the stage (on the grid, weight floor, etc.) be sure to empty all pockets.  Any necessary tools should be secured to the worker in the event that they are dropped to ensure that they will not fall to the ground and injure anyone.
  • When working onstage, if any overhead work is taking place, wear a hard hat.
  • Never drop any unsecured object from a height.
  • Do not use rigging equipment whose load rating is unknown.  If you are unsure of the load rating of a piece of rigging equipment, see the Technical Director or Lighting and Sound Shop Supervisor.
  • Before moving any rigged object (i.e. motor-driven truss, flying batten), warn all individuals who may be affected by the move, whether on the stage, front of house, or in the grid. 
  • Maintain visual contact on any moving rigged object at all times.  Be aware of anyone potentially moving into harm’s way, and warn them away from the hazards inherent in a mobile rigged object (i.e. “Get back!”)