Building a prompt desk!

Oobleck1441

Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2006
So I ahev decided..
I will take on the daunting task of building a prompt desk,
in lew of trying to make our theatre a little nicer, adn smoother running.
Problem... I have no idea what to include in it..
yeah the basics like a some lights, some locking cabinets. ect..
So anyone have any ideas, or some cool things they know about?
Or maybe a website with somthing about a prompt desk?
Just somthing to ease teh process!
thanks for anything!
Oobleck1441
 

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Nov 24, 2005
Location
Saratoga Springs, NY
So I ahev decided..
I will take on the daunting task of building a prompt desk,
in lew of trying to make our theatre a little nicer, adn smoother running.
Problem... I have no idea what to include in it..
yeah the basics like a some lights, some locking cabinets. ect..
So anyone have any ideas, or some cool things they know about?
Or maybe a website with somthing about a prompt desk?
Just somthing to ease teh process!
thanks for anything!
Oobleck1441
a good little light and a few built in monitors for stage views, cue light controls, house light panics, paging system, clearcom power supply.... what all do you want to control?
 

Chaos is Born

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Jun 30, 2006
Location
Cincinnati, Oh
Well mobile is simple... put wheels on it... (obvious...) But all your connections if you can manage to get a snake that has a single connection to your board (yes a semi-large connection) that would work the best, our prompt station has clear-com control, some sound control if you need it, can also be used as a presentation podium. Microphone included (the mic can be used for presentaions or in clear com as well.)
 

icewolf08

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Jan 11, 2007
Location
Lititz, PA
For our SM, we have a small rack that carries Clear-Com Base, cue light control, and little lights, probably like an 8U rack or something. It connects to the system via Whirlwind snake, and we have drops for it in the booth, at the tech tables and on stage left.

As for the table itself, in the booth we have a standard office type desk. Good work surface and plenty of storage. For tech, or tables are basically plywood laid over the seats in the house. I have been working on building them better... For the ASM's backstage, or if the SM calls a show from backstage we have two podiums (one SL and one SR). They have a monitor stand and place for a script, and inside we keep things like spike tape, first aid kit, etc.
 

Oobleck1441

Member
Joined
Dec 9, 2006
For our SM, we have a small rack that carries Clear-Com Base, cue light control, and little lights, probably like an 8U rack or something. It connects to the system via Whirlwind snake, and we have drops for it in the booth, at the tech tables and on stage left.
As for the table itself, in the booth we have a standard office type desk. Good work surface and plenty of storage. For tech, or tables are basically plywood laid over the seats in the house. I have been working on building them better... For the ASM's backstage, or if the SM calls a show from backstage we have two podiums (one SL and one SR). They have a monitor stand and place for a script, and inside we keep things like spike tape, first aid kit, etc.
Best help so far! Thanks for the input. Yeah I think I'm just going to scrap the mobile and just get a nice office desk and add what we would like to it. Thanks again!
 

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Best help so far! Thanks for the input. Yeah I think I'm just going to scrap the mobile and just get a nice office desk and add what we would like to it. Thanks again!
My question to you, as an SM what info is important to you? Also, what equiptment do you currently have in your theatre, as in is it possible to get a FOH camera feed, a conductor cam, do you have cue lights, do you have a lighting console capable of outputing a video feed?
 

gafftaper

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I'm really excited about the night vision video monitor system I'm putting in my new theater for the stage manager. It's quite reasonably priced to do. Do a search and you'll find the thread where it was discussed.
 

Jamie

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Jan 7, 2005
Location
Indianapolis
we built a road-case where the front lid came off and attached to the side to make a table/workstation while the whole thing was on casters...made the SM's life easier, none of our ;-b
 

Edrick

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Mar 20, 2007
Location
California
I noticed mention of the Lights Panic Switch, is this something that's required in theaters by code? I'm no longer in High School so I don't do theater work anymore (maybe when I move to Boston) but in our theater which was just built last year we had no Panic Switch. However our system was tied into the fire system so in the event of an alarm all house lights would go to full. So maybe this covered it if it's required?
 

avkid

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I noticed mention of the Lights Panic Switch, is this something that's required in theaters by code? I'm no longer in High School so I don't do theater work anymore (maybe when I move to Boston) but in our theater which was just built last year we had no Panic Switch. However our system was tied into the fire system so in the event of an alarm all house lights would go to full. So maybe this covered it if it's required?
Most commercial buildings are required to have some sort of lighting to illuminate egress routes. The fixtures usually look like this:
 

Edrick

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California
Actually, our building didn't have any emergency lighting like that. The way the system was designed was every other light was tied into a Emergency Breaker Panel(s). In the event of a power outage those would stay on.

But when people talk about Panic Switches I wasn't sure if theaters required you to have those.
 

Toffee

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Feb 7, 2007
Location
California
We have a panic button but it's been disabled for years, I think it used to turn on all the deck and house lights in our theatre if something went wrong. But over time it was disabled, same with the big red button behind the light board that sits on the wall and basically goes up into our catwalks and disappears.

Funny thing is, so many things on our old lighting desk have been disabled it's not even worth trying to say all of them.

We do have the lights that avkid posted about near all of our exits though, they come on if the building has a power outages.
 

Reqel

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Jan 4, 2008
Location
Melbourne, Australia
In my school theatre we have a small desk Prompt with the house light control, curtain control, Cans setup, light, input for mics on stage and a couple of monitors. Sometimes theres a radio mike reciever if we hire in more for a production, and it tends to clutter up the desk. I find a roomy desk helps.

For some shows the "real techs", ie the sound and light board operator, would bring everything out from the control booth and take it downstairs into the seating area, set up two tables and ran everything from there. the director would even don a headset and take notes on his laptop.

there are also green "exit" lights that show above all the doors, even backstage. I find them really annoying as they are quite bright.

Hope this helps Oobleck
 

Chris15

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there are also green "exit" lights that show above all the doors, even backstage. I find them really annoying as they are quite bright.
If you have the green exit signs in a theatre then you architect or electrical consultant or whoever ought to be shot. They specifically make aversion of the sign for theatres that has green text of a black background rather than the conventional white text on green background, but having said that, sign with the word EXIT are old standard anyway, the new standard I believe matches international standard and is a person running, just what everyone needs in an emergency...
 

ship

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Illinois
I remember one prompt desk that dates back to the 1920's that I worked around at one point. Had a shunt system that made even its own work light go to half power in addition to other switches on the podium long lost in working but no doubt ran go/standby lighting about the stage. Ah' what an amazing thing this podium on multi-cable nobody dared look into it was. Magically one had the switch that controlled light output on it and other things about the stage in a time before Clear Com but on a stage that used a 1950's alternate phone company solution to it.

Light on the propmpt desk that is controllable, communications with other locations and standby/go indicator lights would be first needs I could see for a prompt podium I could see. Beyond this, portability, say monitors for the light plot and or scenes or script - dual monitor without obstructing the view of the stage or preventing blackouts. A place for the script and other stuff plus shelves and a laptop computer, place for notes, sharpee, pen, pencil and flashlight. Place for lunch and or coffee / coke that is safe from spills etc. Place to mount or connect into miny controller switches so as to control stuff like foggers etc in powering up stuff at the prompt desk, that which is not as easy to control in the remote from the area location. Special place for the note pad and extra pens as if guitar pic to grab in the dark, and perhaps a clock and stop watch mounted to the podium.
 

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