# List of working Hemp Houses?

#### brucek

##### Member
Does anyone know of any list of currently working hemp houses in the north east...or anywhere at this point?
Thanks

#### bobgaggle

##### Well-Known Member
Until late last year the Pittsburgh Playhouse had 1 theater with a working hemp system. Building is now shut down and the university that owned it just opened their new PAC. Sad.

RonHebbard

#### gafftapegreenia

##### CBMod
CB Mods
I don’t think there’s a master list - but through our collective power we could fix that.

“True” professional hemp rig houses are becoming rare, but plenty of community and education spaces operate with hemp-like systems, even if they don’t use hemp.

Ah, the Calumet! I made it up there a few summers ago. I love that place.

There’s a hemp house that *just* installed a modern system but the name is escaping me at the moment.

RonHebbard

#### Footer

##### Senior Team
Senior Team
Unless they changed it recently and I didn't hear about it Cohoes Music Hall in Cohoes, NY still has one.

#### Jay Ashworth

##### Well-Known Member
St Pete City Theatre, a 90 year old company in a 50's house, has a hemp pinrail. We moved things, in the 5 shows I worked there, *once*.

#### RonHebbard

##### Well-Known Member
Does anyone know of any list of currently working hemp houses in the north east...or anywhere at this point?
Thanks
@brucek Where were you hoping to go with this thread? I'd like to think many single and double purchase counter-weight houses utilize hemp, or similar, spot lines including multi-line spot line sets to add additional full width pipes between their single or double purchase counter-weighted line sets. I miss the old terms and calls; such as: Short short, short, short centre, centre, long centre, long and long long. (Naming and referring to the individual lines in a seven line set.) Calls such as: "Feet on!" and "Feet off!" when the flyman wanted stagehands to hold the pipe tightly to the deck while he took and equalized tension on all the individual lines within a given line set and then when he wanted them to stand clear while he lifted it approximately three or four feet off the deck and took a tie prior to the deck carps securing a drop, or whatever, to the pipe. One of the pains of real hemp was how humidity / moisture affected trims with the longer lines being affected more than the shorter lines resulting in not only changes in trim heights but pipes tilting at angles with reference to the deck. More modern line materials better resisted changes due to humidity / moisture content / temperature. Thanks @brucek for an interesting post sparking many happy memories. (but not the memories of festering slivers from dirty hemp) I don't much miss 100 pound sand bags and bag lines to grunt the bags a little to allow the flyman to re-trim the individual lines within a given line set.
(I'll crawl back in my hole now.)
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard

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#### gafftapegreenia

##### CBMod
CB Mods
@RonHebbard , you make an important point about hybrid spaces. My college’s theatre, built in 1974, has a mid level gallery with a hemp pinrail, in addition to about 35 standard counterweight sets. We used the heck out of the pinrail for single picks, side tabs, and regular line sets for bigger shows. I loved having that flexibility.

RonHebbard

#### RonHebbard

##### Well-Known Member
@RonHebbard , you make an important point about hybrid spaces. My college’s theatre, built in 1974, has a mid level gallery with a hemp pinrail, in addition to about 35 standard counterweight sets. We used the heck out of the pinrail for single picks, side tabs, and regular line sets for bigger shows. I loved having that flexibility.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard

#### DrewE

##### Well-Known Member
I think the Town Hall Theater in Woodstock, VT is still mostly a hemp house (with synthetic rather than hemp ropes, as of about five years ago). When I volunteered there a bit while in high school it was excepting for the stage electrics that were on counterweighted line sets. In use, at least at that point, it may as well have been dead hung; there wasn't much if any actual flying of stuff going on. Perhaps the movie screen is also on some sort of a counterweight or winch system.

It's a neat little community venue, in operation continually since it opened in 1900.

#### venuetech

##### Well-Known Member
Departed Member
At this point Hemp and Manila should not be confused. Most of us have never laid a hand on actual hemp lines. I have often wondered just how they would compare with manila. Also I think most of these houses have moved on to synthetic lines of some sort. The term hemp in reality only refers to how these houses are rigged and operated.

#### brucek

##### Member
I am speaking rigging wise. I am assuming synthetic lines (I do not believe I have seen a new manila line installed in the last 30 years....and I would like to believe that 30 year old working lines would be changed by now). Having just hemp twine to go by, I would assume a hemp rope would be significantly less splintery than manila. I believe the hemp fibers are thinner than the manila so maybe the hemp rope would shrink less?

This all started with a discussion about where the skill set needed to run a hemp fly can still be found...especially because much of the knowledge is very house specific.

#### venuetech

##### Well-Known Member
Departed Member
...especially because much of the knowledge is very house specific.
Much of the knowledge is also aging out of the craft. So passing that knowledge on to the younger stage hand may become an issue.

#### RonHebbard

##### Well-Known Member
Much of the knowledge is also aging out of the craft. So passing that knowledge on to the younger stage hand may become an issue.
@venuetech Understood and agreed. Whenever we had rockers in and had their pre-rigged truss sections supported by one or two of our single-purchase counter-weighted line sets we had to dang near sever their wrists when striking to keep them from removing their trusses prior to our loaders removing any of our counter-weights from our arbors. Trying to get the rockers out of their Loadstar mind set was virtually impossible. Hurry, hurry, hurry! Drop those trusses!!
At today's end of the spectrum: Who is this Dante, do I want to know him and why?
Your point is made, understood and appreciated. Too old; yes. Too old to learn; I hope never.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard

Dionysus

#### Aaron Clarke

##### Well-Known Member
The The Abbeville Opera House has this on thie website- I'm guessing they didn't install a hemp house style fly in 2000 but then $20k doesn't seem like enough to convert to counter weight. In the year 2000, a$20,000 fund raising campaign entitled “We’re at the End of Our Ropes” was completed – resulting in the purchase and installation of a new rigging system above the 7500 sq. ft. stage. This rigging equipment, used for the movement of scenery, lighting equipment and other production elements is an integral part of the on-stage theatre facility.

#### BillConnerFASTC

##### Well-Known Member
I worked on renovation of the Scottish Rites theatre in Bloomington IL into Bloomington Center for the Arts in early 2000s. It was principally rope righing with some home made arbors that scared the daylights out if me. Only second time I ever said to not allow anyone on stage. Used annually for American Passion Play with many drops - maybe like 100 originally but had dwindled - so new counterweight was based on 8" centers and was opposite side if fly gallery. Allowed for a rope and sandbag set between each counterweight set just for Passion play. I think audience dwindled and it is no more.

They reminded me very much if the Midsummer players. Great group. I still stay in touch with one guy.

#### egilson1

##### Senior Team
Senior Team
CB Mods
Many Scottish Rite buildings still have “hemp” rigging.

RonHebbard