“Nobody Looks Up: The History of the Counterweight Rigging System”

Posted by on Mar 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

Hot off the press, and nominated for the 2016 USITT Golden Pen Award, our dear friend Rick Boychuk’s long-anticipated book about the history of counterweight rigging is now available for purchase!

From the book website:

The counterweight rigging system has dominated the theatre fly tower for the last half of the 20th century. And yet, the history of its evolution has been lost, until now.

In this first ever written history of the counterweight rigging system, author Rick Boychuk upends two core theatre myths. Stage rigging did not grow from a nautical tradition and counterweight rigging did not evolve from the hemp system. Boychuk neatly identifies the origins of the myth of the sailor-flyman and leaves no room for doubt. Counterweight rigging emerged from a European tradition of 17th century Torellian stage machinery. Hemp rigging was a side show.

In documenting the evolution of the counterweight system, Boychuk dissects the machine that is the stage house along with its upper machinery – the rigging. He examines the development of the fly tower, gridiron, loft steel, head steel, grid wells, arbor, bricks, blocks, and loft lines; all of those mundane components necessary to make the system work. He deconstructs hemp, counterweight and Torellian rigging into system paths to gain a better understanding of the progression of development and the workings of each system.

Nobody Looks Up: The History of the Counterweight Rigging System: 1500 to 1925 is a must-read for all who work in and around technical theatre – stagehands, crew, manufacturers, designers, suppliers, consultants, and most importantly, those who are teaching the next generation of technicians

You can find out more and buy the book here!