World's biggest stage erected for Gaddafi's party

EXCLUSIVE: Al Laith erects massive stage for Libyan festivities.
Dress rehearsals take place on the region's largest stage in Tripoli, Libya.
Dress rehearsals take place on the region's largest stage in Tripoli, Libya.

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The largest temporary stage ever erected in the MENA region has been built for today’s celebrations to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s ascention to power in Libya.

Provided by Dubai-based Al Laith Scaffolding in conjunction with UK-based companies Serious Stages and Atlantic Entertainment, the stage is 122 metres wide, 43 metres deep and 27 metres high.

With 5246 sqm of floor space, the stage is almost as big as the world’s largest temporary stage, which was deployed in Lisbon, Portugal – ironically, for a Guiness World Records ceremony – and measured 7276 sqm.

“It’s a massive stage,” commented Tony Nobbs, managing director of Al Laith Scaffolding. “It is the biggest we’ve done by far.”

“It’s designed to look like a Bedouin tent. The stage wings support the design and provide storage space for the sets that will be brought in and out from the sides,” he said.

“Nigel Beaton is managing the job for us on site, because he’s the most experienced person we have for that kind of project. It’s not only a technical difficult task, but also a challenging working environment.”

The structure is a triple arch-roofed steel stage which required Al Laith to have 50 staff on the ground (excluding supervisors) during the busiest periods of preparation.

A number of unusual design requests from the client were also entertained.

“They wanted a swimming pool built in the middle of the stage, which that was quite technically challenging,” said Nobbs.

“There is also an eight-ton sphinx to be moved across it and there will be horses galloping up and down. The stage had to be built to a very high standard because of these loading requirements.

“Allowing for galloping horses on stage is quite demanding and swimming pools are even more difficult, to be honest. So once we met those demands, it was just a case of catering for the usual activities that were happening on stage, such as pyrotechnics and the like.”

Al Laith Scaffolding sent four loads of staging equipment to Libya via air freight for the celebrations, with each load weighing approximately 100 tons. This material was in addition to the staging equipment being supplied by Serious Stages and Atlantic Entertainment and excluded production equipment.

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