Adding Stage Flexibility 
to Sweden’s Oldest City Theatre

Located in Sweden’s second-largest city, the Göteborg Theatre features elegant neoclassical architecture designed by architect Carl Bergsten in 1934. The theatre was, however, founded earlier, in 1918, making it the country’s oldest city theatre. With three separate venues, ranging in capacity from 200 to 600 seats, the Göteborg Theatre has always fostered cultural and social exchanges through classic and modern drama, special performances, lectures and concerts.

Over the years, this listed patrimonial building has undergone major renovations, all completed with great consideration for its 1930s architecture. The Stora Scen (main stage) was notably revitalized at the end of the 1990s, and more recently, in 2020, the Foajén (foyer stage) was rebuilt to meet modern requirements, under the direction of Torsten Nobling, theatre consultant at AIX Arkitekter , a Stockholm-based architecture firm. This popular meeting place of 300 seats, also serving as a concert venue, reopened last fall with a new restaurant, an entirely restored box office and a flexible stage area of 6-by-4.5 metre, subdivided in 6 modules.

Photos: Alfa System

A completely modernized stage
Conducted by PSRIG , a Swedish company specializing in stage and event technology, the renovation of the foyer stage has seen improved rigging, sound and lighting equipment. Increased flexibility has been delivered through a sophisticated motorized stage floor provided by Alfa System , an Italian firm specialized in automated and engineered tailor-made solutions for the entertainment industry. The challenge here was to deliver a solution that allows for large lifting loads but with a low dead weight.

Twenty-eight patented Spiralift® devices – extremely compact actuators with high stability and lifting capacity developed by Canadian engineering firm Gala Systems – were used to create this versatile stage solution including redundant encoders and both edge and load sensors (each Spiralift unit being monitored). Specifically, six mobile platforms can now be automatically raised and lowered separately to provide quick and easy stage reconfigurations, made all the more efficient thanks to the possibility of saving plenty of layout settings. Finally, it is worth noting that Alfa System was very happy with the result regarding the stability and strength of the whole system, including its compactness (200 mm closed height and 1200 mm deployed).

Sensitive upgrade of a historic building
In operation for more than a hundred years, the emblematic Göteborg Theatre has always been committed to Swedish culture. The recent rebuilding of its concert venue, including an extensively configurable stage, will help support that mission as well as attract international shows. This successful modernization of such an important heritage theatre is welcome news for theatregoers all along the Swedish west coast!