A Buyer's Guide to Portable Staging

Views 2 Likes Comments Comment
Like if this guide is helpful
A business conference, an outdoor concert, an exhibition, school and theatre productions, mobile DJs, a small shop or showroom display: stages can be used for a large range of different scenarios, and are probably more affordable than you would expect. With an increasing demand for portable stage systems, there are a few simple steps to take when buying a stage that gives you the best value for money.

The key elements that make up a staging area are the same, but they can be arranged and customised in a number of different ways to suit what you're using it for. Typically as an end user or for hire and events companies; you are going to be looking out for a few key features that will augment stability, quality and practicality of your stage. Is the stage system lightweight enough to be portable? What are the best brands to be looking out for? How can staging systems work to provide everything I need?
*SCA-03 Stage Deck 2m x 1m
Link to an eBay page Remove
Add up to 3 more photos
Link to an eBay page
*SCA-03 Stage Deck 2m x 1m

What are the components of a stage?

What is a staging system and how does it work? There are a few basic components that make up any stage for any purpose, the rest are additional and customisable extras to speak loud to a crowd, give room and stability for movement or make anyone or anything positioned on that stage say: hey, look at me! But let’s start with the basics.

Basic components

Stage Deck / Stage Platform*

These are flat decks that make up the stage 'floor'. They are usually made from aluminium or steel frames, and some brands offer a lightweight construction better suited for mobile and portable use. The base is commonly made from dense wood to provide a strong and solid surface, and then covered with practical layering for a smart finish. They come in different sizes and can lock together in multiples to expand the staging area. Most are oblong in shape and can be stacked for easy storage.
RL-04 Round Stage Legs
Link to an eBay page Remove
Add up to 3 more photos
Link to an eBay page
RL-04 Round Stage Legs

Stage Legs

These are tubular metal legs that are attached to platforms to create stage risers. Commonly made from aluminium or steel, stage legs can be round or square in shape and are strong to support a lot of weight on the staging deck. They come in different fixed heights (meaning they cannot be adjusted), or can be telescopically adjustable. Telescopic legs give a lot of flexibility for stages: they can be raised and lowered to preference but are securely locked into place.

Leg Clamps

Clamps which lock together stage legs when platforms are positioned together. This maximises stability of the stage, and minimises the likelihood of gaps, of uneven surface and instability. Leg clamps are usually tightened using a nut-and-bolt lock and can fit together two, three, or four stage risers to stick them together.
SCD-01 Stage Platform Clamp
Link to an eBay page Remove
Add up to 3 more photos
Link to an eBay page
SCD-01 Stage Platform Clamp

Platform Clamps

Clamps which lock together stage decks when positioned together. Typically using a nut-and-bolt lock, they fit underneath the stage itself to squeeze together the individual decks. Again, this is all about the staging area stability.


*SCA-03 Stage Deck with SPS Stairs
Link to an eBay page Remove
Add up to 3 more photos
Link to an eBay page
*SCA-03 Stage Deck with SPS Stairs

Other components

Now let’s get to some examples of additional extras. The best thing to look out for is whether these extras are modular: this means that they can be combined in many different ways to get the staging you want.

Stage Stairs*

A staircase can be fixed to a stage deck to give easy access to the stage area. They can be extendable and adjustable to fit any height of stage deck. The two main types of stage stairs are length adjustable or modular.

Stage Ramps

Same as stairs but a ramp instead, a great alternative to stairs which is also wheelchair friendly and generally opens the accessibility of the staging area.
SBA-05 Stage Handrail Safety Barrier
Link to an eBay page Remove
Add up to 3 more photos
Link to an eBay page
SBA-05 Stage Handrail Safety Barrier

Stage Barriers / Handrails

These are barriers which can attach to the stage decks for safety, crowd control and hand railing. Typically made from aluminium or steel, stage barriers are there to lean on, to prevent PA or AV equipment falling off the side of the stage, and to manage a crowd if there are a lot of people on a staging area (for an exhibition for example). There are clamps available to fix handrails together, as they usually come in a uniform size for a single panel that can be fixed together.

Embellishments

After the boards have been laid out, blueprints taking form right in front of you and you can effectively jump up and down centre-stage without feeling as though something will give way: there’s everything else. Scrims to cover the underneath of the stage. Spot lights for a catwalk, lighting trusses for theatre and bands; LCD screens and projectors; marketing banners and promotional posters: a stage gives height to displays amongst a crowd. 
An outdoor portable stage system in its prime
Link to an eBay page Remove
Add up to 3 more photos
Link to an eBay page
An outdoor portable stage system in its prime
*Catwalk Stage Pack from Vonyx by Alustage
Link to an eBay page Remove
Add up to 3 more photos
Link to an eBay page
*Catwalk Stage Pack from Vonyx by Alustage

What can staging be used for?

So those are the basic components which make up a stage. But how can a stage diversify to satisfy its purpose? There are many ways, as a stage system is always designed to be adaptable. You don’t need to have thorough knowledge of the parts: just a general idea of what you want a stage system to do: do you want it to be big, catch the eye, show off your lights, sell a product, have certain parts of the stage higher?

With a vision in mind, the rest can be put together by a technical team or designer. Electromarket have a technical team on hand to deliver this service for Vonyx by Alustage products, for example.

Catwalks / Fashion Shows*

Fashion is a huge industry in the UK, and many aspiring fashion students and professional designers use stage systems to showcase their collections and ideas throughout the year. Huge yearly events like London Fashion Week and Clothes Show Live (NEC Birmingham) use stages for their catwalks and shows.

A catwalk uses stage risers, usually basic 2m x 1m decks to build an extension from a stage where the models prepare. A stage can be a base for spot lighting, for filming and photography and for extras such as banners and projectors / LCD screens.

Concerts

A full-scale concert outdoors or indoors, stage decks can be built up to create a large staging area with raised decks for performers, for example in an orchestral concert.

For a classic concert you’re thinking big: thinking the BBC Proms or Royal Albert Hall, where full-scale orchestras and choirs have enough stage area and choir tiers. The sopranos strike out from the tenor: the string layers from percussion.
Lectern and Stage Pack from Vonyx by Alustage
Link to an eBay page Remove
Add up to 3 more photos
Link to an eBay page
Lectern and Stage Pack from Vonyx by Alustage

Conference / Presentations

Staging can be used in very simple and effective ways. With presentations and conferencing, stages can be used to put seating and lecterns, and can be used to stand PA equipment such as speakers and microphones. Then with projector screens, banners and promotional posters behind the stage, the stage sets the right tone for speaking volumes.

Theatre / Film

A stage can make a film set, no problem. Recording equipment and cameras, heavy lighting and green screens can develop a stage into a suitable film set. When it comes to theatre, a stage can have tiered sections or raised areas for the actors; or to separate vocalists from dancers. Create a backstage area with curtains and trussing, and a stage curtain for between scenes.
Band Stage Pack from Vonyx by Alustage
Link to an eBay page Remove
Add up to 3 more photos
Link to an eBay page
Band Stage Pack from Vonyx by Alustage

Band Gigs

Drum risers or stages for gigs: a portable stage system can stack in a van and take you from gig to gig. Stage stairs are good for a front man getting in with the crowd, and barriers are good for small venues such as pubs, for audience safety and protection of instruments.

Mobile DJs

When you need to stand out from the dance floor, a portable stage supports the decks and gives you a performance area which is free from distraction. Stage risers can even be used as your deck space for mixers and PA, and stage barriers work well for keeping all DJ equipment contained.

Schools / Community Centres

A school production or awards ceremony, amateur dramatics production within a community centre or for modular staging pieces which will adapt to host any public event: staging can be versatile. Decks are easy to store and quick to set up after school time or open hours, making them a flexible system for multiple purposes.
Display Stage Pack from Vonyx by Alustage
Link to an eBay page Remove
Add up to 3 more photos
Link to an eBay page
Display Stage Pack from Vonyx by Alustage

Shop Displays / Showrooms

A simple 2m x 1m or 1m x 1m deck with stage legs is great for shop displays and for tiered showcasing of products within showrooms. Some brands of stage deck can come in different layers and finishes to fit in amongst shop décor.

An example of a portable stage for presentations and promotions
Link to an eBay page Remove
Add up to 3 more photos
Link to an eBay page
An example of a portable stage for presentations and promotions
Link to an eBay page Remove
Add up to 3 more photos
Link to an eBay page

What is the best portable stage system?

So you know a little bit about the potential of a stage system and what they can be used for. But what should be the key things to look out for when choosing a brand? Let’s take a look at some of the best stage systems out there on the market, and what you need to look out for if you want a lightweight, portable and easy-to-store stage system.  

Are stages heavy?

Look out for lightweight metals such as aluminium for stage decks. There may be stage systems which claim to be portable but are actually made out of heavy steel: these are more suitable for fixed installations. If its important for a stage to be portable, then look for aluminium models. Vonyx by Alustage are an example of a portable system, designed to be lightweight.
Stage Deck Trolley
Link to an eBay page Remove
Add up to 3 more photos
Link to an eBay page
Stage Deck Trolley

Are stages portable?

What makes a stage ultimately portable? Apart from being constructed and manufactured using lightweight metals and materials, there is a credible point to mention with portable stage systems.  They do not require any tools to put them together, or to disassemble them. When you want to set up quick,
this is a blessing.

Because it takes no time at all to set up, stage systems detatch to their individual parts and are easy to transport. A sturdy gig bag is enough to lug the legs, clamps and accessories. For the bigger parts, such as the stage decks; they are stackable and can be put onto transport trolleys and racks.

Are stage systems easy to store?

As mentioned above, stage platforms / decks are stackable and can go onto transport trolleys in storage. Make sure if you are wanting to buy a trolley, that it is designed to hold that particular shape / size of stage deck.
RLT Telescopic Round Stage Legs
Link to an eBay page Remove
Add up to 3 more photos
Link to an eBay page
RLT Telescopic Round Stage Legs

Can I adjust the height of a stage?

The best way to go with adjusting a stage’s height is opting for telescopic or adjustable stage legs. This is best for stage systems that need to be constantly adjusted according to the size of a particular venue, to the dimensions of a product you are showcasing, or simply to boost its versatility. Most brands offer telescopic and adjustable legs. Vonyx by Alustage stock a good range of height adjustable and telescopic stage legs .

What are the best brands available and how do I find them?

If you’re looking for value for money, Vonyx by Alustage is available from electromarket website, as well as staging concepts, here on eBay and SLE products. Electromarket offer an expert technical service, available on-hand to fully customise your stage to how you want it.

*Price based on a standard 2m x 1m stage deck.

Vonyx by Alustage - £249.99*

Portable and lightweight. Have a wide range of stage system packs. Easy assembly features. Ultra versatile. Affordable.

Litedeck by Prolyte - £400 - £430*

Very lightweight. Offer a range of different shape decks. Versatile.

StageDex by Prolyte - £260 - £300*

Heavy duty staging.

Global Truss - £530*

Sell portable staging basics. Easy assembly features. Lightweight.

Adam Hall - £280*

Portable and lightweight. Sell the basics.
Link to an eBay page Remove
Add up to 3 more photos
Link to an eBay page

Conclusion

It's a little convoluted and difficult to grasp when there are all these different terms for parts of a stage. But we hope, with the backing of this guide, you will make a well-informed decision when it comes to choosing the right stage system for you. 
Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides