Rigging Resources (Updated April 3, 2020)

Chicago Flyhouse will be offering a series of online rigging classes in the coming week on Design Factor, Bridle Math, and Codes, Standards & Risk Assesment. These classes are for technicians of all skill levels. They have been popular enough that they are filling up as fast as they are offered. See Chicago Flyhouse Facebook page for updates and openings or their shopify page for openings

Chicago Flyhouse Shopify Page

The Chicago Flyhouse Inc Facebook


Instead of trying to compile my own list of rigging resources, I'm sharing, with perimission, an email sent out by industry leader Edward Leahy of Chicago Flyhouse on 4/3/2020. I hope you find it as useful as I did.


I am sending this out because as we have conducted the various sessions over the past couple weeks, there have been some requests for information, links, etc. that have come up in the discussions.  Some of you have been very generous with sharing your information, and I wanted to reciprocate. 


Below is a list of useful items and resources that apply to the things we have talked about in training, and you may not have caught as class was speeding by.  It is an incomplete list, for sure.  We are a large industry full of really bright and inventive people, and someone is always having a better idea, but these are some of the things worth looking at.


Websites and FB Groups


Manufacturer websites are really useful, and I won’t list all of them here, but CM and Crosby have a lot of good information and documentation about hardware.  J.R. Clancy also provides a huge amount of information about counterweight systems.  All of the truss makers are good about putting data up on their sites as well.


USITT – The United States Institute for Theatre Technology is a great resource for online learning, connecting and reading about what is happening in the industry.  It is also driven in large part by educators and university students, and many good resources for those audiences can be found there.  https://www.usitt.org/


ESTA – The Entertainment Services and Technology Association is the trade group for vendors of all kinds in the industry.  They run the Technical Standards Program and the Entertainment Technician Certification Program (ETCP).  Information for both programs can be found on their site, and entertainment industry standards can be downloaded there for free thanks to a generous underwriting donation from ProSight Insurance.  Another useful tools for those of you from around the world is the International Code of Practice for Entertainment Rigging (ICOPER).  It is a document that attempts to collate and condense the best practices in use in our industry and provide guidelines that meet standards around the world, especially in places where there are not standards yet written.  There are learning opportunities as well, and it is a good group to become familiar with.  https://esta.org/


ESA – The Event Safety Alliance is a newer group devoted to establishing and promoting safety of all kinds at live events around the world.  They have great resources and learning opportunities.  https://www.eventsafetyalliance.org/


SAIA – The Scaffolding and Access Industry Association is the trade group for scaffold and lift manufacturers and is the place to get your hands on the new standard for Mobile Elevating Work Platforms, what used to be called Aerial Work Platforms or man lifts.  The new standard is a game changer and is in force now.  If you work with lifts and are not trained for the new standard, you will need to do that.  A92.22-2018 and A92.24-2018 are the new versions you will want to read.  They can be purchased for about $90.  https://www.saiaonline.org/



In terms of Facebook Groups, the Stagecraft Mailing List is a good place to start.  There is also Stage Riggers (all event technicians welcome) if that is your world.  Another one that has just come up is the Theatre Education Distance Learning (Resource Sharing and Support Network) – this one seems to be a great clearing house for online teaching ideas, although it has lots people asking about acting and performance in addition to tech training.




When we talked about Bridle Math, lots of people asked about Apps, and so I went looking around for rigging apps.


I found this article that lists a bunch of good option, beyond just the couple we discussed in class, and beyond just bridle rigging. 



That article is fairly old, so I went looking for others as well.  I don’t vouch for these at all, but there are some interesting titles to check out.  Also, when you look for bridle rigging apps, lots of stuff from the crane and construction industry shows up.  Those might be useful, but I tend to look at the entertainment industry apps first.


Well known and widely used apps:

IRigging from JR Clancy

Bridle by Erik Berends for iPhone

Bridle by Tricky-Design for Android

RigCalc by Alex French (from spread sheets by Delbert Hall)


New to me, no opinion yet on my part:

Hyperlay by Drop APS

Shackle DB by Anil Karunakaran

iTruss by Xtreme Structures




There are lots of great books out there.  Here are some that I think deserve attention or might be useful to you.


The Stage Rigging Handbook by Jay Glerum



Entertainment Rigging: A Practical Guide by Harry Donovan



Entertainment Rigging for the 21st Century, edited by Bill Sapsis (This is a series of essays by heavy-hitters on rigging topics of all kinds)



Rigging Math Made Simple by Delbert Hall



Automated Performer Flying: The State of the Art by Jim Shumway



The Scenic Automation Handbook by Gareth Conner



Structural Design for the Stage by Ben Sammler and Alys Holden



Mechanical Design for the Stage by Alan Hendrickson



The Technical Director’s Toolkit by Zach Stribiling



Technical Management for the Performing Arts by Mark Shanda and Dennis Dorn




That is what I have for you right now.  Please let me know if you have any feedback about the classes, ideas about topics you want to see, or anything else.  It has been wonderful to have so many people interested in this training, and I will continue to do my best to help out as long this thing goes on.




Ed Leahy, Head Trainer and Cruise Ship Division Manager

ETCP Certified Rigger and Recognized Trainer
Chicago Flyhouse
2925 W. Carroll Ave, Chicago, IL 60612