Stage Craft: Building Rehearsal Cubes

Below is a how to guide, pictures from my build of six rehearsal cubes. Also below us a video of a master Craftsman. But I think my instructions better suit those of us otherwise challenged in such arts. Lol

Currently producing a theater program for NYC Schools, Summer Rising via Arts Horizons. Doing a lot of the behind the scenes work in support of Artistic Director, Amelia Fowler, and Production Designer, Samuel Van Wyk, I was engaged to find six rehearsal cubes. These theater blocks can be used for all sorts of rehearsal furniture as well as movable units in shows as well..

So I set off to find someone to make these for us, as I have not done stage craft proper since collage 10+ (actually 25) years ago, and even then I was an on stage diva that barely passed production classes. Ask my wife about my flat build , design and paint work. Although I was mighty proud of the faux marble set painting I helped create on a Kismet production. Otherwise I was better suited of grunt labor backstage lol

Turns out these are hard to come by. I think because they are so easy (and so much cheaper) to build that the one company listed as selling these items stopped a few years ago.

Turning to Evan Schultz, 8 Improv cast mates and teacher/performer at Long Island’s Argyle Theatre, where we are performing This Friday at 7:30pm, (shameless plug, CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS), his guy could not get them to us until September.

After a number of other disappointing calls, I decided to build them.

Step One Buy Wood from Home Depot and Have them cut each plywood sheet (4’*8′, 3/4″ thick) into 18 16″ blocks, one sheet will provide three blocks. Also pick up SIX 2*2s (8′ each) for adding extra support.
For each block, cut two squares of plywood down to 16″*14.5″. Measure wood at least three times before cutting.
since i was using a jig saw to cut (table saw preferred) I used a guide, the straight end of a precious cut.
I glued 2*2 strips to the ends of the 14.5*16″ sides. Then glued to 16*16″ squares. At each step I dropped a couple 1 5/8″ screws to hold wood tight as wood dries and provide extra strength.
Be generous with your wood glue.
then fasten the top and bottom, glue plus a screw in each corner
here are all six 16*16*17.5″ “cubes”. I decided to go with taller boxes because, in lieu of more accurate cuts with table saw, these are stronger than if I cut all four sides to 14.5″.

Next stop, sanding and painting.

Also, seasoned stage craft builders will scoff at my not beveling the sides as the best option. Notably these blocks will not last as long as a beveled side. Due to time and lack of access to a proper theater shop (we were so spoiled in school) I elected for a simpler construction. However, I’ve tested these personally for 350lbs, and we don’t intend students to stand on these.

i might recommend checking out this guy’s vid, the one I used for a refresher course.

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