Chicago Flyhouse Blog

Columbia College Getz Theatre

Posted by Flyhouse on Feb 9, 2018 10:58:59 AM

Chicago has no shortage of revered theaters with long, fascinating histories. Among them is the Getz Theatre at Columbia College. In 1929, the Columbia College Chicago Theatre Center (also known as the 11th Street Theater) was constructed using an Art Deco style. After being acquired by Columbia College in 1980, it was renamed the Getz Theatre in 1985 after a major donation for renovations from the family of Oscar and Emma Getz.

More recently, over 30 years since its last renovation, the Getz Theatre spaces were completely rebuilt. As part of the renovation package, Flyhouse modernized the rigging capabilities of these spaces to meet the specifications of contemporary performance venues with the goal of providing better venues for theatre students’ and teachers’ needs. The project spanned three rooms within the building– the Courtyard Theatre, New Classic Theatre, and a new light lab.

Getz Theatre Flyhouse

In the Courtyard Theatre, Flyhouse installed four variable speed and two fixed speed ETC hoists that allow curtains and scenery to be flown in and out using a computerized control system. The system provides the students the opportunity to program multiple moving cues throughout a show while monitoring the load and movement of each batten. The hoists allow for quick and efficient changeover processes and are an exceptional teaching tool for how to manage complex automation systems.

New acoustically isolated pipe grids were installed in the New Classic Theatre (a black box space) and their new light lab to provide flexible locations to hang light fixtures, curtains, speakers, and scenery. This allows more dynamic design opportunities for the students and new production capabilities to invigorate performances.

Getz Theatre Flyhouse

Flyhouse enjoys improving theater experiences for students and faculty alike. These newly envisioned spaces will allow Columbia College students and faculty to flourish.

Topics: Flyhouse Projects

Where is Flyhouse?

Posted by Flyhouse on Feb 5, 2018 11:55:53 AM

Projects in February have us everywhere from a zoo to an amusement park to sailing the ocean. 

Flyhouse in February


  • Busch Gardens
  • CNA
  • Columbia College
  • Lincoln Park Zoo
  • North Park University
  • North Shore Country Day School
  • Oakbrook Center
  • Q Center

Cruise Ship Trainings and Inspections/Repairs

  • Miami to St. Maarten

  • Ft. Lauderdale

  • Miami

  • New Orleans


  • ETC

  • Mountain and CM Hoist School

Topics: Flyhouse Projects

United Center Motorized Grids

Posted by Flyhouse on Feb 2, 2018 10:42:39 AM

Walking into the recently opened United Center atrium reminds you of the history that has happened within the walls of the famous arena. A bronze statue of Bull’s legend Michael Jordan resides as the central focus point while Blackhawk memorabilia fills the background.

The atrium is a congregation area for game and concert attendees and also serves as a private event space. These private events may require specific lighting or sound equipment along with elaborate decorations and more. To make these events efficient and uniquely functional, the United Center requested four motorized grid systems, each with an 8,000 -12,000 lb. capacity to allow for hassle-free changeovers. With a recommendation by our friends at Upstaging, Flyhouse was ready with a solution.

United Center Flyhouse Grid

The lifting mechanism normally used for this type of project would be a simple chain hoist. This would lift the grid structure until it reached a peak point – lifting until it hits the top. Simultaneously running four motors can create an unbalanced load when each lifting point moves at a different speed. This scenario causes a risk of the grid failing.

To avoid this issue, Flyhouse designed, built, and installed high-capacity motorized hoists that exceed all the requirements of overhead suspension. What sets this design apart is how it ensures a balanced load during its travel distance of approximately 50 feet. The Flyhouse system lifts all points at the exact same rate, up to 32 fpm, and is easily controlled using a handheld touchscreen pendant; a complex system made simple to use. The motors are built into the truss which has been custom painted white to match the aesthetic of the room.

United Center Flyhouse Grid

United Center Flyhouse Grid

The motorized grids are a permanent installation for the United Center providing them the benefit of a system that can be operated regularly by staff trained by Flyhouse. The United Center can run the grids in and fly them back out using the custom control system operated by one person.

Whether it’s a game, concert, or a special event, the next time you walk through the atrium, scan the ceiling and tell us what you think.

Topics: Flyhouse Projects

[VIDEO] Loading the Flatbed

Posted by Flyhouse on Aug 2, 2017 3:04:43 PM

Loading Steel I-Beams on to a flatbed truck is not an easy task. Luckily our shop bridge crane does the heavy lifting. Here's a quick snippet for one of the dozen beams to loaded.

Topics: 30 Seconds in the Shop, Video, Flyhouse Projects

Flyhouse Projects Featured in ETCP Newsletter

Posted by Flyhouse on Jun 6, 2017 9:42:30 AM

Flyhouse was recently featured in the Entertainment Technician Certification Program (ETCP) Industry News section of the spring 2017 newsletter. Our projects at Chesapeake Energy Arena and Shirley Ryan Ability Lab received mention.

 ETCP Logo

Topics: News, Arenas, Acoustical Baffles, Performer Flying, Project Recaps, Flyhouse Projects