DIY Portable Plywood Stage

By R.L. Cultrona

A great aspect of live theater is that it can be done anywhere. All you need are a few actors, props, costumes and a place to perform. If you are planning on taking your show on the road, you may end up performing places where there is no stage. If this is the case, consider building your own portable stage so you have a place to showcase your actors.

Stage Size

Before you can build, you need to plan a size for your stage. You want to make sure your actors have enough room to move around when they are performing, but a large stage, even when broken down into sections, will be cumbersome to transport and set up. Consider the means you will have to transport it and the manpower you will have available on site. This will go a long way toward determining the size you need. A good average size is a stage that is 12-feet wide by 8-feet deep. Depending on your situation, it may be larger or smaller.

Stage Section

Once you have decided on the size, you will need to determine how many pieces it needs to be for easy travel. Odds are, the stage cannot travel in one piece. That means it will need to be broken down and assembled when it is on site. For the 12-by-8 foot stage, you can create three 4-by-8 panels, eight 3-by-4 panels or 16 2-by-3 panels. Choose depending on the amount of storage you have.

Put It Together

Constructing the panels is rather easy. Cut pieces of ¾-inch plywood in the dimensions you chose to create the stage deck pieces. Frame the deck with 2-by-4 inch boards for support. These pieces should run around the perimeter of every piece and have holes drilled through them in the same spot on each side. These pieces attach together with bolts and nuts so that the stage stays together. The final step is attaching the legs of the stage. You want to make sure there is a good height to the stage, but that the legs can be collapsed for easy storage. A good solution would be to attach four equal pieces of 2-by-4 inch boards on hinges in each corner of the sections. This way, each piece will have its own legs to stand on. The key here is to make sure that all the legs hinge out in a different direction (for stability) and that the legs are not so long that they cannot fold up beneath the pieces of the stage. For this reason, you may not want to use the 2-by-3 foot sections of plywood because you can only get about 12 to 18 inches in height.

About the Author

R.L. Cultrona is a San Diego native and a graduate of San Diego State University. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in theater, television and film with a minor in communications and political science. She began writing online instructional articles in June 2009.