VDPAC’s new stage floor – A first of its kind in Canada
With the financial support of the Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO), the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre (VDPAC) has a new state-of-the-art stage floor, the first of its kind to be installed in Canada.
The Harlequin RockSure™ stage flooring is durable and ideal for heavy-duty use. “We are a busy theatre with many quick turnarounds,” says Executive Director, Jim Harding. “Our stage must accommodate everything from dance to theatre, comedy to concerts, to the acrobatic Cirque shows, so being a vented floor, durable and with minimal maintenance is critical to meeting our quick-changeover scheduling demands. We’re thrilled with the RockSure™ stage floor.”
Developed by Harlequin Floors, the global leader in performance space flooring, the new polymer composite RockSure™ product has been added to its lineup of vinyl marley (dance) floors, sprung floors and existing stage floor systems already in use in North America, Europe, South Asia, and Australia, with the RockSure™ product only recently introduced in the US in June 2022.
VDPAC proposed to RDNO the new RockSure™ flooring for its permanency, load-bearing capacity and resistance to water, tape, fire, expansion or shrinkage; does not require painting; and its overall low maintenance. Harlequin’s own team transformed VDPAC’s main stage earlier this month, installing the RockSure™ surface over the previously replaced subfloor, making the flooring system a hybrid design specifically for the needs of the VDPAC.
Replacement of VDPAC’s stage floor surface became increasingly evident as the hardboard layer, installed in February 2023 as part of the full stage reconstruction became progressively damaged by normal performance use over the Spring.
Total costs of flooding-related RDNO and VDPAC insurance claims, including equipment replacement, reimbursements, stage reconstruction and materials is still being finalized a year later. RDNO allocated $150,000 for the new Harlequin RockSure™ flooring, including the costs of the damaged hardboard tearout, and installation of new perimeter air boards for venting. The stage will be more cost-effective over the long term for VDPAC operating costs. “I expect the new floor will reduce annual stage paint costs by $5,000-6,000 alone, with additional crew and stage maintenance savings,” says Harding.
A Theatre’s Next-to-Worst Nightmare
Next to fire, the worst nightmare a theatre can face is flooding. That is precisely what happened in December of 2022. Below seasonal temperatures went to -37c triggering VDPAC’s deluge fire suppression system. The resulting flooding damaged the theatre’s main stage, sub-stage, and loading bay areas, luxurious main curtain, lighting and audio equipment, and deposited two feet of treated water in the theatre’s orchestra pit. The deluge system flooding required stripping out the original stage and subfloors down to the bare concrete for complete replacement of the stage. In March 2023, performances resumed, however by Summer 2023, the replacement floor’s hardboard surface was deemed unsafe for live performances.
Harlequin Floors confirmed that although several theatres in Canada feature different Harlequin flooring products, the VDPAC is the first theatre in Canada to offer their RockSure™ surface.