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PVC Bendit Pipe Bending System: Theater Groups and Drama Departments are Early Adopters for Sets, Props and Costumes

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We've been facing a big surprise here at the shop. It turns out that theater groups and drama departments are bending a lot of PVC pipe, and they happen to be our #1 clients. Making props, sets and costumes using bent PVC is nothing new, but the methods that they were using can't hold a candle to this. Set design involves some interesting considerations. You not only need something that looks appealing and realistic, you need something that you can break down, move, and set back up at the drop of a curtain. The materials need to lightweight, easily assembled, and strong enough that you don't have to worry about the safety of your cast, crew and audience. People have been using PVC pipe in set design and construction for quite some time now, but the ability to bend and shape the pipe has always been either limited or costly. Bending PVC pipe allows for much more elaborate and convincing sets, and the intuitively designed fitting system is perfect for the rigors of set changing.

"Thank you for introducing me to PVC Bendit - the examples of the work in your site are terrific, particularly the complex spiral and free-form multi-planar shapes. Beautiful. I feel this kind of need comes up fairly regularly in my stage design work and I'm glad to have source to turn to next time 'round. (So to speak.)," Says Thomas Lynch, president of Cove Creek Design, "There might well be an entire early twentieth century European restaurant kitchen in my next Opera commission - your techniques would be a marvelous way to reach easily a wonderful looking complicated level of realism."

Needless to say, he's happy. His troupe will now be able to do things that were unthinkable in the past.

Costume design is even more touchy than the sets. There is a little wiggle room when you're designing your stage environment. The fact is, people understand that there are limits to what a group can achieve when they've got to change the whole environment out in the middle of the show. Costumes are a little different. They are what draws your audience into the show. If you've got a beast of sorts that plays a major role, a little stage makeup just won't do for today's audiences. You can offset shoddy costume design with top-notch performances, but people will still walk away with a feeling of low production value. There are many things to consider, and PVC pipe, with its light weight and reasonably high strength, really can take your designs to the next level. This is an example of a great costume. The time and care that went into the fabrication is paid back in spades by the reactions that it gets. While this particular example is extreme, it shows the value of a little time and effort.

Needless to say, many, if not most of your costumes will not have the bent PVC showing. It is more likely to exist as a framework that you build off of to make your actors' bodily proportions disappear into the character. Bending PVC is the way to go for this if you're trying to make convincing forms, and it's also the way to go if you're trying to make the costume comfortable for the actor.

Prop design is equally vital to the theater experience as costumes. If you've got a great looking stage, great looking costumes and great looking props mixed with great performances, you're probably going to do a great show, even if you've got a crappy script. Once again, PVC bending comes to the rescue. If you're trying to make a giant gnarled battle axe, PVC pipe, closed cell foam, cardboard, tape and imagination will bring you to where you want to be. But to get the gnarled effect, you're going to have to bend the pipe. Why settle for anything less than the best? PVC Bendit is the tool you're looking for.

Our best clients so far have been theater groups and drama departments on the high school and university levels.

Leave it to the artists to know a good thing when they see it. And to think that we thought electricians would be the early adopters.


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