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When the operetta ‘The White Horse Inn’ is staged on the waters of Ammersee lake, the 350-strong audience will be seated on a new Layher grandstand with tip-up seats. Stefan und Johannes Dankel, brothers and managing directors of event technology service provider Opera GmbH & Co. KG, have extended their portfolio of exclusive event marquees and event technology to include grandstands and they collaborated with Layher to overcome the special challenges associated with this exposed lakeside location.

Wet feet and excellent acoustics 
The Utting Lake Theatre Company actors and actresses traditionally perform without the assistance of technology, which isn’t without implications for an open-air event like this one - located right next to the water in a picturesque lakeside environment – particularly when it comes to grandstand construction. “We’ve used an amphitheatre-like grandstand layout for effective acoustics because it concentrates the sound onto the seating area so that the entire audience can hear the performance. The grandstand is founded in the water to give the audience the sensation of actually sitting on the lake – and making ‘The White Horse Inn (at Ammersee Lake)’ an even more captivating experience,” explained Stefan Dankel. The Layher event specialists made this extraordinary grandstand possible with a combination of standard and special components. Layher Allround Scaffolding was used to create the substructure for its excellent load-bearing capacity and because it can be quickly and flexibly assembled and dismantled. To put the underwater supports properly in place the six-man team in Utting had to get their feet wet. It was the perfect opportunity for them to cool off in the refreshing waters of Ammersee Lake. 

Corrosion-resistant, galvanised steel elements were used to secure the foundation of the grandstand on the lake bed. “This is the first grandstand we’ve built with Layher scaffolding and we’re very glad to have the Layher technicians and field service team here to advise and support us. Even the parts that were planned and custom-made for this event fitted perfectly straight away,” added Johannes Dankel.

Technical support from Eibensbach
During the project planning stage, what initially appeared to be a straightforward undertaking actually turned out to be pretty complex, with diverse safety requirements to be met and a number of special requests from the theatre company. For example, despite the different gradients it was necessary to implement the escape and rescue routes that were free of tripping hazards before the local authorities would issue the necessary permit. Having the part of the grandstand in the water made it more difficult to create a safe foundation for the front section. The technical team at the Layher head office in Eibensbach collaborated with the field service team and the

TÜV technical inspectors to plan this debut project for a company that traditionally specialises in premium marquees, and Layher also sent out two specialists to assist with the build. “We’ve been using Layher products for the floors and stages in our marquees for a while now because we can easily solve many statics-related problems with them. That’s why we decided to contact Layher for a solution when the event organiser requested us to provide the grandstand. It wasn’t a problem to combine the new materials with the ones we already had, and we have a very good and close relationship with the Layher field service team, so the decision wasn’t really hard,” said Dankel. The Layher grandstand allows Opera GmbH & Co. KG to extend its portfolio and cater to an even broader spectrum of customer requirements. The industrious entrepreneurs are already working on new ideas for the future, such as combining their marquees with Layher material, so that they can offer customers an even wider range of solutions.

A success story that started off with one marquee
The secret to the success of Opera GmbH & Co. KG, a company that the two brothers originally started up out of their garage, is probably the unique concert shell marquee system that they use to realise high quality customer projects. Coming from an event background, the two brothers had always been aware of the Layher brand and its reputation for reliable and flexible German-engineered solutions. “We first used the Layher system for our marquee floors and stages. Now we can combine it with Layher scaffolding to realise projects that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to implement for customers,” explained Stefan Dankel. “Another reason why we chose Layher, in addition to its proven and well thought-out system, was that we wanted a German supplier. Things don’t always go to plan at events, and on many occasions we’ve had to request Layher for additional material on the day of the build. You can only do that if your partner’s local,” said Johannes Dankel. “We believe that to be an entrepreneur you have to be genuinely enterprising and keep on searching for new solutions that help you build your business. With Layher as our partner we now have many more opportunities to be enterprising,” said Stefan Dankel, who handles the technical planning side of the business.





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