In previous posts, we’ve focused quite heavily on the benefits shiny new stage equipment can bring to your school, theatre or conference venue. But what happens a few years down the line, when the fresh smell of new stage drapes is but a faded memory?

The good news is that stage equipment is built to last; a stage lighting rig can last you decades while a sound system will serve you well up until the time you decide it’s time to upgrade to the latest technology. The bad news? You need to regularly maintain your stage equipment in order to keep running for this long.

Maintenance is one of those words that isn’t always taken as seriously as it should be; maintenance is often seen as optional rather than compulsory or something that can be put off until later. Regular maintenance checks are sometimes skipped with the misguided presumption that as nothing appears wrong, nothing is wrong.

However, if you aren’t carrying out regular maintenance on your equipment, the chances are you’re suffering diminished performance and your venue is suffering as a result. Often, ‘broken’ equipment or equipment that perhaps isn’t performing as well as it used to can be remedied relatively quickly and simply and prevented altogether by simply checking over (or having someone else look over) your equipment every once in awhile.

Badly maintained equipment can affect the reputation of your venue, putting off potential clients and visitors alike. A certain light not working or a pair of particularly shabby stage curtains may not seem like that much of an issue, but to an outsider they could be shorthand for a poor venue that’s best avoided. Keeping your equipment up-to-scratch and at it’s best is almost as important to your venue’s reputation as having the equipment in the first place.

Money is often stated as a reason for avoiding maintenance but this is somewhat a contradiction as regular maintenance can actually save you money in the long run. Catching and fixing small problems as and when they happen will prevent problems mounting up and rendering your equipment completely non-functional.

You might also find that problems you thought were down to the age of your equipment can actually be fixed quite easily, saving you from unnecessarily wasting money on a replacement. For example, if you’re finding that one of your lights is quite dull then it may be the case the light is dirty – if you don’t clean your lights relatively frequently, dust and grime can build up on the lamp and thus affect the performance of your lighting.

Safety is also a key concern when it comes to maintenance. If you live in the UK, your equipment has to pass the Portable Appliance Test to ensure it’s not hazardous. This test is mandatory and avoiding it is illegal, so make sure that your PAT certificate is up-to-date!

So how do you go about maintaining your equipment? If you have an in-house technician, get them to look over the equipment once a month to check for any abnormalities or potential problems. If you’re unsure what to look for, however, then don’t start disassembling equipment and poking around – you might end up causing even more damage! Instead, call in technical experts such as PG Stage to have a proper look at your equipment.

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