An 11-metre diameter, 43-tonne rotating sphere is the centrepiece for Take That’s latest world tour, Greatest Hits Live – designed, manufactured and constructed by Brilliant Stages.

We have worked alongside entertainment designers Stufish with whom we have successfully collaborated with previously on a number of high-profile tours - The Rolling Stones, U2, Muse and Beyoncé & JAY-Z – so we knew what to expect in terms of ambition, size and complexity.

From initial concept meetings, it took us 20 weeks to deliver the stage set to rehearsals. In that time period, we allowed 10 weeks for fabrication and construction, including integration, full mechanical installation and testing.

The Sphere

Height: 13m on its base

Weight: 43000kg

Diameter: 11m

Automation: 360° rotation

Sections: 14 Core-structures (including 5 x sections weighing @ 6500kg)

Lower T Lift: 4 x Serapid LL80 units capacity 10000kg

Upper T Video Wall: 2 Serapid RB60 Chain units capacity 1300kg

The 3D sphere was the focal point of the show, the big ‘wow’ factor that you have come to expect from a Take That tour. Coming in at over 40 tonnes, with a cut out section and covered in 2800 digital panels – you can see why.

Complete with revolving doors, high-spec lifts and revolving staircases, the sphere's cut-out segment displays Take That's logo – a vertically mirrored double "T" emblem.

The centre of the sphere contains a giant multi-purpose stage lift and an automated video wall – both of these features are highly engineered to allow them to move 45 degrees, 90 degrees and every angle in-between, whilst also serving as a performance area and lift for some of the songs.

Not only is this a phenomenal stand-alone structure, it also has the ability to rotate 360 degrees using a 1500mm slew ring, a giant electric cog, and the same technology used to operate and turn cranes.

Martin Radmall, Senior Project Manager at Brilliant Stages commented:

TT19 Odyssey-Greatest Hits as it is known - is certainly a very complex project, and has pushed structural and mechanical engineering to its limits for a touring set. The ability to build this 43-tonne structure within 8 hours and watch it rotate and the lifts move as required is a testament to the high standards of design and engineering that is part of the Brilliant Stages service.

The many hundreds of hours spent by fabricators, mechanical engineers and set carpenters here at Brilliant Stages have been rewarded with a truly magnificent structure. To then see the final result in the sold-out arenas and stadiums with the stunning video content running is just absolutely stunning. Truly a great project to manage.

Further Staging Elements

To accompany the sphere and complete the set, Brilliant Stages provided other staging elements, including: an 11000kg performance scissor lift that rises 4m from stage level – containing three 5m travellators – for the artists to make their grand entrance, two prop lifts, a beam and frame main stage, an upstage tech bunker and offstage band risers complete with outdoor rain covers.

Tourability & Transportation

A challenge faced by our design team was finding a way in which the sphere could be dismantled and transported around the world without getting damaged.

It was also of paramount importance that the breakdown of the stage fit in with the touring schedule, fit into a certain amount of trucks and was demountable in a way that could be handled by the crew.

To ensure ease of build, breakdown and transportation, we took a number of measures to ensure that it was a smooth operation from start to finish.

We broke the sphere down into 14 sections, all designed to fit in curtain sided trailers – with the help of a massive 8 tonne forklift. We also had to produce a special low ride curtain sided trailer to fit the ‘neck’ of the sphere. The sphere and staging is packed into 13 curtain side and 3 mega cube trucks.

Furthermore, Brilliant Stages designed and commissioned a bespoke lifting system to allow each section of the sphere to be lifted by a crane (stadiums) or a DST track rigging system (arenas) for the set construction. Each section has its own lifting plan and weights are recorded by the tour riggers to ensure we have safe lifting throughout.

#BuildingSomethingBrilliant

Photo Credit: Sarah Womack