Jonah Boat

This two-level boat set piece was designed for Sight & Sound’s production of “Jonah”.

Sight & Sound Jonah Boat

Recipient of the Outstanding Project Award by the Delaware Valley Association of Structural Engineers (DVASE) for this project, Providence worked with Sight and Sound’s in-house scenic architects to design the light-weight, two-level boat set piece. With a 43’ long x 18’ wide x 28’ tall foam-clad aluminum structure, the boat was deliberately designed and constructed in 8’ long segments to allow it to be separated into parts for maneuvering throughout the facility, and to eventually be transported from the Strasburg, PA facility to the Branson, MO facility. Each of the 9 segments included two hinged lower-level doors, and the entire aluminum structure was supported on a 19’-long mobile steel frame. The bow and tongue segments in the front of the boat, and the two stern segments in the rear of the boat, were each cantilevered from hull segments supported by a steel base. Not only was the boat designed to carry up to seventeen actors positioned in various configurations, it was also designed to rock back and forth during a storm scene, five degrees from vertical in each direction, by way of four hydraulic actuators.

Major design challenges and complexities included: designing the lower and upper floors of the boat with a 5” thick aluminum frame; translating Sight and Sound’s SolidWorks models of each boat segment into a 3-D structural design software in order to select structural members and design connections; designing the cantilevered segments under stringent deflection limits; and designing two 12’ x 9’ hinged doors to open and close hydraulically with extreme precision. Tracking structural loads through each segment for the various loading configurations, and estimating lateral forces from the rocking action of the boat also proved challenging in the design of the 31,000 lb. structure.

Strasburg, PA



Team Members Involved