Frigate as Stage Setting for Theme Park in Les Espesses, France

Customer Project

Structural Engineering Engineering Office MAyA
Bordeaux, France
Celorio, Spain
Theme Park Puy du Fou
Les Espesses, France

The historical theme park Puy du Fou opened the season 2016 with its new big spectacle “Le Dernier Panache” telling the glorious fate of a French naval officer, a hero of the American Revolutionary War. Among the many stage settings of the spectacle is that of the frigate, a warship known for its speed at the end of the 18th century.


Even though it is a stage setting, the three‑storey structure of the frigate is 10 m high. From the spectator's side, it was not possible to install beams for stabilization. Thus, the structure is stabilised by two curved side walls, a back wall and ceilings.

Setting up the stage design, enclosed between the walls of the already existing building, was only possible by means of a customised gantry crane. The entire frame, as well as the entire structure, was transported through a gate of 2 x 2.30 m and lifted by 4 people.

Calculation Model 

RFEM allowed for the calculation of a 3D model consisting of curved beams and panels.

Due to the movements of the actors, as well as the cannon shots, the dynamic loads were considered by a modal analysis comparable to that of design in the area with high seismic activity.

The result combinations at the member ends were needed for the design of the iron bolted connections. With the results from the shear of the panels, it was possible to design the fixing by screwing of the curved walls and ceilings.

The gantry crane was also designed as a 3D steel model with cyclic loading.

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