What is a Stage Riser?

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What is a Stage Riser?

January 17, 2019

small portable stage

There’s a question that’s sometimes asked in the vast world of performance equipment. Everyone knows what portable stages and choir risers are because they’re pretty self-explanatory. Portable stages are flat platforms and choir risers are tiered platforms for a choral application. So, what exactly is a stage riser? Is it somehow a combination of the two or is it something completely different?

The answer to this question is that stage riser is essentially just another name for a low height portable stage. They’re usually used interchangeably. Stage risers elevate your performance so that it’s easier for the audience to see and hear.

Both the IBC and Life Safety Code (NFPA 101) refer to a stage as a space within a building used for entertainment. According to ASTC, the stage is a room, and not just the floor. They also say that stages often have elements installed on them like scenery or risers. These governing bodies are usually referring to a built-in stage. Most lay people often use the term portable stage interchangeably with stage riser, especially when looking at a lower height platform.

How are they used?

Stage risers are portable so it’s very common that they have the ability to roll into position and lock into place. While stage risers can actually be used on a permanent stage, many venues will use these in portable spaces such as a flexible theatre or if a school is setting up for an event in a gymnasium. Many individual stage risers can also be connected together to create a larger platform. This feature not only allows you flexibility of stage size but also can allow multiple configurations to support the wide range of events.

Benefits of using stage risers

In addition to the ability to be portable, elevate your performance, and create multiple layouts, there are other features and benefits to using stage risers in your facility. Now, all manufacturers may not offer all of these, so do your research and choose carefully based on your needs when making your purchase decision.

Sturdy platform

First and foremost, stage risers should give you a safe and sturdy platform for your events. Any riser from a reputable manufacturer will provide optimal safety for those using them that you may not get from a home-made system. A professionally built stage will take into consideration codes and loading to ensure that the they can be used safely and deliver the sturdiness that is desired.

Surface options

Some stage risers are able to have a variety of options for the performance surface from carpet to different black finishes. Other only have one standard surface available. This is another reason why it’s important to do your research before buying.

Adjustable heights

Being able to adjust the height of your stage risers adds a lot of flexibility to your performances. Every unit is different, but this is usually done by adjusting or changing out the support legs.

folding stage riser

Most venues have limited storage space so having equipment that’s able to store efficiently is vital. Most stage risers are able to fold up, like in the image above, or are demountable which helps a lot when putting them away after the event.


When determining whether or not stage risers are right for your productions, you need to consider your performance needs and the benefits that having stage risers will provide. As we’ve mentioned earlier, there can be many different types of stage risers and some work better for certain things than others and you need to make sure you get the one that’s right for you. This is why it’s important to consult with an expert before making your purchase decision.

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