mechanical flying swan

Case study: Cinderella Flying Mechanical Swan

Magnificent Swan fly’s Cinderella to the ball for Mercury theatre Colchester 2019-2020

Cinderella mechanical flying swan


Mercury Theatre Colchester


To design, create and manufacture a flying swan with moving wings, neck, mouth and eye lids on a manually controlled 5 meter boom.

Skills and Materials:

Weighing less than 80 kilos at completion, the swan consisted of a fibreglass and polystyrene sculpted head and body. To achieve the detail on the swans head a clay head was sculpted and a rubber two part silicone mould.

Creative fabrications was commissioned to make a mechanical swan with moving body parts, flying rig and boom. To achieve this a team of 5 worked over 3 months to create what became known as the magnificent ‘Ron the Swan’.

The main body was carved in polystyrene covered in a less toxic resin and then upholstered in faux white fur. An LED light up base to the swan was installed creating a twinkling magical lighting effect.

The mechanics of the wings, neck, mouth and eyelashes are controlled by cable craft motion controls normally used in aeronautic design.
The project was designed, manufactured and project managed by Clare Grotefeld of Creative fabrications.

The Swan was the magical moment in the pantomime when Cinderella is whisked off to attend the ball.

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