Thanks to Bill DeMar for sharing his performance case design at the Vent Haven ConVENTion.

After getting a close-up look at Bill's case in the Dealer Room and using the notes he sent out in an e-mail, I constructed a similar case.
I've used it twice this past week.  It works great!

Front View

Back View I

Back View II

Edgar's New Home Away From Home

I plan to add hooks for soft puppets and a shelf at the top to store
magic tricks and props under the top lid.
 

I will probably abandon the setup I have used for years (shown below).
Bill's case keeps the characters hidden before and after the show, and you can just wheel it away when you're finished.  I plan to construct another one for shows in which I use several figures.

All materials, including a rivet gun I needed to purchase, came to a little under $100.
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Behind the scenes.  The making of the "set".

I can't remember where this idea came from.
My guess is it wasn't mine, but it has served me well for over 15 years
I started with an 8' X 4' sheet of 1/2 inch plywood  (smooth on both sides).
I measured the height of the stand I used with my tallest figure. (40 1/2")
I cut the width of the sheet to that measurement.

Then I cut the 8' length into four 2' sections.  I attached the sections with hinges.  The middle two sections were joined with hinges on the front.
The outside sections were attached with hinges on the back of the set.

Note that folding the two front panels toward each other protects the part of the set that faces the audience and keeps it from getting scratched during transit.

On the bottom of the top board I used quarter round pieces on the front side and back to make a slot that fits down onto the plywood and holds everything in place.

Then I stapled down a strip of carpet to make a soft seat for my more sensitive figures.  (It also keeps them from sliding around.  Before I did this they all complained about splinters.)

  I have a flat "booster" bench about 4 or five inches high that I use for my smaller characters.

By attaching shelving strips to the back of the side panels and using the accompanying removable brackets, I have a shelf to hold my "friends", assorted props, magic tricks, etc.
(Aunt Gabby complains that she needs a shelf of her own.)

Sometimes I use two figures on top and stand behind the "stage".  But more often, I use another more portable stand to the left of me.

The entire assembly folds into a relatively small 41" X  24" X 2" space that has easily fit into a Ford Escort Hatchback, a Chevette Hatchback, a Ford Tempo trunk, and a Buick Century trunk.

It cost less than $30 at the time for materials.

It does, however, weigh the same as a sheet of 1/2 inch 4' X 8' plywood (46 lb.) for some reason.  I can handle it without help, but I'm not getting any younger.  It's best that two people carry it.

I haven't run into a problem finding room for this at a show.  I've even used it in homes (when I have a moment of weakness and book an in home birthday party).  It does cause a problem if I follow another act that uses the same performance area.  That hasn't occurred very often and I always ask what will come before me and what comes after me.  It doesn't take too much time to set it up and I can keep the figures behind it in suitcases if time is a factor.

Hope this helps anyone looking for a show "set". :-)

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