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Deadline June 2013: Safety and the Stage Manager

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Attending school at: University of California, Irvine
Instructor: Don Hill
Training level: Graduate
Project due date: June 2013

Background: My thesis intends to compile resources, such as an analysis of safe and sanitary guidelines in AEA and other entertainment unions, which would be useful to a young professional venturing into non-union stage management jobs. My thesis is intended to act as a guide to this audience. It will discuss the role of the stage manager in relation to safety in a theatrical environment and what tools a non-union stage manager has when attempting to maintain a safe workplace.

My initial question is what topics related to "safe and sanitary" would be most beneficial to a young professional working in non-union theatre?

I am looking for both the 20/20 long-term professional view of what would have been useful "way back when" as well as the fresh perspective from those stage managers just starting out regarding what you want to know more about.

Thank you.

Stage combat certainly comes to mind, including the use of firearms and other weapons. Fire safety, including fire exits and extinguishers. A safe stage surface- which could include topics like raked stages, adequate lighting and railings on raised platforms or other hazards.

A big one that comes to mind is an evacuation plan in case of fire or other emergency, and making that plan known to the actors and crew in advance.

Gotta run but hope this helps.

I would suggest a section on "Backstage Cleanliness".

Lately, I've encountered community stage managers who begin a tech week with no regard for the conditions backstage: loose cables, construction materials laying about, no clip lights backstage for visability and so on. 

I can elaborate more, but wanted to make sure this was in line with your thesis on "safe and sanitary" conditions for a young professional in non-pro theatre.

Look into OSHA rules regarding Manual Handling/ Repetitive Stress Injury, Electric Safety, Working at Height, Noise Levels, etc.

Pyro safety?

Flying inductions and validations?

E-stops and automation processes?

Weather concerns for outdoor shows?  Sun, heat, rain, humidity, condensation.- I think this is a really important section to include for dance especially.  I have had dancers burn their feet (through shoes) on hot marley.  In humid environments, puddles of condensation appear on marley after the sun goes down.

On a non-technical level, bathrooms and dressing rooms.

There are classic examples all over Los Angeles. I would say it's a before/after example except there are still small spaces where audience and performers share a single bathroom that is inaccessible to the cast from house open to house clear, where there is neither space nor privacy to change backstage, and drinking water is what you bring for yourself. And this doesn't include things like trash (and who takes it out), detritus laying about and general filth.


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