Health and safety is always personal for me, but never more so than when I’m watching my own children perform.
I’m writing from lovely Winston-Salem, North Carolina where our 13-year-old son is performing at the International Juggling Association Festival and our 18-year-old our daughter is dancing in a show as part of her American Ballet Theatre summer intensive.
Thinking of my own family reminds me of how our larger live performance family was shaken by the Radiohead stage roof collapse in Downsview, Ontario this past June. Like many of you, I was profoundly grateful to hear none of my colleagues was involved – but heartbroken to know someone had died.
How can we respond to this tragedy as a community?
As outdoor events become bigger and more complex, safety practices must keep pace so artists can push creative boundaries without putting people at risk. (more…)
Even if you are not from Alberta, you will find lots of great ideas and info in Safe Stages. OK, I worked on it so I am very partial to this one, but local theatre professionals initiated and drove this project and they have put their stamp on it. The whole theatre safety resource is available for download – here is the link so you can check it out: http://www.theatrealberta.com/safe_stages.htm
date, four performers in Spider-Man – Turn Off the Dark have been seriously injured during previews, including ensemble member Christopher Tierney who fell into a pit, apparently due to a cable detaching from his harness on December 20.
It is discouraging that, with so much technology and expertise available, people are being badly hurt doing a show. Someone has to speak up and it can’t be the actors. This is a Broadway show that could make their careers and they may not even be aware of how much danger they are in until they get hurt.
So, what does this mean for your company? While I cannot speculate on the specific issues relating to Spider-Man, I have four suggestions on how you can ensure your next production with performer flying or aerial stunts is a safe one.
Every jurisdiction has health and safety enforcement and, in Ontario; the Ministry of Labour Inspector is one of the people who plays this role. For other provinces and territories, you may be dealing with an officer, but the experience will be similar.
When you get a call saying that the Inspector is at reception, how do you react? Annoyance, resignation or downright panic? There is another option – you can take a deep breath and look at this visit as an opportunity to improve your health and safety program. Here are some tips on how to benefit, rather than just endure, a visit from an Inspector.
With the approach of Canada Day, the stores are filling up with flags as well as red and white merchandise of all kinds, and I am reminded of those incredible weeks of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.
As the Health & Safety Manager for David Atkins Enterprises Productions (the company that produced the Opening, Closing and Victory Ceremonies), I got to play a part in that great adventure and I have never felt more Canadian.
Everyone wants to know – What happened to the Olympic cauldron in the Opening Ceremony?
On the big night, one of the traps failed to open and one of the four cauldron arms could not be raised. The traps had worked fine in rehearsal and even earlier in the performance when they opened for the raising of the totems.
Despite many months of thorough planning, design, engineering, risk assessment, installation, testing, approval and rehearsal, in a live performance, these things happen. The specific component that failed doesn’t matter, but what was important was the response. (more…)