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Stage edge safety

Discussion in 'Stage Management and Facility Operations' started by Sayen, Oct 7, 2008.

  1. Sayen

    Sayen Active Member

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    Just curious what other theaters do to keep fools from falling off the edge of the stage when not in performance. My theater lacks a pit, so the stage apron ends in darkness, with a drop off of about three feet. It never bothered me before, since I grew up in theaters and know better than to fall off, but a district official was asking questions, and it does raise a good point. Some of those who use my theater are ... less than brilliant, and if a safety concern can be addressed, then it should be addressed.

    Any good tips? I do use a ghost light.
  2. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    We have footlights that are above the edge of the stage, so people usually see them and think, "The end of the stage!" The actors are usually good not to go to near the edge of the stage because when the stand within 8 inches of the edge of the stage their faces don't get lit, due to the location of the catwalk. For non-theatrical events, usually there are at least some house lights on that define the edge of the stage.
  3. derekleffew

    derekleffew Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    I found this in Australian [user]Raktor[/user]'s Risk Assessment:
    "When not within the half hour call, barricades exist surrounding the open orchestra pit. These are removed by the Stage crew when advised by stage manager."

    I've worked in theatres where posts and chains were required (except during performances) when the orchestra lift was below audience level. Excellent practice, and one that should be more popular.
  4. Sayen

    Sayen Active Member

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    That was what made me remember the meeting with the district official last year. Posts and chains works in theory, but installation is far from simple.

    I'm not worried about the edge during performances. As an aesthetic choice I almost never block to the edge of the stage anyhow. Poor lighting, and I think the audience likes a buffer for the fourth wall.

    I think Derek is right, that this ought to be a common practice of sorts. To be effective, it also needs to be simple and low impact on the theater, or it will get ignored for time/convenience by most folks. Yes, I know, safety should never be an inconvenience, but that's unfortunately reality in a theater.
  5. ruinexplorer

    ruinexplorer Minion CB Mods Premium Member

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    What about putting up safety markers at the pro? One theater I worked at would use simple rope/flag barrier during load ins to warn of when the pit was down. This in addition to your ghost light should provide ample warning that you shouldn't wander into what could be unsafe. Plus it is easy for one person to move whereas barricades (even chain and post) can be burdensome.
  6. bdkdesigns

    bdkdesigns Member

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    Our pit is basically removable traps. When the pit is closed up, we just have two ghost lights that go out. When the pit is open, we have a bright yellow rope that we stretch across the proscenium line with a large sawhorse with a sign on it. Both ghost lights are placed next to the sign along with a third ghost light that is placed inside of the open pit. Additionally, we have a side slot entrance on each side of the stage that gets a chain with a sign on it. We have stairs on both sides of our stage going to the audience. If the stair plugs are not in, we also place a sawhorse directly in front of them that also have a sign on them. All signs say something along the lines of "Caution: Open Pit".
  7. Pip

    Pip Member

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    In our theatres we have a ghost light as well as a rope for when the pit is down.
  8. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team

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    Hughesie's school has some sort of safety fence that spreads out across the front of the stage. I've seen it in his pictures long ago.

    Hey Huggie can you post a link here. I'm too lazy to go searching for it right now.
  9. jdandreas09

    jdandreas09 New Member

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    i use glow tape. you just have to get rosco brand because it will glow much longer and brighter and then cover it with a clear tape over it and it will last for years
  10. Pip

    Pip Member

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    $$$$$$$$$

    (And most places I've worked use glowtape more for stuff you'll bump into, as opposed to fall into)
  11. Raktor

    Raktor Member

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    [​IMG]

    There's one of mine, anyway. The actors are small enough to not be identifiable. :p
  12. Pip

    Pip Member

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    Well now it looks like you're talking about stuff thats there even during shows...
  13. Raktor

    Raktor Member

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    Ah yeah, that could be misinterpreted. That was from the tech run or first dress rehearsal. They usually have them up for the first night of rehearsals to make sure there's no accidents...
  14. Pip

    Pip Member

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    Ahhhh very nice. Sounds like a good idea. :grin:
  15. hsaunier

    hsaunier Active Member

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    We have inbedded around the stage edge and the pit edge wheatgrain rope light. When the cover is down the DS edge goes out and the US edge of the pit cover lights.
  16. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team

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    The newly remodeled proscenium house down the hill has a set of LED's embedded in the floor that runs across the stage about 6" upstage of the pit. And at center stage there's one red LED as well which is great for dancers.

    As for glowtape. You've hit a pet peeve of mine. Glowtape is usually only effective for about 5 minutes after a large amount of light goes away. Some people think it magically glows on it's own for hours and that just isn't true. I had a student stage manager telling her ASM to go around the set with a flash light AN HOUR BEFORE CURTAIN and charge up all the glow tape:rolleyes:. You can charge it up significantly more than usual by using either a fluorescent or UV light instead of an incandescent. But glow tape has to have an occasional source of light or it doesn't do any good. Because of this most places use large quantities of white tape to mark edges. While it's not as effective as glow tape, if the stage was just bright and then blacked out. Areas that are dark and never get good light simply don't ever get the recharge they need to cause glow tape to glow. White tape on the other hand will be visible if there is any light around, most theaters seem to have enough stray light here and there to make white tape a better option.
  17. thorin81

    thorin81 Member

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    I am in a HS theatre, so the things that happen there are no where near what happen in a professional theatre. For example: the district in my school has painted a 4" wide white line across the proscenium edge to help with visibility. Needless to say I will be painting over the "magic line" (my theatre kids call it) during our next production.
    I have always been a fan of just always requiring that there be some light source on stage at all times to aide with visibility. Build a ghost light (light on a pole that sits out in the middle of the stage) and make sure that it is left on stage turned on when everyone leaves so that when any new person enters the space they can at least find their way to a real work light panel or to the house lights. If everyone knows that it is supposed to be there they will expect it appriciate it.
  18. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Glowtape, white or yellow spike tape, and some form of ghost light.
  19. tenor_singer

    tenor_singer Member

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    We had our school's insurance inspection and I am floored at a request that the inspector made.

    We have a small curved thrust that sticks out about 10 feet that is 32" high and the inspector was worried that a performer could fall off the stage and hurt themselves. He wanted us to put a 3' railing around the front to keep this from happening.

    Luckily our head maintenance man told them to go pound rocks.
  20. derekleffew

    derekleffew Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    As a fool (thank you, [user]Sayen[/user]) who is recovering from knee surgery and will most likely be on Worker's Compensation for a total of six months, I can't say I disagree with your inspector.:( Removable (during performances only) barricades, pipes and chains, or ropes and flags can save thousands of dollars in pain, suffering, and injuries.

    [​IMG]
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2008

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