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Basics of Backstage etiquette

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by Ken Summerall Jr, Mar 4, 2019.

  1. dolphinmother

    dolphinmother Member

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    http://www.apacape.org/wp/2012/02/15/theater-etiquette/ is one of the many sources I found when I googled "backstage theater etiquette". Sorry, I edited my response to say "backstage theater etiquette" and the "backstage" didn't get added. Actually, the first source up is from the Rockettes [ https://www.rockettes.com/blog/etiquette-101-20-backstage-rules-you-should-follow/ ] and it's pretty good, too!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 6, 2019
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  2. Jay Ashworth

    Jay Ashworth Well-Known Member

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    We have a pic of Rollins with that copy hanging in our booth.
     
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  3. teqniqal

    teqniqal Well-Known Member

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    FWIW: This thread is also being discussed on the EdTA community forum. My post there was this:

    Teach your students about how to go through a door stealthily. Learn to be a 'stage ninja'. Almost every door that exits a stage is a Fire Door. It has special requirements about closing and latching. Even if your particular performance space does not have Fire Doors, teach the students as if they are Fire Doors so they learn the skill and understand the purpose of the Fire Doors. Performers and crew need to learn to press the crash-bar slowly and gently, and wait for the latch to disengage before pushing on the door. Similarly, release the crash-bar slowly so as to minimize the clatter of the door hardware resetting, then help the door close gently, not with a crash.

    Many times I see people try to reduce the clatter of doors by taping over the door latch, propping the door open, or disasembling the automatic door closer. ALL OF THESE ACTIONS ARE GROSS VIOLATIONS OF THE FIRE CODE. Do not do these things. The only two ways to legally hold a Fire Door open is to have a person hold it, or to use an electromagnetic door holder that is automatically released by the Fire Alarm system. 'Temporary' door props are also illegal. Many fire doors have been illegally modified to have a kick-down (fold-down) holder to keep the door open. These should be removed immediately. They are an illegal modification to the door.

    Side Note: Fire Doors must be inspected and tested annually, just like Fire Curtains, Smoke Vents, and other fire protection devices. Ask your maintenance supervisor for the inspection records for your theatre building systems. If they can't produce them, find-out why!
     
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  4. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    Taped stage doors are nearly an epidemic in this country. Proper design eliminates this by including a sound and light lock at all entrances to an auditorium and stage. Stage side simple push pull and no latch. Fire rating is the second door. Solves the problem forever and blocks noise and light. It's one of those features that you get with a theatre consultant, and not from a vendor providing design advice.
     
  5. macsound

    macsound Well-Known Member

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    Funny, I've worked in theatres where this was totally thought of, but only on SR and only for one set of doors.
    The doors leading to the greenroom were exactly as you stated- simple push pull with no latch into a vestibule, then fire door into the greenroom.
    Trouble was the doors on SL + SR that led to the staiwells had crashbars.
     
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  6. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    ...and taped stage doors are what happens when the school district is cheap and goes with the lowest bidder. :( It's so frustrating how they never seem to seek out the advice of the right people to ask what is really important.
     
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  7. Drannabelle

    Drannabelle Member

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    Okay I also thought it was Macbeth.. so..
     
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  8. What Rigger?

    What Rigger? I'm so fly....I Neverland.

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    Bill is right. You have to do it in person. A flyer, pamphlet, email, etc... will immediately fall by the wayside. Nobody will look at or remember any of it.

    But if you get people together on deck and explain "Why you need to be aware in all directions" and then show them how legs fly in and out- that will stick. It's like job training, and you might have to do it every time a new group comes in. I worked for a large children's company (pay to play, 300 bodies onstage for "Lonely Goatherder" in The Sound of Music...get me?) with an all parent volunteer crew. And we took them all through the same training before the start of tech week for every show.
    And it worked almost perfectly. Have patience, be a teacher, and you will see positive results.
     
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  9. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    It's more they don't know. When would anyone in a public school district ever have been exposed to the concept of a sound and light lock, let alone a fire resistive barrier with rated doors and exit access hardware?
     
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  10. TheaterEd

    TheaterEd Renaissance Man Fight Leukemia

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    This is a topic that I go over with my tech class, but only because I can control them a little better than the general public. If your average high school student reads about the Mac-myth, you're going to have twenty-five kids whispering "macbeth" to each other. I'd keep your myths and ghost stories as something to be told via word of mouth, that way it feels like you're letting the kids in on a secret and they will be more respectful of these traditions.

    One thing I don't see mentioned is cellphones. No phones in the wings!!!
     
  11. Ancient Engineer

    Ancient Engineer Well-Known Member

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    I try to get the kids to basket them outside of the entrance to the performance space. That way if they "have" to use their cell phone they have to leave the performance space, dig through the basket, text their whomever, and then reverse all that.

    Most yutes these days are too uh... energy efficient... to want to go through all of that.

    Usually after a few hours (days?) of grumping they realize that they actually are focusing more on the show and start self-policing.

    I overheard a 15 year old inform their mom that they were "... just not going to be reachable during rehearsal.", and if it was an emergency to call the director.

    The mom was grumpy and the kid said "Look, mom, I am taking this seriously. Please let me focus on the show."

    Mom okayed and in all those weeks of rehearsals never called the director...
     
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  12. Jay Ashworth

    Jay Ashworth Well-Known Member

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    I understand your goal, but you're volunteering to buy someone a replacement for a stolen phone at some point, by implementing it that way.
     
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  13. Ancient Engineer

    Ancient Engineer Well-Known Member

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    <knocks on forehead> ...thus far... no thefts have occured. But I see your point clearly. I will look into storing the basket away from the troupies.
     
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