Bored and Hot!


Active Member
well, I got asked to do this ask minute orchestra thing and after a 30 minute key search by the custodians from my school (apparently someone was suppose to have the keys to our amp rack and that person didn't have them). The plan was to run the one mic into the house system bypassing the board, so I was at least hopeing to pretend to do some lighting. However when I turned off the work lights all the student musican got angry and when I went to the booth to run the lights, they magically turned back on. unforunatally the show started when I realized that. So now I'm just sitting in the booth hot, and bored, wondering if they wanted something special. Right now the only thing I'm control is the house lights.

Any suggestions in what I should do to kill time?
If its still going.... plot to kill whoever turned the lights back on.

i HATE when people do that at my school. Since my schools theater is a gym, we have the set of gym lights, plus I have 6 Source 4 PAR's bouncing off the ceiling as house lights. It isn't unusual for someone to decide they want more light, and turn the lights on. I have tried to fix this by putting duct tape over the light switches, but people just take that off.

Usually I scare them into not doing it again when I jump down from the booth (really, jump) and turn them back off.

Wait till the end of the show, then yell at whoever messed with the lights.
dont and i mean very seriously dont take zac's advice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! it was probably Mr. T who turned the lights on cause hes a prick, and you dont wanna piss him off.... for now, you can clean the booth and neaten up the telex wires, they were a mess when i was last up there.... you can also move all the wiring for the lighting console back into the holes in the back of the table its supposed to come thru, you can also try to get us some CAD software of sound cue software......

you asked for stuff to do......

ps for anyone else, i go to Sombra2's school :-D
Thank them for the practice into what it's sometimes like in the real world and for being simpleton enough to like the look of a house light lit show. Than if paid go home and cash your pay check if that's all they wanted you for.

But darned, are not those house/work lights going to be artistically done!

I still prefer the easily satisfied, done is good over the never satisfied.

Might also in some SunTsu (sp?) type of way, pick your battles and choose them well. Now would coming down hard on the person that hit the switch really do any good in an overall sense?

Perhaps a E-Mail or letter to the band director on protocol when well stated both for what could have been done for his concert - even if last minute, and in general safety and normal practice might a few days later from now have some better effect.

This advisement once the stress from the show has died down. So they started the show before you even got back to the booth ha? That is in itself curious.
Find something to climb. You wouldn't believe what I've been able to get onto without anyone noticing.
Work lights are great and they suck... at the same time! Very handy for working on the lights, heh. And yet they can piss you off so easily too. If I were more daring I'd rewire them into a undim channel on our light console. This happened to me during a concert. Someone turned the work lights on and didn't turn them off. Me being back at the board very puzzled about the stange light, I just said to myself $%^&*(# so I ran back to the backstage area and turned them off. Good story, huh? not.

As for being bored in the booth, I always clean up the booth when I have time.
Just finished reading "Chicago Death Trap" about the Iroquois Theater fire. According to local code at the time as header to each chapter, it's required by law for at least at that time for a theater to both have control at the control station for the lighting and in the box office by way of seperate power source should this fail for all house and work lights power from.

While such a law is antiquated in rational, seperate or at least dual locations for how one controlls the work light or audience lighting is essential still both for instances like yours and safety. In the case of the fire, it would seem those in the box office were more concerned with gathering up and saving the ticket money than un-locking doors for the audience to esceape or even turning on the lights to a endangered audience now in the dark once the stage control was lost.

Such box office people as seperate safety people in at least providing light to the panic stricken audience, and house manager for locking the doors and gates thus otherwise being the person with the alternate sswitch never installed months after opening as required, were never brought up on charges for neglegence to those people they could have helped even if they did not have access to the house or stage lights as evident by city inspector and contractor shortfall. They just plain gathered up the money and were not heard from again once the fire started.

Good and bad book in stating the duties and heroism of stage hands that were later arrested, but not that well written in format.

In any case, a at least shunt type swich that controls house lights from house manager, stage and control booth is both necessary for instances like yours, and required by law still I would think. What happens should you loose control signal even on stage than is a safety issue. But given lack of communications with the stage, and adiquate staff on it in noting such a thing, there are more problems here than stated.

The stage hands and ME in this case were truely heroic except for that of the staff fire protection person not mentioned as being of use, both in ensuring the fire equipment on site were on the premisis and in doing anything other than running and not contacting the fire department. and the spot operator(s) that did not do their jobs in primary and secondary causes of the fire or lack of fire curtain availability to drop, but not the onlly rational for loss of life.

Still once the fuses in the control booth exploded, there was no control over the house or work lighting. All now was dark. Stage hands, carpenters and others formed a chain in guiding out those lost in the dark back stage out the door while in the smoky fire. Only those stage hands in being thrown children or people in need of help left the building before they ensured all were out. Others from boiler room person to rigger, before they left for their safety also ensured all rooms in the theater were clear of performers to the extent of a back stage elevator operator burning himself and later being pulled out of the flames in saving lives no matter the cost to those doing so once the fire fighting was lost. Only two or three out of a few hundred performers lost in the backstage fire.

Lead Performer Eddie Foy even took it upon himself to do the stage manager's job otherwise in calming the audience while there was trouble back stage and those on stage were continuing on with the show while fire was overhead or running or fainting as opposed to saving lives in the audience. This while shouting backstage to lower the asbestos fire curtain that was now snagged on a lighting instrument that otherwise normally will have been moved out of the way and was a design flaw to the theater. Trust in stage people, but don't trust the reactions of those not innitiated into the trade. Much less don't trust those that are not trained in emergencies. Unfortunately while his efforts were well intended to save lives, the advice of everyone stay in your seats, up until the grid fell around Foy, the last of the orchestra left in otherwise playing music to calm them, he had to also leave once the grid fell in. Future stage managers or leads no doubt will intend no matter how common or small the problem attempt to do this saving of lives and keeping people calm but also getting them to leave in a organized way instead of stay in your seats - every thing if fine.

This theater had lots of un-marked, un-lit, blocked and locked exits, much less ushers that were not trained in safety procedures as other problems. Reading about it's fire led me to wonder about my own 1926 home theater and it's safety. While during a false fire alarm, I did at one point have to go in front of the drape, what will have happened in a real emergency to staff and audience alike is unknown.

Coolness under fire is something that is unique to all individuals stage hand, audience and preformer alike which only practice can hone. The stage hand that reported the fire, in having a for the most part good idea, calmly walked to the local fire house and reported it instead of pulling the fire alarm on the corner or running there. This was at least the concept as opposed to audience members walking the wrong way up fire escape stairs once scared and confused. Others, conductor of the orchestra and rigger alike ensured that all were out of the building or up a coal shoot before they themselves left. Other preformers had to be threatened that they could not bring their stage prop spear with them as they crawled up a coal shoot, fainted, or were panic stricken and found against a wall in a dressing room in not knowing what to do otherwise. I hope times have changed with common sense. Some did leave even in half dressed states.

This as opposed to the at least dressed performers given a fire alarm in the building I after clearing the dressing rooms would not let in were cold but not dealing with the freezing temperatures of the perfromers that left this fire.

The audience, some left when they saw the fire. Some had some sense to them in expecting that behind the drapes, there might be an exit. Some put forth extreme efffort in breaking thru the locked exit doors. No mention of ushers besides one heroic one with some forethought in teaching himself the lock mechanism. Other audience members berreled thru the the crowd in saving themselves. A ten foot high pile of bodies where they were choked to death otherwise at a choke point in audience escape flow. Others impaled or crused in a stack upon those jumping amongst others that were saved once they jumped by a cushion of dead bodies below them. This in addition to the fire department itslef in using black jump nets which people jumping from a broken open escape door frequently missed. Some very heroic efforts on the part of some of the audience, still in the audience, limited help by usher or most especially no help by the front of house staff. 600 plus people died there, mostly those even out of the theater proper and in stairwells as hampered by escape route that were not otherwise still in their seat and killed by the fire ball of heat and smoke that came from the stage.

Talking about places I'm not qualified to work, you would not find me in the new Ford Theater re-built on the site of this one. Haunted house with a really good reason for it, one might say cursed house.

Still the intent of stating all of this about a fire that should live in everyone's mind's because nobody including stage hand was clean of hand in it's cause, how many theater's out there both have seperately derrived house and stage lighting, much less control of them in alternate locations such as the booth and house manager control? Much less as also important, how many fire drills are there in your theater?
we have several alternate controls on the house lights and in the event that a circuit is tripped, we have emergency flood lights that are attached to exit signs.... however i dont think they would be tripped if the dimmers which are backstage were to stop working for whatever reason.
We have our house lights on a seperate dimming system; independant of our board. THere are controls for it backstage, in the light booth, and the master panel and dimmers themselves in the spot booth.

Also, the only fire drills we have are the ones during the school day, when there are only about 20 people in there (all in the house mind you).
Another thing about house lights is that you must have a minimum number of house lights working.I guess this also depends on the size of the auditorium. Someone told me a story where the fire marshall stopped by aq few hours before the show. Most of the house lights were out. So he couldn't let the show open. So, the school busted out a cherry picker, and replaced the lights an hour before the show. So, the fire marshall approved it, and the show opened.

And it's a good thing the fire marshall doesn't come around our school. After 3 years of minimal house lighting, our Athletic Director had something going on in the auditorium one night, so the next day he called the Superintendant, and by 2:00 that day all the lights worked once again. I always knew our AD was awesome.

And for some reason, our chorus director overbooks the seats in our auditorium every time, so she makes the custodians setup massive amounts of extra seating, which exceeds the maximum capacity of the room.

So the moral of the story is: Do things the right war, or the fire marshall will shut you down!
Another thing about house lights is that you must have a minimum number of house lights working.I guess this also depends on the size of the auditorium. Someone told me a story where the fire marshall stopped by aq few hours before the show. Most of the house lights were out. So he couldn't let the show open. So, the school busted out a cherry picker, and replaced the lights an hour before the show. So, the fire marshall approved it, and the show opened.

And it's a good thing the fire marshall doesn't come around our school. After 3 years of minimal house lighting, our Athletic Director had something going on in the auditorium one night, so the next day he called the Superintendant, and by 2:00 that day all the lights worked once again. I always knew our AD was awesome.

And for some reason, our chorus director overbooks the seats in our auditorium every time, so she makes the custodians setup massive amounts of extra seating, which exceeds the maximum capacity of the room.

So the moral of the story is: Do things the right war, or the fire marshall will shut you down!
we had the firemarshall in a few days ago..not as bad as pervious visits. he marked us for an old exit sign backstage that wasnt on. im really glade he didnt look up at the electrics, i have extention cords on them. they dont seem to like that
Remember that the fire inspector is not aken to one's parents looking in your closet after telling you to clean up your room.

On stage, if you know better, you need to do better. If you don't you need to learn and the inspector is there to as much as possible help in this. While the inspection is necessity in backing you up, safety and compliance is more the role of the person working on the stage to ensure it's compliance. As you state, he did not notice. How could one besides you.

Extension cords on the electrics might or might not be a point of contention. Time for you to study if it is or is not, than either comply or come up way a acceptable way where it would be other than good thing he did not see it, and instead something that's approved.

Synopsis of a very interesting event where everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong. From memory as there was probably other issues:

1) Stage Manager was away at the hardware store during the show.
2) Arc light spot that in theory caused the fire is under debate if or if not the operator had stepped away from it at the time, much less was trained in it’s use.
3) Upon the fire’s getting out of control, the show was not stopped, and while it was good advice not to panic as given by the heroic lead actor who having come from his dressing room saved his son, than went back on stage thought more of the audience than his own safety, in the end it did not matter between 6' high piles of people trying to get out at choke points and those that did stay in their seats, they were still dead. Those staying seated will not have mattered and short of all leaving at the first sign of fire, all exits functioning properly and a lack of panic, only a limited amount will have gotten out anyway.
4) Theater was opened without proper inspection and ability for those inspectors visiting un-officially to make comment or shut it down. Political suicide or career suicide for those that pushed an issue. Fire happened weeks after opening, yet no further even finishing was done to it.
5) A scene or two before, the lighting tech who was supposed to pivot a lighting fixture into a recess while not in use didn’t all the way which prevented the fire curtain from coming all the way in.
6) Asbestos fire curtain was made of material that was far too cheap in grade for it’s application and might even also have caught on fire due to the wood fillers in it. To the extent the fouled drape came in, it was said to be blowing out over the audience in the draft. Someone un-identified saved money on it’s purchase. The manufacturer was also not identified. Could also have been the rigging of the actress who died in having rigging that would carry her from stage to audience in it not allowing the curtain to drop, but it was not more than mentioned as possibility.
7) The curtain puller was a replacement for someone sick and was un-familiar with the fire curtain’s operation or location until too late.
8) The contractors for some reason either did not finish or left for what ever reasons the smoke vent over the stage nailed shut. This in turn caused a draft that drew smoke and fire out into the audience to the only vents that did work and could not be closed - at the back of the audience. This once the back stage doors were finally also opened.
9) Exit signs were supposedly TBA in it still being a new theater weeks later. Temporary exit signs were not used as it would destroy the look of the walls. No form of alarm system was in use.
10) Heavy drapes were used to mask the dark recessed fire escape doors so as also not to destroy the theater’s look.
11) Fire Escape doors used a locking Euro latch mechanism which was other than normal and in most cases could not be figured out by those attempting to escape.
12) Fire Escape and all doors opened inward.
13) Some fire escape platforms did not have stair cases attached to them yet - still under construction no doubt weeks later. Of those that did function, many were than leading to another lower level’s fire escape than blocked by a broken open door or audience already attempting the escape from the lower door. This once the audience passed by windows that shot flames out of them.
14) Those that jumped into fire department nets often missed them in the smoke due to the fact that the nets were black. Those that jumped were often safest in having jumped on a pile of bodies who had already been pushed or fallen below. When not hit by someone else falling on them.
15) There was no listed fire escape plan posted or in the program.
16) Upper levels had both doors locked and steel gates thrown across stair cases to keep audience members in so as to ensure such low rent people could not go down stairs to fill in empty chairs. Who had the keys and where they were was not mentioned.
17) No fire drill or even basic training even for the ushers that for all intensive purposes all but one of that was a hero were not mentioned or even would not unlock what doors they could have.
18) Dual control of house lights between box office and control booth on stage was required but thought to not have been hooked up. In any case, the house management/box office staff instead of being given orders to un-lock the doors or even turn on the lights were told to gather up the money and get out. No pull the stacks of people out the door ways, just get out with the money.
19) Theater was designed with very specific choke points between where people exited and at the main central exit point. It was physically impossible to get everyone out. Much less while the doors that were open might have been sufficient, the volume of people trying to get out clogged them. This in doors that were broken open, opened etc.
20) Theater was as many as 500 people or more over booked in SRO status. It could not have been more full than it was.
21) Exits were very confusing with at times you had to go up stairs to get down stairs due to some last minute expanded seating additions. There was turns and blind ending hallways all leading to those on the balcany levels losing their lives to a far greater extent while trying to get out than those in the premium seats on the main level.
22) City inspectors from the lowlie fire chief to inspector were given bribes or when not, might have offered their informal opinion but once dismissed as “not our job” more feared their job than necessity to enforce what they knew wrong.
23) Phone or call box was not hooked up yet in the theater.
24) Fire hooks and extinguishers were not purchased, only some crappy powder you sprinkled on the flames that were cheap enough to buy. Such powder did not work in a panic or once the flames were out of reach. It was a vertical drape, throwing powder on it would not do much anyway. Fire hoses and hook ups to water were installed partially but not hooked up.
25) Sprinkler system was required but not cost effective enough to purchase without being required to do so.
26) The entire city code was thrown out because while it mentioned who inspects and what is required, enforcement and liability for it’s lack of installation was found to be having some wee details in enforcement and liability lacking.
27) The City inspector’s manager had only been on the job a few weeks and even a few years later had not found the need to read the city’s code he was in charged of. Much less during a visit to the theater he and the other inspector visiting it said it was all ready to go. Same with the fire marshal.
28) Scenery had already caught on fire in a earlier town, and while it’s flammability was noted upon it being brought into the theater, those charged with safety of their theater from building manager to crew chose to live with the scenery as opposed to loose a lot of money by rejecting what was known to be unsafe.
29) Who’s responsible for the fire anyway, it was found that while the theater and it’s scenery was unsafe, there was no true link for who’s responsible for theater safety, much less since both light and set were owned by a separate entity no way to enforce they had safe gear even if the theater functioned properly. On the other hand there no doubt was no direct link to the scenery that caught on fire to the fact people were in a theater. Such a debate was not brought up but no doubt due to a similar reason. Those liable because of darned good lawyers got off.
30) House lights and stage lights control was directly on stage and right under the fire. While the ME did his best, once the fuses exploded, the entire complex was plunged into blackness.
31) The house fireman did not ensure safety equipment was in place or exits were marked and accessible. Thought it was the theater manager’s job, much less while it was in writing that he should report directly to the fire marshal neither knew about this rule. Nor had any idea they were there to more than put out fires as opposed to note problems but do nothing but prevent them. Much less no fire drills or training on his part. He did eventually attempt to help put out the fire but was not of much help.
32) General Manager assumed that others were following and making the place comply with code since it was all more their fields, others assumed he was in charged since he had the purse strings - nobody talked.
33) City council while presented various corruption and safety format changes did not act on them. Even after the fire, full compliance will have been too expensive so with time such things were eased up on some.
34) Architect not having any official training, went right on defending that it was not the theater, indeed between him and the owners, it was the audience’s fault for panicking. He later designed other buildings and theaters. Theater managers had other theaters and no insurance on this one, instead a really good lawyer. All charges to stage manager, head carpenter, owners and builder were thrown out of court once the City Building code was found illegal by state statute and lacking in enforcement or responsibility for compliance anyway. Some changes were made to the building and it was re-opened a few months later. Later it was torn down and is now the site of the Oriental Theater or Ford Center for the Preforming Arts. Talking about a haunted theater, death accounts vary in having been not really tracked well. Somewhere between 525 and 602 people died with scores more injured. Two actresses if I remember correctly died - one after getting out. The rest of the cast and crew worked together to ensure everyone backstage got out safely though not practiced, it was instinct.

Bit of a seperate concept here. Just finished reading my second book on the Iroquois fire as playing a role in these thoughts here.
Quick Question: In the event of fire: Do you close the fire curtain? No one has ever told me what to do in case of fire during a show? What would you guys reccomend doing in case of a fire?
It depends on what kind of fire-
electrical fire: kill all power in the vicinity to keep the damage to a minimum
Wood or paper-
get the extingusher fast move flammable materials and call 911
Depends upon the system, some will or might automatically close. Others are perhaps one time use and would not be good to trip unless there is a fire on stage.

This is a policy and plan that your school and fire marshal need to consult on, put in writing than supervise the rehearsal of. Very important as you can’t just wing it.

In general, yes you do want to bring down the fire curtain and evacuate the audience no matter where the fire is in the building.

Public address systems might activate with a recorded message or it might be required that those doing sound hop on the PA with some statement that's perhaps pinned to the wall above the gear ready to read. Otherwise I think it common for the stage manager or perhaps house manager to do the address. They have other things to be doing in my opinion.

In a school, it might be a better idea for the teacher/staff to go in front of the fire curtain to calm and direct the audience out with the say hand cue assistance and direction to those in the light/sound booth assisting them to clear the audience or provide other assistance, much less direct them to leave also.

Here is what I might recommend as specific tasks on a safety procedure - at least as a start for roles and specific tasks. No matter the good intent, people running around like chickens with their heads cut off in attempting to be a hero but without assigned task is almost as dangerous as no plan.:

First have the house manager rehearse the ushers each show as well as inspecting the exit lighting and escape door access etc. in the house. Stage manager tests the fire curtain befire each show and ensures backstage that lighting/safety is in place. This if not required for the fire curtain to be down when the theater is not in use as a better idea. Say 30min or at most an hour before the main is drawn is sufficient, and adds a feeling of safety to the audience to see it’s existence before the show. Also all talent/crew at least twice a year get a full rehearsal. First perhaps with practice, and once or twice more without warning. This given the same basic crew and cast, otherwise two full classes on it would probably be more reasonable.

If in a tornado belt that goes from say North Carolina to Colorado, this can also be a tornado alarm with a completely separate policy. Where do you evacuate a few hundred people in the audience to safely? First 15 rows go back stage into the dressing rooms or hallways, the others go to the hallways adjacent to the entrance? Have to have a plan in place and it takes someone with a cool head to direct this. Above fire plans, how many schools have audience plans for this? Given they can't use the exit doors, this might be even a more important plan to think about as it's going to be more difficult to coordinate getting them to safety in time given much more limited escape routes out of the theater and not much more time. Box office should if the administration office is not staffed, have a secondary weather alert system, and shows should be published for early warning by the police department. House manager than would pull the trigger on such a alert, and be very aware of weather warnings.

Upon fire alarm - no matter where it's triggered, house lights and work lights come up and fire curtain goes down. The PA or better yet someone goes to the stage. Show lighting and sound are put first into panic mode, than brought down and turned off.

Ushers open doors - entrance and fire escape with specific ushers designated to be the ones going down the line to ensure fire exit doors open and the crowd exits safely.
Box office staff secures their area than assists in the lobby exit of the crowd. Ushers primary concerns are the doorways in assisting people out and ensuring they don’t bottle up at them. If there is a balcony, the more senior of the ushers might need to be assigned to the more central doors of the main floor and assist handicapped people to escape, or be responsible as below to ensure the audience center is cleared of people. They are than directed by the Staff at the stage apron, or else dependant upon the floor they are on - balcany/main floor, to leave by the house manager or light board operator. Ushers than put themselves at the bottom of the fire escape exit or entrance doors to ensure nobody gets back in until “all clear” is given. They should have an assigned fire escape or doorway they go to afterwards and do not leave until relieved by police or fire officials. FOH stage hands once they clear the audience and are dismissed supplement this security.

Sound operator if operating the emergency equipment stays on his or her post until directed by the the light board operator or staff at the theater’s apron or house manager to leave. If not required to stay on post, they assist the rest of the crew in the audience area center.

Light board operator brings up lights, stays on post a few moments to ensure all lighting is functioning as needed, than looks for visual thumbs up cue by staff on stage apron or if not given pauses than checks in with the sound operator to ensure their post is covered sufficiently. If not they assign #1 follow spot operator to help there or take over there or with any lighting problems. After this, in my own thoughts they have a secondary role in the balcony to assist and assure all audience and crew have left the room. Otherwise if main floor, they assist the house manager in leading the crew/ushers. Light board operator I might charge with being Asst. House Manager for this floor in an emergency in getting the audience is out. They direct follow spot operators to help or leave and ushers on the floor to leave once inspection is over. This all while in direct communication if only hand signal and looking at with the staff on stage overall in control. Once the balcony is cleared by way of inspection, they get the sound person out given they were required to stay on post this long, and have all tech and ushers leave. They than report to the house manager that audience and crew have left the building. Light board operator than once dismissed from the House manager, goes around the outside of the building to convey the house clear to the stage manager once directed to do so.

Follow spot operators and follow spot operator #1. Ushers ensure the parameter does not bottle up, the follow spot operators ensure everyone gets out of the balcony or main floor dependant upon the theater type. Follow spot person #1 than checks with the light board operator to assist as #2 for lights or sound, while the rest or otherwise afterwards this operator clears the audience and ensures everyone gets out. Critical of the FOH stage hands is to assist handicapped people to the extent of carrying them out if necessary or appropriate. Follow spot operators might be notified of their charges should there be a problem before the show, otherwise just take note of them. House right people have some people, house left no matter if needed or not needed for assistance would at very least get to those people and not leave their supervision until out the door. They might have to wait at their position until the audience clears than go into the audience to help. Their job is to strong arm if necessary any difficulties in getting people out, and to clear the audience of people. They take direction directly from the Light Board Operator, House Manager or Staff on the apron of the stage, but where needed will do their tasks without supervision. First priority for them should be in helping the handicapped out, second if still available would be to assist and clear the audience to the doors. They than either escort people out or take over for the ushers at the door who can go to their secondary position. All have eyes looking for both trouble, people needing help and direction by the staff directing them.

Box office secure their posts, than take position at the entrance doors to assist and direct plus prevent people from getting back in. They also if not automatic call in the fire alarm and if necessary, start to set up a cleared designated first aid station. Most important is for one designated person to get the books on audience, crew and talent in attendance, perhaps even blue prints of the space out to the fire chief so as to assist them.

House Manager does as the light board operator on in the balcony in first ensuring the box office has put in the call if needed and is secure, than ensures or directs ushers are in their place or re-directs as needed. Ensures the lobby and entrance are not having a problem than clears the center of the audience area. House manager as light board operators final inspection of a above balcany is the final inspection before releasing the ushers and crew. This person than while in coordination with staff on apron releases the ushers and balcony people from their duties. Main responsibility is with staff on the apron and house manager - all others assist and take direction from them. House Manager than sends the all clear message by way of light board operator off to the stage manager, and reports this to the fire chief once completed. The next duty would be to account for all ushers and FOH stage hands once outside and assist as needed with the first aid - all while in coordination with the faculty/staff that took to the stage apron.

Stage Manager backstage is as per House Manager in being the last out in doing an afterwards inspection and directs all others once the fire curtain goes down. Should they need to be the staff in front of the apron, the Asst or fly person than takes over in a recognized chain of command. Their job would be to ensure the fire drape is lowered or help where no asst. stage manager is present, call cues as needed to assure work lights and FOH lights were brought up, than clear the stage. Once the stage is cleared, they hit the dressing rooms etc and ensure cast and crew have gotten out. They than secure the main stage door until relieved. It’s also then the primary fire fighting person where needed in directing the stage crew to make their exit. Once they are out, and that door is secure, they report to the fire chief that cast and crew is secure once the ASM or fly person in accounting for all brings that list to them.

The asst. stage manager if any takes care of stage left in clearing the stage but more importantly ensures the fly person is able to finish his duties. This person is also the first on the fire extinguisher and primary person to fight the fire if any. They coordinate with the stage manager and clear all rooms or areas on their half the stage. They then take position at any opposing stage doors to ensure nobody gets back in by way of assigning crew person at the door or taking it. Their next task is to check off a list of all cast and crew in accounting for them and give it to the stage manager.

Fly person ensures that the fire drape went down and if necessary and by approval as SOP, clears the stage of any flown scenery on stage. They also if fire ensure the smoke vents opened and if necessary open them manually. If there is no asst. stage manager, they than take over in primary / lead fire fighter role in directing the crew in fire fighting or escaping they than clear the rooms or areas on that part of stage.

The crew fights the fire first, than as directed go to designated dressing rooms or areas to ensure the cast has gotten out. They than make their way to the stage doors in assisting the stage manager or fly person in keeping that door secure or as needed become the first aid staff in either the area set up by the box office staff or to those needed back stage. Stage crew first is charged with fighting the fire, than in assisting the cast to get out. Once these tasks are done and any specific duties are fulfilled need to leave the stage so they are not having to be searched for. Once outside, they assist the stage manager or assistant in any way needed. The amount of time they can play the hero in fighting the fire or clearing the building of actors is limited. Once directed to stop fighting the fire, they need to assist and clear rooms than get out. The longer they linger, the more dangerous it will be to others. They must be aware and flexible, but follow the commands by the ASM/SM/Fly person.

All than assist the police and fire people in controlling or especially getting the crowd away from the theater area so there is room for the emergency people to work. Once the situation is well at hand, there should be an announced rally point for all cast, crew and usher people to wait.
Wow, good procedure ship! I've bookmarked this page. AFAIK, there is no writeen procedure in case of fire of what to do for my school auditorium. I think I will definately bring this up with the administration. After reading your post, I've realized how much of a nightmare a fire during a show can be, espeically considering the age of all the electrical in the auditorium.
I would be interested in having others state their own theater’s policies or thoughts on the matter. Or in commenting on in having different thoughts and ideas, or other things to look at. This such as the requirement that the ushers close their doors upon exit. Or thoughts on to what extent those fighting the fire or helping the audience out should be expected to also go back and ensure the area is clear or inspect assigned rooms to ensure everyone is out given the stage manager, house manager or light board operator already will be doing this inspection. Perhaps it might be better to assign certain people to fight the fire, others to clear the rooms. Otherwise certain people to do a task with others to find their assigned leader and be directed by them to accomplish other things or get out sooner. Some schools might want the students out - all the students as policy. At that point you might be able to do one thing such as assist, but should get out.

Beyond this, now that tornado, even biological dangers have been brought up, hearing some systems for accomplishing this might be of interest.

These are only ideas on a system and certainly not the method in any intent.

This is an important subject, there needs to be many people’s thoughts on it if not some form of priorities and goals amongst many.

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