Space between scenery for actors.


I'm sure this will be one of those "Well of course" moments but I'm hoping someone can point me towards some standards for space needed between scenery for actors to get through. For example:



Resident Curmudgeon
Senior Team
Premium Member
From Building Code Guide to Stairways, Railings, Landing Construction & Stair Safety Inspections :
The width of landings shall not be less than the width of stairways they serve. Every landing shall have a minimum dimension measured in the direction of travel equal to the width of the stairway. Such dimension need not exceed 48 inches (1219 mm) where the stairway has a straight run.

While stage scenery need not necessarily meet IBC or other building codes*, it's probably prudent to attempt to comply whenever possible. If actors are represented by AEA, they may have an opinion or jurisdiction on the matter as well.

*From a recent post to the SML:
Most jurisdictions that adopt and enforce a building code in the US
base it on the International Building Code, which is developed by the
International Code Council, who are in the majority building
officials. The IBC includes:

"105.2 Work exempt from permit. Exemptions from permit requirements of
this code shall not be deemed to grant authorization for any work to be
done in any manner in violation of the provisions of this code or any
other laws or ordinances of this jurisdiction. Permits shall not be
required for
the following:
8. Temporary motion picture, television and theater stage sets and scenery."

The model code may be amended in the normal legislative process of the
jurisdiction so you would have to look at the actual legislation for
your jurisdiction to see if this exemption is deleted in the area
where you work.
Bolding mine.
I've built sets with as little as 30" for walkways. It was for a student run college organization so all of the "real world" rules weren't always followed. I believe that ADA is 36" for wheelchairs so that is what was always maintained in the audience areas.
in Chicagoland we need 42" for egress and i have that to be a good rule of thumb, check with the fire marshall, as a just in case


Senior Team
Senior Team
Premium Member
in Chicagoland we need 42" for egress and i have that to be a good rule of thumb, check with the fire marshall, as a just in case

Thats for any place the audience is which does not apply for onstage scenery in most jurisdictions unless the audience is onstage.


CB Mods
Premium Member
as an FYI Actors Equity requires 3'6" for any area deemed a 'Cross-over'. So, if the space between the stairs and the wall was to be the designated path through which an actor had to pass to get from one side of the stage to the other to make an entrance and you were in an Equity house, the minimum distance would be 3'6".

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