Theatre is a place people come to enjoy arts and entertainment, but there are several potentially dangers associated with theatre production. Whether it is a cinema or a stage production, there are certain basic rules of theatre safety that can ensure smooth operation with few accidents. All theatre staff and personnel should be trained in these basic safety procedures in order to prevent careless accidents and serious structural damage.
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Fire safety is one of the most important factors of theatre operation, especially because of the limited number of exits provided in an enclosed theatre. Make sure all theatre staff know where fire extinguishers are located. All emergency exits should be clearly marked with an illuminated "Exit" sign above the doorway. Keep all walkways clear in the seating area, backstage and in the wings. If using decorative holiday lights for your production, make sure that all wires are covered and the strands show no signs of damage. Bulbs should be kept away from flammable materials and curtains. Flammable decorative material, such as cotton, hay, wood chips and styrofoam should be flame retardant. Keep open flames like candles away from flammable materials and actors' heads and place them in a way that they will not be knocked over.
Make sure all walkways are unobstructed for clear passage. You may need to have an usher check the aisles and ask patrons to tuck their belongings into the seating area. It is often dark and difficult to see in the backstage and wings; don't put any objects in the path of a walkway. Avoid the use of duct tape and masking tape on the floor because these cause a discontinuity in the texture of the floor that could lead to a fall. Clean up all spills promptly and treat grease spills with a degreaser.
Combat and Weapons Safety
Onstage combat can be dangerous if not conducted properly. Always have a staff member on hand and, if possible, a fight director or choreographer to train actors in the appropriate handling of any weapons being used. Keep weapons locked away when not in use and only issue weapons to authorised actors and stagehands who are properly trained in safe weapons handling. All weapons should be handled as working weapons, even if they are prop guns or dull swords. Treating weapons as real weapons will ensure that handlers maintain the proper level of care and caution to avoid accidental injury.
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