Use of the Studio and Theatre Upstairs
1. Notes for directors, set-builders light-riggers and others assisting on set.
The Director has overall responsibility for the health and safety of his/her cast and crew, this includes set-builders, those rigging lanterns, or anyone else who is working on the production. It is essential that this document should be read in conjunction with the NVT Health and Safety Policy.
To ensure both theatre spaces are looked after and maintained to the highest possible standards and that Health and Safety requirements fully complied with, it is essential that the following rules are observed:
- The Director / Production Manager should provide all the above with a copy of the NVT Health and Safety Policy. - He/she should ensure that they each sign and return a copy of its attached confirmation slip, acknowledging that they have read and understood the policy.
- The completed confirmation slips must either be returned to the Health and Safety Manager or left in their tray inthe office as soon as possible.
- The Director / Production Manager should ensure that whilst set-building, lantern-rigging, or any other technical/construction work is being undertaken, only those authorised to be there are present.
- The Director / Production Manager should also ensure that all cast and crew know and understand the action to be taken in the event of a fire (see fire action notices).
- The Production Manager / Health and Safety Manager are responsible for ensuring that all those involved in technical activities are fully aware of Health and Safety requirements and comply with them.
- Only those who have been trained and authorised are allowed to use ladders.
- Hard hats must be worn when anyone is working above ground-level.
- Consideration must be given to the safety of the audience at all times. This is particularly important in the Studio.
- Sets must be constructed so that the audience can be safely seated and able to vacate the theatre quickly in an emergency (minimum access to both fire exits of 1.6m).
- All emergency exits must be kept clear at all times and emergency signs must not be obstructed.
- Pre-set lighting must be sufficiently bright for audience members to be safely seated.
- In the Studio Theatre, props must not be set or left on the stage at the interval or end of the performance in such a way as to cause a hazard to audience members.
2 Risk assessments
In order to comply with Health and Safety legislation it is necessary to carry out individual risk assessments. Risk assessments are required when any activity is being carried out that could result in injury, whether during a production or at any other time.
- Examples of instances where risk assessments would be required within a production include smoking or use of any naked flames on stage, acrobatics and stage falls or fights.
- Additional expert training may be required to minimise the risk in falls, fights etc.
- Examples of instances where risk assessments would be required during the set building process would include erecting scaffolding, using ladders and working at heights.
- Where any of these activities are being considered, the Health and Safety Manager must be consulted before such activities are started.
- In the case of lantern-rigging, it is accepted that a risk assessment has already been carried out and that as a result there is an agreed safe procedure for rigging lanterns.
- It is the responsibility of the Director / Production Manager to ensure that any person rigging lights has been appropriately trained in this procedure.
3. Flame-proofing of set and props.
Flame-proofing of all flammable materials is essential.
- All wood less than 18mm thick must be flame-proofed
- This includes curtains, bed linen, tablecloths, carpets, banners and in some circumstances, costumes.
- It should not be assumed that anything is flame-proofed. If there is any doubt, the Health and Safety Manager should be consulted.
- Where items need flame-proofing, the Health and Safety Manager should be consulted.
- All flammable materials will be tested before the production starts and those not flame-proof will not be allowed.
4. Rostra in the Studio
For rostra to be safe they must be erected correctly.
Changes to rostra
- No changes are to be made to the layout of rostra without first consulting the Health and Safety Manager.
- When erecting the rostra, particular attention must be paid to ensuring that the metal frames are securely linked, guard rails are correctly positioned and unguarded steps and edges marked with white tape.
- Where appropriate, guards/chair-stops should be put in place at the back of the rostra to prevent chairs from becoming dislodged.
- All chairs must be securely linked together, with end-of-row chairs fastened so that they cannot be moved.
- The rostra may not be painted or have any fixings attached to them, (e.g. by screws or nails) that might damage them in any way.
5. Studio Capacity
For all Studio productions the audience capacity must be agreed with the Health & Safety Manager before the PPM.
- It must be possible to provide an appropriate space for anyone who is a wheelchair user.
- Once the seating layout has been agreed with the Health and Safety Manager, no changes to the layout should be made, or any seats added or taken away without first consulting the Health and Safety Manager.
Only emulsion paint may be used for set painting, unless it is special scenery paint from a theatrical supplier.
- Gloss paints or varnishes must not be used on sets or props under any circumstances.
- The Studio walls are to be left black.
- Drapes, curtains or banners may not be hung without prior consultation with the Health and Safety Manager. All such materials must be flame-proofed.
- If the Studio floor is to be painted other than black (emulsion paint only) it must be returned to black at the get-out, unless otherwise agreed by the Artistic Director.
- Time should be allowed for this when scheduling subsequent rehearsals or other use of the Studio space.
- No materials such as paper or wood are to be stuck to the Studio floor.
The auditorium of the Theatre Upstairs is not to be painted as part of any set.
- Any alteration or adaptation of the auditorium for a particular production may not be undertaken without prior consultation with the Health and Safety Manager and Artistic Director.
7. Set building
All sets must be securely fixed.
- It is not permitted to drill holes or attach fixings into brick or plaster walls.
- For health reasons, MDF should not be cut within the building.
8. Personal protective equipment
- Protective equipment such as safety goggles, protective gloves, dust-masks etc should used where necessary.
- Hard hats must be used when anyone is working above ground-level.
9. Lifting (manual handling)
Lifting of any materials whilst set-building, or actors lifting props, or each other, must follow legal guidelines for safe practice. Advice can be obtained from the Health and Safety Manager.
When set-building or other noisy activities are being undertaken, ear defenders must be worn, as appropriate.
11. Sound Visual and other Effects
- During performances, noise e.g. explosions, loud music, should not be at a level that could cause damage to anyone’s hearing.
- Use of flashing lights, smoke machines, smoking on stage, strong smells etc. must be assessed for safety prior to the performances.
A warning announcement prior to performance is not in itself an adequate safeguard.
- Please note that legal permitted levels of noise, flashing light rates etc. and ensure you are below these levels. Advice can be obtained from the Health and Safety Manager.
12. Health & Safety equipment, notices and signs
No fire extinguishers/blankets, fire exit signs, Health & Safety notices etc are to be removed, repositioned, obscured, or altered in any way.
- If, under exceptional circumstances it is essential to do any of the above, the Health and Safety Manager must be consulted before any action is taken.
- If there are any doubts or concerns about any of the requirements set out in this document, they should be raised with the Health and Safety Manager and advice sought.
13. Workshop areas
Access to these areas are restricted to authorised personnel.
- Flats and materials are stored in these areas and must be returned and carefully stored after the production.
- All consumable materials e.g. hinges, door-locks, screws etc should be detached from their mountings and returned to the store for future use.
- There is a supply of tools available for use, which must also be returned to the store. - Power tools and certain hand tools e.g. jigsaws, wood chisels etc must only be used by competent people. Those who have not used such equipment before should not be allowed to do so unless instructed in their safe use and supervised by a competent person.