Show Choir Stage Safety Checklist: Part 1
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Show Choir Stage Safety Checklist: Part 1
May 1, 2018
Show Choirs often perform at different unfamiliar venues, so safety should be a major consideration when looking at stage design and all its components.
Competition hosts, music directors, stage crews, and performers should all have the following safety checklist and consider some off the following questions.
What is the general condition of the stage floor?
The stage floor can be made out of a variety of materials including wood, concrete, carpet, or portable decking. It should be smooth yet slip resistant and clear of any debris. A slightly textured surface is recommended for performing in stiletto heels or tap shoes.
The floor can also wear down over time and that can cause safety hazards. For example, a wooden stage floor may have boards that aren’t as strong as they used to be or it may have boards that are loose. Concrete stages may have cracks and carpet may have tears. These things can cause trip hazards and that brings us to the next question we need to ask.
Are there any trip hazards?
You will need to make sure there aren’t any trip hazards on the floor. If it is necessary to have cables in the performance area, make sure they are taped down and in areas that have the least amount of traffic. If props are used, make sure they are securely fastened and stable so that they can not fall over during the performance and impact the movement of the performers. The more you can make the performers aware and minimize interactions with these element on the stage, the safer the environment will be.
Is the front apron edge easily seen?
Make sure the front apron edge of your stage is easily visible. This will reduce the risk of performers getting too close to the edge and accidentally falling. To increase the visibility of the front apron edge, make sure your stage has sufficient lighting.
Do the stage wings have adequate lighting
Along with the front of your stage, you need to make sure that your stage wings have adequate lighting, so your performers can see where they’re going while they’re entering and exiting the stage. The transition time on and off the stage needs to be handled quickly and a well lighted path ensures this happens safely. Performers and set up crew can avoid any trip hazards if they are clearly visible and eliminate damage to both props and staff.
Is there a stage extension and how is it constructed?
If you have a stage extension, make sure it is solid. This is not the place for homemade or DIY construction.
Many well-meaning booster groups have tried to help the program and save money by constructing their own stage equipment. When it comes to the surfaces that the students are performing on, all portable staging should be designed by a reputable manufacturer or structural engineer. This should always be the rule and not the exception.
Make sure there is bracing between riser legs
All the movement with choreography increases the load on the supporting riser framework, thus bracing between the riser legs must be present. Well-designed risers, will have that bracing, and will be engineered to handle the loads. This will eliminate wobbling and creaking, that can distract from the performance and make the system seem unsafe.
Your risers must be able to support a minimum of 150 pounds per square foot as that is the staging industry standard.
Stage decks and supports should be unified
When setting up your grid, the stage decks and supports should be connected into a unified structure to provide greater structural integrity. Manufacturer supplied Unit-to-Unit straps, clips or additional bracing that secure the legs of one support to an adjacent one is important. Some manufacturers supply clips to lock neighboring decks together for added strength. These safety items will prevent separation between units. If you have a stand-alone platform, it needs to be made of sturdy construction with integral bracing that allow it to handle the demands of the performance.
Use adjustable leveling devices
To ensure risers don’t wobble, you need to use an adjustable leveling device. Some risers feature adjustable screw feet to compensate for uneven floors and surfaces. They also feature urethane pads to grip the floor better.
Safety cannot be overlooked. Taking all the appropriate precautions will be instrumental in the success of your events. You want your event to be remembered for all of the great performances and not the “incident.” Make sure you save this checklist to use for your next production.
Our next post looks at show choir safety in relation to trussing, wiring, lights, costumes, props, and special effects.
We recently provided a 4X4 grid of Z-800 Show Choir Risers to Albany Senior High School in Albany, Minnesota.