Theatre safety concerns arise
The show has gone on ... but not without stresses.
Alexandra Musical Society’s production Grease is performing this week and behind the scenes cast and crew have been coming up with inventive ways to overcome safety concerns.
A report to the Vincent Community Board in March identified the stage structure and equipment were well below industry standards and potentially dangerous.
Subsequently, a lighting design company carried out a site inspection which backed up concerns.
‘‘At the site inspection, Mr [Rod] Peters confirmed there was serious safety concerns around the stage structure and equipment. As a result the lighting bars were immediately removed. Users were instructed that no flying of props is permitted and only items of less than 60kg are to be hung on the rales and no-one is to be on stage when props are lifted or removed.’’
The two performances set down for 2017 - Grease and a 60th anniversary production later in the year, could still run with limitations in place.
‘‘But this is not ideal’’. Some equipment requires upgrading, in some cases total replacement is needed, the report says.
‘‘The Alexandra Theatre is a core service the council provides to the community. It is regularly used by the local musical society and attracts regional and national books for performances, conferences and large meetings...it is therefore essential that the stage structure and equipment is safe, complies with industry standards and is easy to operate. This is not currently the case.’’
Society president Blake Luff said they had collaborated with the council and in the process had identified a number of hazards.
With no lighting bars, the society’s technical manager, Glen Van den Yssel, had created a set using scaffolding which doubled as lighting bars.
‘‘It will need a substantial cash investment to get it up to scratch. The show will go on.‘‘
Central Otago District Council property and facilities manager Mike Kerr said the community board approved funding ($9000) to engage a structural engineer to identify the level of structural issues associated with the stage area rigging, winches and other theatre support equipment.
Front: (Left to right) Senior Constable Michael Colligan, Senior Constable Paddy Henderson, Station Support Officer Deb Hyndman, Detective Gary Hyndman.Back: (Left to right): District Commander Paul Basham, Senior Constable Arnold Hooykaas, Sergeant Derek Ealson.