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 meet­ 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.

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