Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Theatre Safety Workshop at Shanghai Theatre Academy

Workshop is April 14-16 (Monday thru Wednesday).  For more information contact Shanghai Theatre Academy, Department of Stage Design, Theatre Management and Arts Management Lecturer, Vanessa Chenzi Xu (徐晨子) at: nownowxu (at) hotmail (dot) com

Shanghai Theatre Academy Theatre Safety Workshop 2014-04-14 to 16

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Orchestra Pit Cover Collapse During Performance Injures 28

Anaheim, California 2014-03-10 - Students performing an energetic dance routine on the extended forestage at Servite Catholic High School were injured when the stage collapse into the Orchestra Pit below.  The auditorium was originally constructed in the 1980's and the stage extension / pit cover was added in 1996.  Images from the accident scene show what appears to be a modular structure that was built by the school, not a commercially available staging system.

Local Police and Emergency Rescue were called to the scene to extract injured performers and transport them to the hospital as needed.  Some injuries were minor scrapes and bruises, and sprained ankles, while 24 students were transported, some on back-boards with possible neck and back injuries, and a report of broken bones.

Looking into the Orchestra Pit after the Stage Extension Collapsed
(Photo Courtesy of the Anaheim Police Department)

The structure will be inspected to discover the exact nature of the failure.  Although persons interviewed by local papers said that the collapse was unforeseeable (blogger comment: not likely), and later comments (in the follow-up section of this post) show that there was some forewarning (visible sagging) prior to the floor giving-way.

The Anaheim Fire Marshal and Building Inspectors were on scene Sunday investigating what caused the collapse, said Lt. Tim Schmidt of the Anaheim Police Department.  “It looks like, on its face, that too much weight was on the stage than what it was originally built for,” Schmidt said Sunday night.

The high school's platform stage was previously permitted for use, Schmidt said.  Now investigators will be rechecking that permit to see if it included a weight restriction or a limit as to the number of people who could safely be on the stage at one time.

Schmidt said he expected the investigation, which is being led by the Anaheim Fire Department, to take up to two weeks.  He added that Servite has been cooperative in the investigation.  “They want to find out what happened as much as we do.”

Follow-up 2014-03-14:

A news article by the local NBC4 I-team reveals that no permits were ever made for the stage extension addition.  Also from the article we quote:

Carly Yates, a former ballet student and a current NBC4 intern, had danced on the stage for years.

She said she and her fellow dancers were always concerned about the safety of the stage.

“There was something wrong it,” says Yates.

She says dancers would wait below the stage until it was their turn to perform.

"When you were underneath the stage in the [make-shift] Green Room [(orchestra pit)], you saw the boards were flimsy," she said.  "They would bend and down as the dancers on top if it danced on it."