Critically reflect on THE GUIDE TO SAFE WORKING PRACTICES IN THE NEW ZEALAND THEATRE & ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY

In this post I will be approaching my reflection on health and safety in the theatre by focussing on how young dancers coming in to the industry are often undereducated about the responsibility they hold when it comes to the health and safety of themselves and those around them in preparation for and during a show. I have decided to use my own experiences to inform my reflection. First and foremost, the main issue that possesses a lot of young dancers to believe that the rules of the theatre do not apply to them, is that they think they are invincible. The mentality of “but that won’t happen to me” is too common amongst us dancers as we are often too involved in the immediate sphere around us to contemplate whether what we are doing is actually safe. Often details that are mentioned in The Guide to Safe Working Practices in the New Zealand Theatre and Entertainment Industry are taken as a given and so we often forget about the guidelines. For example, the drop in to the orchestra pit or off the stage can be overlooked because we don’t think anyone would be stupid enough to fall of the edge. Nonetheless people still do and so ensuring that the edge is marked or lined with an LED strip is important to minimise the possibility of this happening. Another aspect that the guide refers to that we may not consider when we get in to the theatre is the lighting and rigging grid. It’s easy for us to forget that there is the possibility that objects and lights may fall from above us because we’re too preoccupied with what’s going on on floor level. As well as this we just expect other people to deal with it as we believe that it’s not our job. Having been made more aware of some of the health and safety protocols and things that could go wrong, both in the lecture and from this guide, have been very useful to me. I feel as though I now have a more in depth understanding of how I can contribute my part to creating a safe environment for myself and my peers as well as what it would take to maintain a stage and theatre space so that all the dangers that are present are minimised. This can include simple things such as ensuring possible hazards are well lit, marked and made aware of to the inhabitants of the theatre. I believe that dancers coming in to the industry need to be more proactive and take responsibility for learning the guidelines to create a safer work environment both in the theatre and in the studio.

Link to The Guide to Safe Working Practices in the New Zealand Theatre and Entertainment Industry

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