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Pyrotechics Usage in small 200 Seat Theatre


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Hi Guys,


I have been reading these listings for a while but this time I just need to confirm exactly what I need for a performance.


We are a small theatre company in Ramsbottom, Lancashire called the "summerseat Players" (www.summerseatplayers.co.uk), and run a small 200 seat theatre called the "theatre Royal".


I am a lighting / sound designer and have been asked to use some pyrotechnic effects in a youth theatre performance in december 2007.


I have been reading through the forum and have acertained that I can use pyro's if our theatre licence says I can? is this correct?


However I havent acertained who can actually operate the effects, and what training etc. is required.


The effect we are giong for isthe entrance of a great wizard, their needs to be a loud bang and then lots of heavy smoke quickly on stage, so we already have a poyro "bang" machione (don't know exactly what it is as I havent fished it out yet, but ive been told by my colleagues that we do have one!) and I was goign to use a JEM Glaciator smoke machine, as I have hired and used one before.


I am only 17yrs old and have learnt what I know from doing it and working it out so I would appreciate any advice that you guys have on the matter!


Kind Regards

J Stroud

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Firstly you must be 18 to control or fire pyro lawfully, will you be 18 by then? Secondly you must be very clear what effect you want, and the timings. Thirdly look in the pinned posts for Lincoln's "next course " thread, and attend the course. Lincoln's courses offer you to learn the regulations, to become familiar with the hardware, and to see the effects for lots of the available pyro devices.


An Old style venue licence could have a prohibition of pyro clause, I saw a licence that forbade pyro, lasers and smoke! New format licences may not have a permission clause but will have a prohibition clause if the licensing authority intended so. You really must speak with the person who oversees the licence and venue insurance.


Modern H&S law is risk assessment based and less prescriptive that before so you will need to do tests to confirm that the devices you wish to use do the job safely. You will need to record the tests you run.


Added link http://www.blue-room.org.uk/index.php?showtopic=18138

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The new licenses seem to be very vague. I haven't worked for the venue for a couple of years, but from what I remember we had to write our own license conditions and submit them to the council for approval when we applied for the new type license. I copied their conditions from the old license and removed a few bits. They probably didn't read past the first few lines before giving us the new license without question.....


As Jivemaster said, best thing is to ring them up and ask. If you're using something fairly small, which it sounds like you are, they'll probably be ok about it anyway. Our old license required written approval from the council for pyros. I used LeMaitre small theatrical flash for several shows and always got approval for it. They give a pretty good bang and flash, and have quite a short safe distance so are ideal for smaller venues.


Anything you can add to a risk assessment to show you're being as careful as possible always goes down well too. Positioning away from actors, drapes, etc, operator has full view of stage,


For our local drama group, I have a clear view of the stage and the pyro pods, but I won't fire them until I get clearance from the SM who's in the wings and loooking at things from a different angle.

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