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Stage Surfaces


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Hi all

I recently attended the Just FX pyro safety awareness course at The Backstage Centre. Great day for anyone who hasn’t done it. One thing I came away thinking (having not used pyro for my own shows yet) is how little we talked about stage surfaces and how to treat them. The room we were in had a concrete floor and thus posed very little risk. At my workplace, we have a wooden stage. We may also want to ignite some pyro on a field. We spoke about treating things in the vicinity (curtains and clothes etc) but not about what the majority of the fallout comes into contact with.


The reality of my question is, I want to know if screwing a flash pot into a well sized, wooden board, and placing that on a wooden stage is adequate or if I would need to do more than that? Would that also be adequate for short grass? My intuition says that it would be fine but I’m doubting myself.

Thanks - Jay

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That the course made you think, means it was worth while. 

Do a test in a safe place placing white paper under the intended pyro then fire it! Assess the marks produced for acceptability, what is acceptable on an old pine board stage may be different from what is acceptable on a polished hardwood floor. Grass can be very variable, green grass doesn't burn much but brown grass burns like a California wildfire.

Pyro may cost much money but an accident costs more. A test for the tech's and producers/directors, then a test for everyone who will be onstage is essential. Everyone who interacts with the pyro (panto fairy coming on to a flash etc etc) all need to be familiar with the pyro and act the correct response.

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Just to note that in some circumstances you want to "leave no trace" so even on lush green grass we used wet sand to protect from scorching. 

The test in a safe environment is essential when using devices new to you as you don't want to find out exactly what it does only when it is set off at rehearsals. Fire is deadly in a theatre and even more so in a school or village hall. 

Have a link to start you off. Take your time it goes on a bit.


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