Theater Safety | Standards Michigan

Theater Safety


Theater Safety

December 11, 2020

Set design model by Marcel Jambon for an 1895 Paris production of Giuseppe Verdi’s Otello


“We have art in order not to perish from the truth”

— Friedrich Nietzsche


Demand for live events in college towns — what is now called”entertainment content” — is gathering pace; owed somewhat to an older demographic that prefers expanded social interaction to the online entertainment offerings that the younger demographic prefers*.  We see an expansion of the market in the construction of architecturally astonishing buildings; though the effect of the pandemic remains to be seen.

Today our interest lies in the complex safety and sustainability characteristics of the physical infrastructure — with particular interest in the fire protection, environmental air and electrotechnologies required to make them safe and sustainable.   This facility class is far more complicated technologically and operates at significantly higher risk than, say, classrooms or office space.

The Entertainment Services and Technology Association is one of the first names in trade associations that support the ‘business of show business’ through networking, safe practices, education, and representation.  We follow the standards making activity of its technical committees and monitor public commenting opportunities.  ESTA releases markups of its consensus products for public comment at a fairly brisk pace on its standards development landing page:

ESTA Public Review Drafts

Several redlines have been released for public consultation:

ES1.4, Event Fire Safety Requirements

Entertainment Technology — Design, Inspection, Maintenance, Selection, and Use of Hand and Lever Chain Hoists in the Entertainment Industry

Entertainment Technology – Recommended Practices and Guidelines for the Assembly and Use of Theatrical Boom & Base Assemblies

Entertainment Technology – Selection and Use of Personal Fall Arrest Systems on Portable Structures Used in the Entertainment Industry

 Entertainment Technology – Design, Manufacture and Use of Aluminum Trusses and Towers

Comment deadlines run from December 15th through January 12th.

You may obtain an electronic copy at the link above, along with a comment form.  Send your comments to Karl Ruling, (212) 244-1505, with an optional copy to  We encourage our colleagues in school districts and in colleges and universities large and small; with responsibilities for the safety and sustainability of cultural resource properties, media centers, performance venues to participate in the ESTA technical standards development program.

Glorya Kaufman School of Dance / University of Southern California

We keep the ESTA suite on the standing agenda of our Lively Arts teleconference; open to everyone.   See our CALENDAR for the next online meeting.

Since the electrotechnologies for the lively arts have evolved into complex, interoperable systems we also collaborate with the IEEE Education & Healthcare Facilities Committee on technical specifics.  That committee meets online four times per month in European and American time zones.


Issue: [Various]

Category: Electrical, Infotech, Lively Arts,

Colleagues: Mike Anthony, Christine Fischer, Mike Hiler, Nehad El-Sherif



State Capitals And College Towns: A Recipe For Success

Baby Boomers Are Retiring to College Towns

The original University of Michigan codes and standards advocacy enterprise interviewed an ESTA affiliate in 2015:


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