Theater Safety Standards | Standards Michigan

Theater Safety Standards

The ESTA suite takes its place among a "fabric" of consensus documents that set the standard of care for a facility class that is growing in demand and complexity.


Theater Safety Standards

December 20, 2019
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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


Significant resources of the education industry are devoted to the arts  The 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.

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 supports 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

ESTA has released another batch of redlines open for public comment:

ES1.9-202x, Event Safety Requirements – Crowd Management (new standard)

E1.21-202x, Entertainment Technology – Temporary Structures Used for Technical Production of Outdoor Entertainment Events

E1.47-202x, Recommended Guidelines for Entertainment Rigging System Inspections (revision of ANSI E1.47-2017)

E1.4-3-202x, Entertainment Technology – Manually Operated Hoist Rigging Systems (revision and partition of ANSI E1.4-2014)

E1.62, Minimum specifications for mass-produced portable platforms, ramps, stairs, and choral risers for live performance events

ANSI E1.17 – 2015, Entertainment Technology — Architecture for Control Networks (ACN)

BSR E1.23, Entertainment Technology — Design, Execution, and Maintenance of Atmospheric Effects

ANSI E1.19 – 2015, Recommended Practice for the Use of Class A Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) Intended for Personnel Protection in the Entertainment Industry

BSR E1.37-5, General Purpose Messages for ANSI E1.20, RDM

BSR E1.20, Entertainment Technology — Remote Device Management over USITT DMX512 Networks

Comment deadlines run from December 24 through December 30th.

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.  For the size of the market it serves, the ESTA consensus product development enterprise is one of the best in the land.

Glorya Kaufman School of Dance / University of Southern California

We keep the ESTA suite on the standing agenda of monthly Arts & Entertainment technology standards teleconference; open to everyone.   See our CALENDAR for the next online meeting.

Since the electrotechnologies are fairly complex we also collaborate with the IEEE Education & Healthcare Facilities Committee which meets four times per month in European and American time zones.   Young people everywhere are finding career paths in the technologies for providing educational and entertainment content.


Issue: [Various]

Category: Electrical, Arts & Entertainment Facilities

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

ARCHIVE: Engagement and Advocacy Action with ESTA 2015 – 2019



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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