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Minutes - LX Zoom Meeting May 27th  


Éanna Whelan
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Work presented – scale of show

Standard festival rig

Access equipment

Producer- led duty of care

Venue-led duty of care – affect planning on schedule – allow enough time for us to be disciplined

Designer Perspective

Designer led rig – fixed focus

 

Flexibility comes with cost

 

  • Hesitation around festival rig from a designer perspective. Want to be able to work in any capacity, but we need thing about how designers dovetail into a festival rig with the design for a particular show.
  • One thing that came up in the TM meeting was that festival rigs were mainly for comedy and music gigs, but that a separate rig would be possible for a longer run of a play as long as that longer rigging time was accounted for in planning. It was very much about making veunes easier to run regarding music gigs, community gigs etc. What will be really important is that venues consistently get information from designers well in advance so that they can double-rig. Want to encourage everyone to pre-rig at no additional cost to the production company.
  • SJ & Zia: Not opposed to the idea of festival rig if that’s what it takes to get back to the stage, but we don’t want to hold onto that long term and allow it to become standard.
  • Not all rigs are equal, so the potential of a festival rig depends on the venue’s capacity as much as the production company’s. Dialogue between in-house techs and production companies is very important.
  • Schedules will have to be extended, so the more that is prepared and communicated before arriving at a venue, the better we can work within these extended schedules.
  • Also worth noting that the questions of who can be in a rehearsal space came up in SM conversation. Design process may have to change to become less tied in to rehearsal process. Consider working from recorded rehearsal runs. Joining rehearsals via zoom. Then scheduling visits at key moments.
  • Jack Phelan was developing rehearsal room streaming a while back as a business plan. Could be worth seeing where he is with that. Another system in beta testing stage: https://cdnstudio.ca/
  • Establishing rigorous paperwork practices so that someone stepping in has clear focus notes, cue lists and plans to work from is essential. Pre programming is also a possiblity as a backup, but also as a means of creating additional remote employment possiblities.

 

Tech Manager/Chief LX Perspective

  • Regarding sanitising house kit – access to store rooms will be restricted, divvying up bars so that people aren’t overlapping where possible, having an in and out-tray in store rooms where possible to allow kit to sit for the 72 hour window before being used again.
  • Two person lifts: training needed in correctly using PPE, but also, can you just say no to doing certain tasks. As has always been the case, you can refuse to do something if you don’t feel safe doing it, and it needs to be taken into consideration whether anyone in the team is vulnerable or has another concern around doing certain activities so that can be incorporated into planning.
  • Pre-visualisaiton option. Visualiser sessions with venue and production company to troubleshoot ahead of rig. New ETC Augment3d will provide a very useful tool for pre-viz. Kevin Smith may run training on this.
  • Need to consider bringing Chief LX on board earlier so that they are made more capable of stepping in.
  • With house comms, you have your labelled comms set for the day which you keep on you for the whole time you are in the venue. Venue will be responsible for cleaning comms.

 

Crew Perspective

Manual handling

 

Close contact work

 

  • Working in spaces safely – there were various discussions in TM group about handling equipment safely, one-touch focusing,
  • Whoever is C19 manager is on site, managing glove use, hygeine practices, etc.
  • Good hand hygiene and cleaning practices should be paramount as gloves can present an issue if used improperly.
  • Cleanliness of rigging gloves is a consideration.
  • Working in smaller teams separated through the venue or separated across the schedule.
  • Cover for all roles – going to need an associate LD who is at leas read in on your work so that they can step in as seamlessly as possible if required. Consider covering each other’s roles within productions or pairing up with other LDs/techs on other productions.
  • 2 way radios can minimise unnecesary contact and also minimise shouting (which increases droplet distribution).
  • Onus will be on venue to provide PPE for their own staff and production company to provide for theirs. As with previous health and safety regulations, the employer is responsible for supplying PPE.
  • Scheduling in and calling regular handwashing breaks and really tightening up hand and respiratory hygeine practices. Induction at start of day in the venue to lay down these practices.
  • Do new restrictions rule out double jobbing – personal choice to a degree, once you are being responsible. Need to consider possiblities of cross-contamination and contact tracing. The HSE define close contact as within 2m for cumulative 15 mins, or living with someone.
  • Though there are discussions around 1m vs 2m, we need to plan with the 2m in mind, even if it’s likely that the recommendation will drop to 1m.

 Supporting Freelance Workers, Pressure to Work While Symptomatic

  • Need to consider how to support the freelance community, as you are asking them to sign themselves off work and leave themselves potentially out of pocket if they have any symptoms.
  • People need to feel secure in declaring any illness or symptoms.
  • Building contingency into crew budget to pay people who need to self-isolate during a production.
  • All freelancers need clear contracts on being booked. It is a legal requirement to get a contract.
  • Should not be at the discretion of companies to honour payments. Should be a requirement.
  • Freelance Taskforce UK. Some of the bigger companies are sponsoring a freelancer as rep for other freelancers. Need to be vocal and advocate for each other and ourselves. Would representation for freelancers be a possibility?
  • A post from the Arts Council which gives clarity on the ‘pay the artist’ concept is worth looking at.
  • “We strongly encourage people to honour their agreements, even where not fully contracted, with creative and technical freelancers across all art forms. Those disbursed funds must reach those most in need”
  • http://www.artscouncil.ie/blog/directors-blog-21-may-2020/
  • If you haven’t already, fill out the arts workers’ census at www.epicwg.com.
  • Equity Ireland (connected to SIPTU) represent arts workers, including techs, crew etc, so look into joining the union.

 

Fringe shows /under -resourced productions

  • Covering all roles on and off stage is a large additional cost.
  • Comms radio systems are a big enough investment for a small company.

 

Shared Concerns

Production Desks

Tech Box

Green Rooms

Shared Tools

Production budgeting and planning

 

  • Sharing tools is no longer a possibility. Is there a generic list of tools that everyone should have, and if so is there support for people to buy them? Does the production company provide tools? A question of forward planning to ensure that everyone has the tools they need to complete their jobs. Tools can be borrowed, but need to be cleaned between uses.
  • Ventilation is a serious consideration with tech boxes. If there is poor ventilation it will have to be single occupancy. Only essential people in the space. LX in box, Sound in auditorium, SM in SM position.
  • We’re at a good turning point to make things the way we have wanted them for a long time. As always money is a consideration, but we don’t want to come out of this and revert back to SMs op-ing, doing laundry etc. for example.
  • One person testing positive may shut down a show, depending on role. If they are a key cast member who has had contact with everyone, then absolutely, but if it’s a prop-buyer and they have followed cleaning practices before anything went to rehearsal room then maybe not. This is also where secondary teams come into play. Even if you test negative, you’re in isolation for 14 days because you have to wait for a second test to confirm.
  • Arts Council and Theatre Forum have been discussing contract clauses around potential cancellation of shows mid-production as it has become much more likely.
  • Need clear criteria on when a show is pulled. Incorporated into company C19 policy?
  • Scale of production will be changing enormously, bringing smaller companies and lower financial risk.
  • Any employer has to have a Covid-19 officer. Could this be a new freelance position? Training available (and necessary). Compliance requires buy-in from everyone, just as health and safety practices require buy-in from everyone, it can’t fall to one person to police everyone’s practice.
  • Implementation of all of these things is a massive question, as it comes down to budget at the end of the day. Heavy AC subsidy will be necessary to offset guarantees since box office income will be low – a lot of the C19 compliance and support solutions rely almost entirely on Arts Council support.
  • When bursaries and so forth start to appear, read “artist” as “arts worker” and don’t compartmentalise yourself out of applying.
  • Need to cost productions and build compliance and contingency into budgets at AC application stage. Ideal situation, and we need to fight for this and avoid having people cut corners to redistribute budget. Feasibility assessment needs to be addressed at arts council application assessment stage – need to look more closely at budget submissions in assessing applications.
  • With regards to audience social distancing, there is work being done to look at households vs individual bookers and general distribution of seating, but it is something that won’t be firmed up until further down the line.
  • Widespread offering of additional training across the board has been very positive, and will be increasingly necessary when it comes to upskilling to tackle work in a post-Covid environment.
  • Anyone who is in a position to advocate for proper crew booking should.
  • This is an opportunity to change our industry for the better.
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