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USITT Offers High Schools Free Stage Rigging Inspections

USA – High schools that applied for free stage rigging inspections from USITT cited problems ranging from “ropes seem loose” to “cable cradle has slipped” to “noisy metal grinding sound.”

One school listed “nothing specific” under safety concerns, but the date its rigging system was installed and the date of last inspection were the same: 1998. Another said its rigging system was installed in 1969, but under ‘date of last inspection’ wrote “Unknown.”

These are the reasons for USITT’s Rigging Safety Initiative, a programme devoted to increasing stage safety at schools across America. The programme recently approved ten more secondary schools for free inspections and safety training for staff and students.

The ten new RSI approved schools are:

  • Cypress Falls High School in Houston, TX.
  • Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, CA.
  • Fort Atkinson High School in Fort Atkinson, WI.
  • Grand Ledge High School in Grand Ledge, MI.
  • Middlesex County Vocational/Technical School in East Brunswick, NJ.
  • Murray High School in Murray, UT.
  • Roberts Street Elementary & Jr/Sr High School in Canastota, NY.
  • Toms River High School North in Toms River, NJ.
  • Willow Ridge High School in Houston, TX.
  • West Genesee High School in Camillus, NY.

USITT started the programme in 2011 and has since approved over 100 schools for free inspections by its partner rigging companies, which charge USITT a reduced rate. The programme is sponsored by JR Clancy, ETC, Shepard Exposition Services, and H&H Specialties, as well as individual donors.

Often, a school’s theatre or auditorium rigging falls under the purview of its drama programme, whose leader may be a teacher or band director with no rigging training. With tighter budgets and staff changes, regular inspections of the rigging system used to hang and move heavy backdrops, curtains, lighting, and sound equipment over the stage often fall by the wayside.

USITT’s goals include ensuring that no school’s rigging system goes un-inspected for lack of funding, and instilling best stage safety practices at the high school level. The programme is open to all secondary schools nationwide.

The next round of RSI applications opens in Fall 2016. Visit for info.

18th April 2016

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