Support for a Safe Re-Opening of Canadian Performing Arts Sector

Engaging with stage hands and backstage employees

Maintaining ongoing dialogue with stagehands and backstage employees is an essential part of the successful re-opening of performing arts venues. Although each venue will develop their own external and internal communications strategy to address their particular situation and context, below is a checklist of potential communication elements to consider when engaging with backstage employees around re-opening.

This checklist should be considered in addition to the section regarding engagement with employees.

During the pre-production phase

  • Communicate the Health and Safety protocols in place at the venue and outline all of the modifications to access, procedures and policies in place at the venue to protect artists, audiences and employees in response to the pandemic. (See the Backstage tab in the audit forms for list of potential elements to be addressed).
  • Outline provincial and municipal health and safety jurisdiction of venue. Provide links to those websites. Include all information relative to legal compliance with health and safety regulations as well as travel restrictions. If organizing a tour, include information on health and safety regulations and travel restrictions of various cities and/or provinces.
  • Develop an expected code of conduct for all backstage employees during the pandemic. Indicate any disciplinary action should there be non-compliance of the code.
  • Maintain regular communications with employees regarding the organization's response status. 
  • Execute a safety audit of all backstage areas and elements specific to the production.
  • Develop a set of safe work protocols for each department taking into consideration scheduling, size of workforce, size of work area, and logistics between the departments or workforce.

On site and production phases

  • Provide an orientation to all permanent and casual employees of each backstage department prior to the beginning of each shift regarding health and safety procedures, protocol and expectations backstage and in the workshops. This is of extreme importance as the physical environment during mounting of a production constantly changes.
  • The individual(s) responsible for each department will be the health coordinator, they will monitor compliance with health and safety regulations and protocol, manage and distribute required PPE and monitor or issue reminders to self-monitor for illness.
  • Review the safe working practices developed on a daily basis particularly those specific to the requirements of the production being mounted. 

After the set-up or performance

  • Develop a strategy to follow up with employees following work calls or a performance.
  • Remind them to disclose any illness to their supervisor should they become ill in the days following their shift . Outline the public health authorities best practices for contact tracing being followed by venue and/or duty to disclose health incidents at venue.