Convenor: Kaz Luckins (STAGEFIGHT)
Participants: Paula Wharton, Olivia Winteringham & Frank Bramwell
*How important is it?
*Is it seen as a safety issue?
*Are companies like Stagefight important?
*Do people see untrained techniques as dangerous?
Stagefight as a company regard the safety of performers as paramount. Our mantra is:
IF IT CAN’T BE DONE SAFELY, DON”T DO IT AT ALL! Although we teach a number of techniques, I was keen to get across that my concern today was addressing the safety and wellbeing of performers.
If a performer gets injured it can result in them not being able to work. Something as simple as a real slap on the face can result in about a dozen injuries alone, and unfortunately this kind of real conflict is seen as acceptable by some directors and performers. But the truth is the audience still want that “willing suspension of disbelief” when they see someone slapped for real, they spend the next 10 minutes or so worrying about that actor’s wellbeing, instead of concentrating on the plot unfolding. It makes an audience member insecure if they think the person has been hurt for real.
Having run quite a solo session of just me and my thoughts, and one floater who gave a resounding YES to my question before resigning to the lure of coffee, I was pleased to be joined by a few more participants.
We agreed that we had seen many examples of dangerous stage combat practice that resulted in a poor artistic presentation as well as the audience fearing for the performer’s safety. It was commented that with “high end” productions like Lord of the Rings for example, the importance of safety would not be questioned, so why doesn’t this filter down to smaller shows and companies? “High end” productions are artistically effective and the safety of the performer’s is of the utmost importance. Stagefight want this to be the case for smaller productions and companies.
It was also commented that people were not aware that Stagefight the company existed and especially that they are based in the Midlands.
Try and raise people’s awareness of Stagefight as a company and what we do. Promote the fact that we are based in the Midlands, so people don’t have to book London companies. Make performers more aware of being concerned for their safety in performance and not to be bullied into using unsafe techniques that could cause injury.