Special Effects

The use of special effects equipment requires specialist care and training. The use of materials such as pyrotechnics is controlled by law and all the statutory requirements must be followed.

Pyrotechnics, etc.

No special effects such as pyrotechnics, flash bombs, smoke bombs, smoke machines or effects or candles / naked flames should ever be used in a performance space or in any University premises or grounds unless there has been approval by a member of staff. If approval is sought from the academic leader of the project they will need to contact both the technicians and Technical Services Manager for agreement; you must not proceed until this agreement has been given.

Smoking On Stage

Smoking on stage will only be permitted after consultation with the project leader, the technical staff and permission received from the Head of School. Please remember that the University has a no smoking policy.

Smoke Effects

If you would like to use smoke effects in an activity you will need to advise the technical team at least two weeks prior to the event. The technical team will work with you to ascertain what it is you require and if it will be possible; this will involve risk assessing the activity in regards to Control of Substances Hazardous to Health regulations (COSHH) and control of potential exposure. In addition you and the technical team will work with the University Estates team on planning control measures regarding fire alarm activation and awareness of the activity taking place.

The following should be considered:

  • Limiting the amount of smoke/vapour to the minimum necessary for the desired effect.
  • Direct and control smoke effects towards the desired location to prevent overspill into audience areas.
  • Printed warnings (if the activity will be advertised to the public this will need to be stated on all marketing material).
  • Warning notices on the premises (reinforced by verbal warnings before the performance if this is considered necessary).

Strobe Effects

The use of strobe effects is discouraged as they can make people feel unwell and can, in some cases, trigger epileptic fits. If permission is given for strobes to be used the following must be adhered to:

  • Never use at frequencies above 8hz;
  • Never use for longer than 20 seconds at a time, and
  • Always display warning signs at all entrances warning that strobe effects will be used in the performance. This should also be included in any programmes and publicity material you produce.

As always, the technical team are happy to answer any questions and provide support.

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