February 03, 2015 - 7:30 PM
KAMLOOPS – Backstage areas of the Sagebrush Theatre do not meet industry standards and will need to be replaced before workers are allowed access to the building’s catwalk, a WorkSafe B.C. investigation has revealed.
The investigation began following a work-related fall in December. The woman, who fell over 25 feet, has not returned to work since the Dec. 6 incident but Catrina Crowe, a spokesperson for the Western Canada Theatre, said the woman is still recovering from her injuries and is expected to return to work soon.
The manager of health and safety for School District 73, one of three partners in running the theatre, said ladders and part of the catwalk will be replaced in the coming months to meet industry standards. Until then, stagehands will not be permitted to access certain areas of the theatre as ladders are blocked off.
“There were a few different areas where there were deficiencies,” Michelle Marginet said. “It’s been closed off since the day of the incident.”
Four different ladders with heights varying from 10 feet to 30 feet have been purchased to replace those that did not pass inspection and are expected to be installed by April. Meanwhile the catwalk system will require more work.
“We’re not fully sure if we’ll replace the system or retrofit the existing one there,” Marginet said.
Depending on what the decision is, she said the area may not be functional until July or August.
Western Canada Theatre productions haven’t stopped at the theatre since the accident. The show Peter and the Starcatcher continued with its scheduled performances, though Marginet said the closure of the upper walkway could impact lighting for future shows. Until renovations are completed, stagehands cannot adjust certain lighting areas or change burnt out bulbs.
“To my untrained eye it looks just fine, but it is challenging for them,” Marginet said.
While challenging, they make it work.
"We have quite a creative crew," Crowe said. "Certainly it would be nice to have it all. We're always having to come up with inventive ways to make it look as good as the big guys."
Total improvement costs have not yet been tallied and Crowe said it has yet to be determined which agency will provide the funds necessary for the renovations. The Sagebrush Theatre is a three-way partnership between School District 73, the City of Kamloops and the Western Canada Theatre Company, which manages the day-to-day operations.
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