Welcome to my professional theatre safety expert witness website.
I research, interview, inspect, write reports, give depositions, mediations, and testify in cases involving accidents in the entertainment business.
Author: Safety in Entertainment Environments – White Paper
• 2018 / Confidential Casework
• 2017 / Injury of beauty pagaent contestant when she fell into an orchestra pit.
• 2016 / Injury of a conference attendee. Backstage injury of an actress.
• 2015 / Injury of a stage technician who fell off of a stage.
• 2015 / Stage related injury of a cruise ship passenger.
• 2014 / Injury of a performer on a cruise ship.
• 2012 / Injury of performer Bret Michaels during the 2009 Tony Awards. Video
• 1999 / Injury of an actor who fell off of a stage.
• Consultant: Event Safety Guide for the Event Safety Alliance
My experience in leadership positions began with the responsibility of being a stage manager for the theatre. With that comes the responsibility of creating and managing a safe environment for all participants.
As my career progressed, I had positions of greater responsibility including: Production Stage Manager, Special Event Manager, Production Manager, Producer, Head of a Graduate Stage Management Program, and Professor. These positions required me to be responsible for the safety of performance venues, large–scale–international special events, and educational performance complexes.
Moreover, as a tenured professor, I am responsible for teaching students how to create and manage safe entertainment environments.
I welcome the opportunity to explore a working relationship with you.
A summary of my litigation cases is available upon request.
Safety in Entertainment Environments – White Paper Preview
This paper focuses on safety in environments where entertainment is prepared and performed for live audiences.
The intent is to provide lawyers with insights into the experience and thought processes of Professor David C. Pecoraro as an expert witness in cases involving accidents in entertainment environments. It is not intended to be all inclusive or applicable to any specific incident.
Safety in the entertainment business has a history of unsafe practices. Due to the high visibility nature of entertainment, these accidents often occur in the public eye. The technology of our world today contributes to our awareness with the wide use of photo and video capturing devices that many people have with them at all times.
The cruise line industry was safer after the Titanic and theater buildings were designed to prevent fires after the Iroquois Theatre Fire of 1903. Yet, in the 2011, The Indiana, Sugarland Stage Collapse Tragedy, we can see that there is much work to be done to make entertainment safer. Rolling Stone wrote: “Unfortunately, stage accidents are not uncommon in the industry, although the Indiana tragedy did spur a closer look into concert conditions and regulations.” I am proud to have contributed to that “closer look” with the Event Safety Alliance.
The very nature of how stage productions are planned and executed can contribute to accidents.
• Productions exist in a deadline driven environment.
• A production that is being produced for the first time has no history of safety practices.
• A production that has been performing for thousands of times must fight complacency.
• The personnel involved in a production is ever changing.
• Management and employees often have little or no prior accident prevention training.
• Rehearsals and performances have unpredictable variables.
All to often, during an accident investigation the same phrases are spoken: “We were told, the show must go on.” “Don’t call the Fire Marshall.” “That’s how we’ve always done it.”
72 possible Questions to ask in an entertainment injury case:
Production elements are unique to each work of entertainment. They are conceived by Designers who specialize in each area. Their design decisions are based upon information they receive from Producers, Artistic Directors, Directors, Production Managers, scripts, scores and Performing Artists. The designs are approved by various personnel who are supervising them and are constructed by a shop specializing in each area. The installation of the designs occurs by a crew of specialized technicians into a venue where the final rehearsals and performances occur. A production that is on tour will travel with supervisory technicians and hire temporary help at each location.
Management Any person in a leadership position with supervisory responsibilities within an entertainment organization. These are the leaders responsible for the safety of all persons working for them. Section 2.0.6. in the Event Safety Guide states: “Successful safety policies in the workplace are most often the result of appropriate choices being made continuously by the individuals performing the work. So, an essential safety device on a job site is an alert, well-trained, well-equipped and engaged staff.”
Responsible personnel can include: Promoter, Venue, Owner, General Manager, Company Manager, Producer, Artistic Director, Director, Music Director, Choreographer, Dance Captain, Combat Instructor, Organizer, Production Manager, Stage Manager, Assistant Stage Manager, Production Assistant, Technical Director, Teacher, Organizer, Union, and Volunteer Coordinator.
01. What formal education does the manager have?
What are their degrees? Where and when did they receive them? Continuing education?
02. What prior experience does the manager have with projects like the one where the injury occurred?
03. How long had they been working on the project when the accident occurred?
04. What professional organizations does the manager belong to?
05. Is the manager aware of industry safety and accident prevention practices?
Have they attended any industry conferences? Did they provide adequate security?
06. Has the manager had safety and accident prevention training?
07. On previous projects where they have been responsible, what accidents have occurred?
08. Did the manager communicate to their employees their philosophy on safety in the entertainment business?
09. Did the manager include safety and accident prevention in the job search / description for the
10. Did the employee receive safety and accident prevention instruction when they were hired?
Complete white paper available upon request.
KEYWORDS pertaining to my expert safety work:
Accident Prevention, Accidents, Actor, Analysis, Audio, Campus Safety, Choreography, College, Combat, Concert Injury, Consultant, Costumes, Court, Cruise Ships, Dance,Dancer, Deposition, Design, Drama, Edge of Stage, Education, EFX, High School, Junior High School, Jr. High School, Higher Education, Intermediate School, Employee Safety, Edge of Stage, Entertainment Industry, Events Management, Expert Witness, Expert Witness Report, Facility Management, Fall, Fall On Same Level, Fall From Elevation, Falling off of a Stage, Falls, Federal Court, Flying, High School, Injury, Ladder Safety, Lighting, Makeup, Music Industry, Night Clubs, OHSA, Orchestra Pit, Personal Injury, Prop, Properties, Public Safety, Railing, Research, Rigging, Safety, Risk, Risk Management, Safety Education, Sight Inspection, Secondary Education, Secondary School, Sound, Special Effects, Stage, Stage Combat, Stage Fight, SM, ASM, S.M., A.S.M., Stage Management, Teacher, Theater, Theatre, Theatre Arts, Theatre Education, Opera, Producing, Production, Production Assistant, Technical Director, Theme Parks, Trial, Trips, University, Wires, Worker Safety, Workplace Safety