USA - Improving safety conditions for technical staff members has always been a primary goal at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. When timing and budgets came together after the annual production of A Christmas Carol opened in November 2012, they called Sapsis Rigging, Inc.

Sapsis installed fall arrest equipment in both performance spaces at the Goodman - the 856-seat Albert Ivar Goodman Theatre's proscenium stage, and the flexible thrust-style stage in the (maximum) 450-seat Owen Bruner Goodman Theatre.

Daniel Porter, one of the ETCP-certified rigging professionals on the Sapsis staff, supervised the entire installation. He and his crew placed eight ProPlus horizontal lifelines on the Albert's catwalk, balcony rail, and loading bridge, as well as 36 ProPlus self-retracting lifelines (SRLs). These SRLs feature a dual inertia braking system, which stops a fall with minimal impact to the technician's body.

In the Owen Theatre, Porter and his crew installed eight horizontal lifelines and 20 self-retracting lifelines, to keep electricians and other technicians safe while working on ladders above the stage and house. The Goodman installation took a total of ten days to complete.

"The Goodman leadership knew that fall arrest is a necessary part of keeping technicians safe," said Bill Sapsis, president of Sapsis Rigging. "Having this safety equipment in place gives production managers one less thing to worry about when the crew is working long hours during a fast turnaround."

"When we had the opportunity to take this step, the first call we made was to Sapsis Rigging," said Scott Conn, the Goodman Theatre's production manager. "Bill knew exactly what we needed, and the staff worked within our time frame to get the job done - right in the middle of our Christmas production season, when we had performances on both stages. The installation was fast, easy, and expertly done. The result gives us real peace of mind."

(Jim Evans)

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