UK entertainment lighting supplier White Light is offering a Stage Pyrotechnics training course at the New Wimbledon Theatre in south London on Friday July 29th July, in conjunction with the Ambassador Theatre Group.
White Light's Training Initiative aims to make "real world" expertise available to those taking part in its training. In this case, the course is being run by pyrotechnics experts JustFX, who provide pyrotechnics and special effects for conferences, concerts, shows and television, outdoor special effects for films, events, and air shows as well as pyrotechnic training courses.
The one-day course includes both teaching and practical elements. In the morning, presentations cover practicalities such as pyrotechnic history, testing, paperwork, storage, the law, risk assessments, material safety (COSHH) and transport emergency cards (TREM) as well as demonstrations of a range of devices from manufacturers including LeMaitre, Skyhigh, Theatrical Pyrotechnics, Wells, and LunaTech.
After lunch, delegates are separated into small groups for a more practical hands-on session; they are equipped with control systems and pyrotechnic devices and required to set-up and ignite effects in what JustFX describe as a "not too serious competitive manner." The aim is for delegates to demonstrate their ability and understanding of the practical and safety issues taught in the morning session. The day ends with the groups re-joined to work together to create a small presentation using professional devices including grid rockets, flames, airbursts, saxon wheels, waterfalls, mines, and comets.
The course is already proving very popular, with places being taken by staff from The Ambassador Theatre Group theatre chain and staff from White Light itself. The remaining places are available at a price of £120+VAT, which includes a buffet lunch in the middle of the day.
"Of all of the things that those working backstage are asked to do, firing pyrotechnics is clearly one of the most potentially dangerous," comments White Light's production manager Jon Coventry, who organized the course. "Most people are lucky most of the time, but increasing health-and-safety legislation as well as common sense show that luck isn't the best way of being safe. Instead, why not come and learn how to do it properly from the experts?" Those who take the course will receive a certificate of training at the end of the day.