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CWC leading way in theater safety nationwide

January 1, 2013

Central Wyoming College Technical Theater Director Chontelle Gray’s efforts of building a culture of safety at CWC have been recognized nationally and she has been asked to promote it to academic and professional theater and entertainment companies across the country.

Gray, who served on a safety panel at a recent meeting of the U.S. Institute for Theater Technology (USITT), talked about CWC’s required OSHA training for theater students, which generated interest from participants.

As a result of the discussion, Gray has been asked to team teach with a Yale University theater safety specialist on methods of incorporating safety courses into college theater curriculum. “We should be seeing the trend grow among other colleges and universities across the country,” Gray said, adding the technical theater union IATSE is also beginning to collaborate on the project.

Gray and fellow panelists from Disney, Cirque du Soleil and Northwestern University, also discussed the role of safety in the theater design process. The panelists, along with the head of safety at NBC Universal, are now preparing for future conference discussions on design and safety collaboration.

In addition to her future roles with USITT conferences, Gray is also working on an alliance with the theater organization and OSHA. “We will be creating educational information on several industry specific concerns,” she said.

Gray is also a member of the newly formed Entertainment Safety Alliance and is working on a guide outlining best practices for the industry.

“It is very exciting to be part of this safety movement,” she said. “It is fun to see the attitude toward safety change for the better.”