An Oxford drama production company has been banned from using Keble’s O’Reilly Theatre after two cast members “verbally abused” technical staff.
The unidentified group was removing sets and equipment after a recent performance, a process known as a “get-out”.
The technicians were reprimanding a male cast member for walking underneath a flybar in a ‘limbo’ motion when the incident occurred.
According to an email from Alex Bucknell, President of TAFF (a group representing set designers and stage staff), “it became apparent that multiple members of the cast had been drinking alcohol during the get-out”.
He described the consumption of alcohol as “absolutely unacceptable”. He also defended student technicians, claiming that “get-ins and get-outs from many shows would be far slower, more strenuous and much less efficient” without their efforts.
The production company was also fined their damage deposit, as well as the indefinite ban.
Emma Brand, President of the Martin Esslin Society (which runs the O’Reilly during term time), also condemned the incident.
“It was a serious breach of health and safety regulations and a serious display of discourtesy towards the technical staff,” she said.
“As the letter stated, the production company have been penalised accordingly.”
“I hope the letter will make student companies more conscientious about following health and safety regulations, and more aware of how the technical staff deserve to be treated,” she added.
Mary Flanigan, the University Drama Officer, said it is “important that the cast and the technical team of any production treat each other with mutual respect.”
“This was an isolated incident where high spirits got out of hand, and I believe that the venue, the production company, TAFF and myself all consider the matter closed,” she added.
Bucknell asserted that “this was an isolated and thankfully rare event”, and said “the vast majority of cast and crew members are extremely cooperative during get-outs and are appreciative of the contribution made by student technicians.”
The O’Reilly has a capacity of 181 and performs around four student productions per term.