Open Forum

Insects and Outdoor Theatre

  • 1.  Insects and Outdoor Theatre

    Posted 04-16-2021 15:17
    Hello!

    What is your experience keeping your actors and audience insect free during outdoor productions? We are in woodsy CT which equals tick haven. Thanks in advance for some tips!

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    Christina Vincent
    Director of Theatre
    The Woodhall School
    Bethlehem, CT
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  • 2.  RE: Insects and Outdoor Theatre

    Posted 04-17-2021 06:17
    Having worked in outdoor theater for many years, bug spray, citronella candles, and the audience doing the same is the economical way.
    You could use hose end sprays like yard guard if you wanted to go further. There is no real good answer

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    Jerry Onik
    V.P. Theatrical Supplies and Equipment
    Heartland Scenic Studio
    Omaha NE
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  • 3.  RE: Insects and Outdoor Theatre

    Posted 29 days ago
    We have a long-running outdoor summer community theatre that is under a bunch of oak trees and backs up to cow pastures. Everyone in the cast brings bug spray (good stuff, like actual DEET or picaridin) and there's always extra back stage. The audience knows to spray up before hand as well. Of course, our audience is used to it after almost 70 years, so you may want to communicate clearly on your web site and ticketing platform. During outdoor rehearsals, encourage your actors to wear hats or head scarves (I swear we have ticks that drop out of the trees), long pants, and to do tick checks after every rehearsal/show. Ahh, the glamor of outdoor theatre!

    I do think they spray part of the stage if there's a particularly bad infestation -- I remember a swarm of flying ants nested on a tree down stage that we had to get rid of.

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    Cassy Maxton-Whitacre
    Theatre Department Coordinator
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  • 4.  RE: Insects and Outdoor Theatre

    Posted 28 days ago
    I work at the same outdoor theatre as Cassy, but have seen it from a director/producer viewpoint.  One of the preshow tasks is to spray the stage and audience area using a fogger about two hours before each show.  This is only done for shows and not for rehearsals.

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    Amy Neal Bussey
    Theatre Director, English and Drama Teacher
    Stuarts Draft High School
    Stuarts Draft, Virginia
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  • 5.  RE: Insects and Outdoor Theatre

    Posted 29 days ago
    Spray, spray again, then spray again.  Daily if you have to.  Start a week ahead of time to let the chemicals do their job.  Make sure you don't have any standing water for mosquitoes to set-up camp in, too.  Setting a perimeter of mosquito attractant traps (borax solutions) 30-50 feet out from your seating area, too, can draw the suckers away from your audience / crew.  Spreading ant killer on the ground can keep mounds from forming.

    For your crew, I suggest purchasing some clothes with permethrin treatment in them, as this is a good way to discourage bugs.  You can get socks, pants, shirts, and hats with this treatment.  There is also a spray-on version for treating existing clothing and costumes (Sawyer Products).

    If you have a tech area (booth) out in the audience, lay down a tarp that is about twice the size of the tech area -- this makes it more difficult for crawly things to get to the techs as they work.


    As far as outdoor theatre goes, the only good bug is a dead bug.

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    Erich Friend
    Theatre Consultant
    Teqniqal Systems LLC
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  • 6.  RE: Insects and Outdoor Theatre

    Posted 28 days ago
    Thanks everyone! These suggestions are incredibly helpful!

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    Christina Vincent
    Director of Theatre
    The Woodhall School
    Bethlehem, CT
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