So often this year, we have felt like we’re building the plane as we fly. But building and solving challenges—with a focus on safety—is what we do best.
Clayton Center for the Arts approached us last fall about inspection and training on site in Maryville, TN. The 123,038 sq ft Center, which includes a 1,200 seat proscenium theatre and a 250 seat recital hall on the campus of Maryville College, supports college arts programs, community arts organizations, and touring shows.
As often happens, the venue struggled to find time in their schedule to support such work. But by early 2020, the project was officially scheduled for June.
By mid March, much of the current Flyhouse training work had been postponed. The Clayton Center project, still a few months away, remained tentatively on schedule.
As both the level of risk and the applicable state orders evolved, we moved forward with a careful trip to the Maryville to conduct the inspection. We also used our time onsite to prepare for and design custom online training specifically for the Clayton Center.
While much of our content is theoretical in nature and can be easily adapted for online presentation, one of the real benefits of in-person training is hands-on demonstrations. The Clayton Center has a large stage with 36 line sets, and they hired Flyhouse to demonstrate best practices for loading, unloading and managing weight when installing challenging scenery.
Flyhouse tapped one of our Associate Trainers to do just that. Having just been onsite at the Center, he was able to set up remote training from his base at Ohio Northern University, and effectively demonstrate the principles of safely using the Center’s counterweight system to the remote audience. With simple modifications and creative problem solving, we were able to meet the needs of the client while still keeping everyone involved safe.
The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged us to have to think quickly, and has also provided us an opportunity to help the industry—making a fast transition to online training. Within a week of Illinois restrictions in place, we began offering free online training nearly every weekday. So far, we have developed nine free courses on common rigging topics.
We soon realized that we had more to offer. Our Premium classes explore topics with greater focus and depth, and a wider pool of trainers, at the lowest possible cost. With the popularity and success of the Flyhouse Online Training program, we continue to develop new courses—particularly those not commonly offered around the industry.
While fall protection training is widely available, few sessions discuss how to set up an institutional program to manage fall protection in your venue. We filled the void by creating a course specifically on the topic. Many riggers note how rare good automation training is across the industry, so we have developed a whole track of automation classes. Building a new venue or renovating an old one can be a complex process. Most only go through it once or twice in their careers, with no real understanding of the process as a whole. We have designed a class that walks participants through every stage of process.
We strive to be responsive to which topics offer the most value to out-of-work members of our industry, helping them build skills and improve marketable talents so that when works returns, they will be ready.
ONLINE TRAINING BY THE NUMBERS:
• 65 Sessions
– 47 Free
– 18 Premium
• 8,623 Person Hours of Training
– 7,244 Free
• 4,142 Attendees
• 814 ETCP Credits to 81 Certified Riggers
• 38 countries
• 45 US states
• 6 Canadian provinces
• members of 50 IATSE locals
Our audience covers riggers from every sector of the entertainment industry—from regional theaters to universities, vendors to high schools. We have trained aerialists, engineers, stagehands, carpenters, electricians, audio and video technicians, safety professionals, and students.
We are incredibly proud of what we have offered so far, and we look forward to continuing to support our industry. That’s how we fly.