International Advocacy for Fire Prevention: Calculating Risk and Brokering Best Practices in Theatres

Tracy C Davis

Abstract


The history of globalised theatre is not merely a history of how the circulation of aesthetics, human talent, and repertoires is facilitated by agents whose enterprise situates people and productions into networked premises. There is another facet that is scientifically oriented and empirically objectified, yet dependent upon human agency to create international comparability of standards. As such, fire prevention initiatives—which address the cityscape generally yet also prioritise theatres as sites of concern—bring together people from the building and design professions, engineering and materials research, civic administration, insurance and actuarial industry, and fire fighters as cultural mediators to determine, advocate, and proliferate standards for public safety. The history of these efforts coincides with international expansion of theatrical touring networks, yet is not an adjunct of that story. Instead, I argue that recognising the movement to identify and proliferate “best practices” for fire prevention is an important yet overlooked aspect of internationalism and knowledge circulation affiliated with discourse about the public sphere. Tracy C. Davis has a particular interest in performance theory, theatre historiography and research methodology, She is Barber Professor of Performing Arts and Professor of Theatre and English at Northwestern University (Evanston IL.)


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