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The Negative Impacts of Ignoring Risk Mitigation in Educational Theater

In educational theater, failing to take necessary measures to mitigate risks can have significant short-term and long-term negative consequences. Ignoring risk management not only jeopardizes the safety of the students and staff involved but also opens the institution up to potential legal and financial repercussions.

According to O’Neil and McDonnell (2015), risk management is the process of identifying, assessing, and controlling risks. It is essential in any organization, particularly those that involve children, to ensure safety and prevent harm. In educational theater, potential risks may include hazards such as tripping hazards on stage, the misuse of props, and insufficient lighting, among others.

In the short term, ignoring risk management in educational theater can lead to immediate harm to students and staff, including injuries or accidents on stage. For example, a student actor may trip on a prop or fall on an uneven stage surface, leading to broken bones, sprains, or other injuries. In addition, the potential harm of not mitigating risk extends beyond physical injuries. The stress and anxiety caused by an unsafe environment can negatively affect the mental health of both students and staff, leading to decreased performance and engagement in the arts (Dollinger & Orsi, 2020).

In the long term, ignoring risk management can lead to a tarnished reputation, loss of funding, and even lawsuits. For example, in 2019, a high school in Ohio faced a lawsuit after a student suffered a serious injury during a performance due to a lack of safety precautions (Kovac, 2019). Such incidents can have lasting effects on the institution and the individuals involved.

To prevent these negative consequences, educational institutions must prioritize risk management in their theater programs. This can include implementing safety protocols and regular inspections, providing training to students and staff on safe practices, and regularly updating equipment and facilities. In addition, institutions should consider creating a dedicated position or team responsible for risk management and ensuring that all staff and students are aware of the policies and procedures in place (Jones & Pekar, 2021).

In conclusion, the short-term and long-term negative consequences of ignoring risk mitigation in educational theater are significant. Failing to prioritize risk management not only endangers the safety of students and staff but also has the potential to lead to legal and financial repercussions. By implementing proper risk management protocols and ensuring that all individuals involved are aware of them, institutions can provide a safe and positive environment for students to engage in the arts.


Dollinger, S. J., & Orsi, R. (2020). Occupational stressors of professional theatre designers: A pilot study. Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, 11(1), 21-36.

Jones, C., & Pekar, J. (2021). Risk management in the theatre. Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society, 51(2), 109-123.

Kovac, M. (2019, May 6). High school facing lawsuit over stage safety after student injury. NBC4 WCMH-TV. Retrieved from

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