Our Staff

    • Glen Rowe

      Glen Rowe

      Managing Director

      Muse tour director and Cato Music founder Glen Rowe was appointed MD of Backstage Academy in October 2016.

      Glen Rowe started out in music with the dream of being a legendary drummer like his idols Keith Moon & John Bonham. Alas, that was not to be… Although he’d been touring since 1991 with his own bands, his first proper job in the live business was selling t-shirts for the Manic Street Preachers in 1994. From there, he went on to become the Manics’ drum tech before graduating to their tour manager & for a host of bands – The Thrills, Ronnie Wood, Ginger Baker, Hard-Fi, The Kooks, Magic Numbers, Amy MacDonald, Gareth Gates, and so many more that have been lost to time. He has even production managed the Pope’s only UK show.

      In recent years, his career focus has been two-fold: running his ever-expanding touring and production company CATO Music, recently acquired by Production Park, and being the Tour Director for one of the biggest rock bands on the planet, MUSE. He has just come to the end of the 19 month award-winning Drones tour which saw MUSE perform their high energy and technically advanced show to hundreds of thousands of fans across the world.

      A passionate advocate for supporting young bands and educating future backstage talent, Glen set up the Cato Academy – the only Roadie School in the world – where he hopes to train up the headliners and their support crew for Glastonbury & Reading festivals for years yet to come.

    • Sara Gleadhall

      Sara Gleadhall

      Business Development Director

      Sara has enjoyed a successful career in the music and live events industry, both in freelance production work and as Operation Manager for The Music Factory Entertainment Group in South Yorkshire. Sara joined Backstage Academy in February 2012. Outside her full-time role, Sara pursues her passion for working in live events, fulfilling various roles at some of the UK’s biggest events. Her portfolio includes working with The BBC, Radio One, Artist Needs Ltd and Live Nation in everything from artist liaison and tour management, to travel logistics and stage management.

    • Gareth Welbourn

      Gareth Welbourn

      Technical Director

      Gareth combines his full-time role as Technical Director at Backstage Academy with freelance work as a Technician in live events and theatre. He studied an HND in Electrical Mechanical Engineering at Oldham College, passing his spare time working at local concerts and venues as crew. After a short spell of working in alarms systems, he joined Doncaster College’s theatre department, working his way up to Senior Technician where he was responsible for looking after the operations and maintenance of their theatre spaces, recording studio, bookable equipment and their network of 200 Apple Macs. Whilst at Doncaster College, he carried on working freelance as a Technician for a range of companies doing complete AV installations, large concerts and festivals.
      After a month travelling around Australia, Gareth decided there was more to life than working in a college and made the jump to Backstage Academy as Technical Director and has never looked back!

    • Ria Forsyth

      Ria Forsyth

      Admissions & Commercial Officer

      Ria joined Backstage Academy in November 2012 as Course Administrator, she was then promoted to Administration Manager in 2013.  Her new role is Admissions & Commercial Officer where she is responsible for student admissions, open days, short courses, student job opportunities and much more! Outside of work Ria likes to go to the gym, socialise with friends and drink prosecco!

    • Jack Scarr

      Jack Scarr

      Marketing Manager

      Jack joined Backstage in February 2018 and is responsible for driving student recruitment through marketing activity. Jack oversees all marketing and communications for Backstage including student recruitment campaigns, our digital presence, social media, merchandise and events such as open days.

      Jack has worked in educational marketing for over 6 years with experience of marketing for schools, colleges, apprenticeships (intermediate to degree level) and skills show events.

      Jack has a MSc in Marketing and Management from the Bradford School of Management and a BA (Hons) in Philosophy with English from Manchester Metropolitan University.

    • Chris Madden

      Chris Madden

      Student Services Officer (Welfare & Wellbeing)

      Chris Madden is a registered psychotherapist specialising in educational counselling. Before re-training as a psychotherapist, Chris spent almost 20 years in the music and event industries, including roles in artist management and TV/radio promotion for Virgin Records.

      His combination of music industry and student welfare experience, within Russell Group universities such as Leeds and Sheffield, means he is perfectly placed for offering counselling and wellbeing support to our students in a fast moving and competitive industry.

    • Matthew Bate

      Matthew Bate

      Director of Operations and Student Services

      Matt joined Backstage Academy in September 2015 from the University of Exeter, where he was Vice-President and Executive Trustee of the Students’ Guild. During his time leading this £5m organisation, he developed an in-depth knowledge of Higher Education and established many of the areas in his remit as nationally sector leading.

      He is now oversees the day-to-day operation of all courses, and is responsible for maintaining a high quality student experience and support service at Backstage Academy. This includes support for students with disabilities or learning difficulties, to make sure that everyone has a fair chance to succeed on the course.

      In his spare time, Matt is an officer in the Royal Naval Reserves and enjoys hill walking, cycling and sailing.

    • Emily Lynch

      Emily Lynch

      Academic Officer

      Emily joined Backstage Academy as Office Junior/Administration Assistant in November 2015 – but has recently changed roles to Academic Officer. Her role involves assisting the Academic team in several aspects of course/timetable administration. Prior to this she studied A Levels in ICT and German, and worked as a Receptionist/Administrator for three and a half years. Emily is a keen music fan (particularly Morrissey!) and enjoys going to concerts and festivals. In her spare time, she enjoys looking after her 10 chickens and a nice cup of tea and a good book. She is also currently studying for a BA Hons Degree in English Literature.

    • Johnny Goodwin

      Johnny Goodwin

      Live Events Production Course Leader

      Johnny began his career in live events production in 1992 after completing his Physics doctorate at Manchester University. He has been a core member of creative teams making indoor and outdoor theatre, dance, opening ceremonies and large-scale spectacles, and specialises in work designed for a large audience. As a production manager he has delivered a diverse range of festivals and has an extensive knowledge of the infrastructure and operational planning required for large-scale, unique and unusual events. Johnny also has a portfolio of work as a lighting designer and has animated many iconic buildings and bridges with light, music, performance, fireworks and special effects. His career has taken him across the world to places like Singapore, Mexico and Pakistan, but he also has a current role-call of clients across the UK, from Brighton to Edinburgh.

    • Gabriel Woodger

      Gabriel Woodger

      Live Events Production Lecturer

      Joining us at the beginning of 2018, Gabriel is a seasoned creative leader and an experienced events & production manager. He has a proven track record in creating high quality and effective solutions across a broad range of media. He has also been responsible for designing and managing the sound, lights, video and set building for a range of conferences, festivals, gigs and trade shows.

      Gabriel’s strengths fall in creative design and he is very skilled in all areas of lighting, sound and video, making him a great addition to the Backstage Academy team.

    • Jennifer Snart

      Jennifer Snart

      Lecturer in Live Events Production

      Jennifer studied for a BA(Hons) in Theatre and Performance Technology at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. Since then she has worked in Liverpool, Manchester and the South East as a Technician with specialisms particularly in Lighting and Stage Management. She began teaching and leading two BTECs in Production Arts from 2007 alongside technical, design and management work with the same college. Whilst teaching she also wrote a brand new Foundation Degree in Production for Live Performance for South Essex College. In 2010 Jennifer became Programme Leader for BA(Hons) Technical Theatre at Colchester Institute continuing her passions for Lighting, Stage Management, Scenic Design and Computer Aided Design and training the next generation of Technicians, Designers and Stage Managers.

    • Graham Thorne

      Graham Thorne

      Live Visual Design and Production Course Leader

      Graham has a healthy balance of academic qualifications and professional experience. Starting from a BA in Creative Music Production, leading to an MA in Digital Performance with a final degree of a PGCE. He has worked as a course leader on the Visual Production degree at University Centre Doncaster and then as a Digital Creator at York Museums Trust, where he was responsible for bringing the collections to life, media server work, digitisation and various AV interactive installations. His freelance work has taken him from Helsinki to London, Glastonbury to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Graham is the only official pro user, beta tester and forum moderator in the UK of the Isadora software by TroikaTronix. His interests are interactivity, real time AV control, motion tracking and much more. He is a DJ, composer, VJ and custom content creator to name just a few.

    • Shannon Harvey

      Shannon Harvey

      Live Visual Design and Production Lecturer

      Shannon comes to Backstage Academy with a decade of experience in developing products and projects for entertainment, architectural lighting, video and stage mechanics. He has a BFA in Drama and a Masters of Entertainment Technology from Carnegie Mellon University. He has worked for Philips, amBX, Integrated Theater Systems, United Visual Artists and d3 Technologies in research, development, product management, technical sales, project & account management, show production and creative design. Shannon enjoys working with up-and-coming talent for live visual production on creative and technical workflows, systems design, software training and developing critical problem solving expertise. Shannon is also the director of AspectUnlimited where in the past year he has consulted for clients including Johnny Walker, Jaguar, Nike, Louis Vuitton, Leeds Castle, BAE Systems and the UAE Pavilion @ Expo 2015

    • Zoe Hodge

      Zoe Hodge

      Stage Management Course Leader

      Zoe joined Backstage Academy in August 2017 as Course Leader of Stage Management, bringing with her a wealth of industry experience.

      She has worked in most aspects of event production management from community events right through to international festivals, bespoke installations and worldwide concert touring. Some of her highlights include: travelling around the world with MUSE, The Pogues, The Darkness as well as Stage Managing at festivals such as Bestival and Camden Crawl. She also looks after the Technical Advance for The Park Stage at Glastonbury Festival.

      Zoe’s strengths lie in management and she is versed in getting the band on stage in the most colourful of circumstances.

      Having now come off the road, Zoe is sharing her knowledge with the next generation of Stage Managers and live events professionals.

    • Frazer Gall

      Frazer Gall

      Lecturer in Live Events Production

      Frazer joined Backstage Academy in September 2017 as a Lecturer in Live Events Production.

      He originally studied Film & TV Production before spending the last 15 years working in the live events industry. He started off by doing the sound for small gigs before moving on to lighting and video for a production company called Rock-tech. He has also gained further experience in gigs, tours, festivals and corporate work. More recently he was an event and hire manager.

      Away from the live events industry, Frazer has interests in photography, skiing and hiking whilst also claiming to make a good cup of coffee!

    • Claire Porter

      Claire Porter

      Lecturer in Stage Management

      Claire joined Backstage Academy in September 2017 after having spent 21 years as a professional Stage Manager.

      She has a Postgraduate Certificate in Developing Professional Practice in HE and is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

      She has worked all over the UK on a variety of productions from Shakespeare to Farce with Panto in between. For the last 7 years she has been a Production Supervisor at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama and has lectured and mentored Stage Managers from levels 4-7 as well as working professionally with them at events and conferences, all whilst running a Fringe Venue for the Edinburgh Festival.

      In her spare time Claire likes to spend time with Ralph, her Labradoodle, walking him through the beautiful British countryside. She also has a passion for fine food, lovely wine and is a keen maker of bread!


    • Al McNichol

      Al McNichol

      Lecturer & Module Conveyor

      Al joined Backstage Academy as a lecturer and module conveyor in 2015. He specialises in music production, technology, education and business with twelve years academic experience teaching in a variety of UK Universities. He completed his PhD at the University of Huddersfield under the supervision of Prof. Michael Clarke (Music) and Dr. Lesley-Anne Pearson (Education and Professional Development) investigating the creative use of digital technology, for composition within music education. He has published and presented this research at International conferences in North America, Scandinavia and Europe.

      Originally graduating with a first class Honours degree in Creative Music Technology, he completed his PGCE and became a Fellow of Higher Education Academy. He has experience teaching in a variety of educational settings including Community, Further and Higher Education within the UK.

      Al also has an interesting history as a freelance music practitioner in both performance and production over the past 35 years. He is a member of PRS for Music as a music writer and owns a music production company undertaking commissions for broadcast, professional ensembles and independent artists. He is currently principal Front of House live sound engineer for a leading tribute band embarking on tours and festivals throughout the UK and Europe.

    • Brian Jones

      Brian Jones

      Lecturer & Module Conveyor

      Brian joined Backstage Academy as a lecturer and module conveyor in 2015. He specialises in music production, technology, music performance and composition. He has over 15 years academic experience teaching in a number of further and higher education institutions.

      Brian gained a BMus hons degree before completing a PGCE and an MA in computer composition, and became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He has worked as a freelance musician throughout the UK and Europe and founded a recording company specialising in large ensemble recordings.

      With his wealth of higher education experience he is now developing a suite of music courses for university validation.

    • Mark Tucknott

      Mark Tucknott

      Finance Director

      Mark went to Nottingham University in 2000 and joined Deloitte’s Nottingham office as a graduate where he worked in the Audit department for three years, qualifying as a chartered accountant. He returned ‘home’ to Yorkshire in 2006 where he transferred to Deloitte’s Corporate Finance team in Leeds, specialising in advising companies and their lenders on how to improve the financial performance of their businesses. During this time he became a qualified Insolvency Practitioner in 2009 and spent 12 months on secondment to Barclays in 2010, before joining Backstage Academy and LS-Live in his current role in October 2011.

    • Adrian Brooks

      Adrian Brooks


      Adrian is responsible for founding both Litestructures in 1990, the LS-Live rehearsal studio in 2005 and Backstage Academy in 2009. Originally qualified as a teacher in Manchester, Adrian went on to become a founding member of Astralloy, a specialist manufacturer of aluminium products. It was whilst working at this company that Adrian and a fellow colleague invented Astralite, the first system of its type in the world. It soon became clear that the new generation of aluminium structures, aimed at the entertainment, leisure, retail and architectural markets would provide the way forward.

      Litestructures built on the reputation of Astralite and several notable ‘firsts’ have emerged from the Litestructures stable; industry standard staging system Litedeck, Astralive which was the first system to incorporate live tracking to carry mains power and the purpose-built rehearsal arena LS-Live, used by many touring bands for production test-runs.

      With a desire to give something back to the industry for future generations and raise standards of training in the industry, Adrian founded Backstage Academy with Robin Watkinson and Kelly Craven in 2009.

  • One of the most innovative features at Backstage Academy is how we deliver learning and teaching. Wherever possible industry professionals are engaged to deliver the most up-to-date techniques and practices, ensuring you leave with the right skills and expectations about working in the industry.

    • Dave Swallow

      Dave Swallow

      Freelance tutor

      Over the past 15 years, Dave has been honing his skills as a Front of House Audio Engineer for acts such as the late Amy Winehouse, La Roux, DJ Fresh, Billy Ocean and Underworld, amongst many others. He’s most recently embarked on a worldwide tour with Italian act The Bloody Beetroots. In 2011 and 2012 he was awarded the Audio Pro Industry Excellence
      Award for Live Sound Engineer of the Year.

      Dave is the Module Leader for the Live Sound module and uses his vast knowledge of mixing live sound for a plethora of big names to make sure the students get to know the ins and outs of live sound.

    • Eric Porter

      Eric Porter

      Freelance tutor

      Eric has worked all over the world, and has seen the evolution of our industry over more than 30 years. He started out as a touring Carpenter for Queen and ELO, and went on to rig for Elton John and Eric Clapton, to name but a few. He started to deliver rigging training in 1995, going on to help shape the National Rigging Certificate with PLASA and is a qualified assessor for the scheme.

      Eric teaches all things rigging for us, from the basic introduction to the in-depth two-day Rigging Course.

    • Harry Heathfield

      Harry Heathfield

      Freelance tutor

      Harry began teaching at Backstage in 2013, after undertaking the FdA Live Events Production. He then went on to complete the BA Top Up year in 2014 and will soon begin a PhD in Staging Automation. His roles at LS-Live (previously Designer and currently R&D Engineer), and his previous Electrical Engineering studies, have given Harry some great tools in design, allowing him to write an AutoCAD course, which he now teaches at the Academy, after completing a teaching qualification last year.
      Previous to Harry’s studies, he was a First Responder for the East of England Ambulance Service for two years, this experience has allowed Harry to undertake First Aid, and Health and Safety training to teach these subjects.

    • Matt Howarth

      Matt Howarth

      Freelance tutor

      Matt’s career spans 25 years in broadcast TV and games, during which time he has worked on many household names, especially in TV, including Stars in Their Eyes, Cracker, Coronation Street and Cold Feet. He was nominated for a BAFTA for his work on Cold Feet and won a Royal TV Society Award for work on children’s show Gross for the Discovery Channel. Matt has taught classes on 3D modelling and helped the students discover some of the ways they can create content for their Live Visuals module on the FdA.

    • Phil Green

      Phil Green

      Freelance tutor

      Phil is Director of Scenograf, a design and project delivery consultancy. After training as a Fine Artist in painting and photography, Phil has spent most of his professional life working in theatre, museum and heritage, and live events. As a Designer and Project Manager, Phil has worked with clients as diverse as Bourne Leisure, Alton Towers and Phoenix Dance. He has lectured in Theatre Production and Stagecraft at ARTTS International and LIPA.

      Phil is the Module Leader for the Concept Design module on the FdA, his experience with designing to a brief is invaluable to the students as they complete this module.

    • Timm Cleasby

      Timm Cleasby

      Freelance tutor

      Over the past 22 years Timm has worked in the live music industry in various roles, starting out as a Roadie, Sound Engineer and running his own PA company, to tour and production managing for artists and festivals. His current role as the Production Director for the multi award-winning Tramlines Festival in Sheffield sees all his experience come together, right from the early days of engineering to the arena and stadium tours, and shows with artists such as Arctic Monkeys and The Darkness. In 2009 he was awarded Tour Manager of the Year at the TPi Awards. Timm brings his wealth of knowledge and experience to our Introduction to Working in Live Events Production and Event Production Planning modules on the FdA course.

  • In addition to freelance tutors, we also engage with industry professionals to schedule masterclass sessions so that you can learn from those who have been there and done it. These are some of the experts we’ve welcomed in the past.

    • GCB


      Masterclass expert

      GCB has 27 years’ experience in the live events industry, as Stage Manager working on events and bands such as Download, SW4, Glastonbury, Hard Rock Calling, Wireless, Wakestock, Sonisphere, Pet Shop Boys, Stereophonics and Franz Ferdinand, then more recently as Production Manager and Tour Manager for artists like Editors, Calvin Harris, The Streets, Mark Owen and Midlake.
      He also owns bespoke backdrop and tour support company Rockdrops, which has supplied backdrops, stage set and printed bass drum heads to many shows over the years from Blur, Journey, Biffy Clyro, Oasis, PIL and The Specials to The Libertines. He is the Managing Director of specialist crewing company G Force Crew.

    • Jeremy Roberts

      Jeremy Roberts

      Masterclass expert

      Jeremy works for Electronic Theatre Controls (ETC) in the UK and South Africa. ETC is the premier manufacturer of theatre lighting equipment. Before joining ETC, Jeremy was Head of Lighting and Sound at Nottingham Playhouse, resident Lighting Designer at Bolton Octagon, spent time at Hull Truck as a Lighting Designer was Head of Sound at the Sherman in Cardiff and also the Gateway Theatre in Chester. He picked up awards along the way for both lighting and sound designs.

    • John Newsham

      John Newsham

      Masterclass expert

      John Newsham has toured the world in various live sound roles over the last 20 years, for bands such as Underworld, Steve Hillage Band, Roger Waters and Iron Maiden. With Tony Andrews he was involved in the birth of Turbosound and the development of the Festival System, TMS series, Flashlight/Floodlight, and the Funktion One Resolution Series. He is a founder member of Funktion One and a senior member of its R&D team.

    • Jon Burton

      Jon Burton

      Masterclass expert

      Jon is one of the country’s foremost FOH Sound Engineers, recently touring with The Prodigy and Bombay Bicycle Club. His career spans time with a range of artists, including Pendulum, James and Stereophonics. Jon also has a recording studio complex, The Laundry Rooms, in Sheffield.

    • Jon Drape

      Jon Drape

      Masterclass expert

      Jon cut his teeth in the events industry as Production Manager for Manchester’s famous Hacienda nightclub in the ‘90s and went on to develop successful events and brand activation agency Ear to the Ground, where he is still Live Director. More recently in his role as Managing Director of Ground Control he has built up a portfolio of award-winning festivals including Parklife, Kendal Calling, Festival Number 6 and Live From Jodrell Bank.

    • Kate Stevens

      Kate Stevens

      Masterclass expert

      Since leaving Leeds based promoters Futuresound Events in late 2012, Kate has been an Account Director at Artist Needs, a market-leading events and production company. As well as dealing with many of Artist Needs’ aviation accounts, Kate heads up the company’s Artist Liaison teams at events throughout the year, which have included Radio 1Xtra – Live in Glasgow, Radio 1’s Big Weekend, Cocoon In the Park, Glastonbury, Global Gathering, Beacons Festival, SW4, Wilderness, Mint and Festival No6.

    • Katy Fuller

      Katy Fuller

      Masterclass expert

      Katy Fuller is a Creative Producer and Consultant in the outdoor arts and festivals sector. She set up the organisation Pinwheel in 2010 and since then has produced events including Enchanted Parks, an after-dark winter arts adventure, Birthday Blaze, a fire-filled anniversary celebration for Newcastle Theatre Royal and The Great North Passion, a large-scale multi-disciplinary event broadcast live on BBC1.

      In her masterclass, Katy encourages the students to look beyond the usual models for events and think creatively and innovatively with case studies of some inspiring and ambitious outdoor events. She also looks at how to respond to a brief and develop a creative concept.

    • Lincoln Parkhouse

      Lincoln Parkhouse

      Masterclass expert

      From working as a Lighting and Sound Technician at the Barbican Centre in London, Lincoln created Just FX to provide dedicated, safe use of pyrotechnics to venues, performers and events across Europe. Lincoln has worked with some of the country’s premier venues, theatres and orchestras, and is one of the founder members of the Association of Stage Pyrotechnicians.

      As you might have guessed, Lincoln and his team teach our short course in Stage Pyrotechnics which is also part of the first module of the FdA.

    • Nigel Pease

      Nigel Pease

      Masterclass expert

      A freelance Audio Engineer, Producer and Educator, Nigel works regularly in both industry and education. His specialisms are soundscape composition and multi-channel music production. Nigel has been an Avid Certified Instructor for Pro Tools since 2003.

    • Philip Norfolk

      Philip Norfolk

      Masterclass expert

      Philip Norfolk is the Sales Director at Ambersphere Solutions, the Clay Paky, MA Lighting and Robert Juliat distributor in the UK. Philip has worked for a number of the key manufacturers and suppliers to the entertainment lighting industry during the last 25 years. Starting off in local theatre and cleaning lanterns in a hire company in Bristol, Philip has passed through a number of roles and looked after some of the more interesting clients and products over his career.

    • Roger Lindsay

      Roger Lindsay

      Masterclass expert

      Roger has engineered live performances for many of the world’s most successful and respected artists. His international reputation and knowledge of live audio has led to consultancy work for clients as diverse as Formula One motor racing teams, The Arts Council of Great Britain and the British Royal Family. Prince, George Michael, Pink Floyd and James Taylor have entrusted their concert sound to the safe hands of this man whose experience and natural ability bring a unique dimension to each project he undertakes. The Academy was lucky enough to have Roger for two weeks during the Live Sound module, during which he talked to the students in small groups about his experience and the wealth of knowledge he has gained over the years mixing sound.

    • Simon Stevens

      Simon Stevens

      Masterclass expert

      Simon spent eight years at Futuresound Events in Leeds promoting events at numerous venues with capacities from 100 to 7,000 at cities across the north of England. Working with artists such as Adele, The Maccabees, Laura Marling and Noah & The Whale, Simon oversaw the creation of festivals such as Live At Leeds and Constellations before leaving Futuresound in early 2013 to create his own promotions company and open Leeds’ Belgrave Music Hall.

    • Tim Collins

      Tim Collins

      Masterclass expert

      From managing Siouxsie and the Banshees, and The Pogues, to being Tour Director and Production Manager for Muse, Tim has had an impressive career in tour and production management. Tim has completed a qualification in Crowd and Safety Management, so brings a diverse and unique range of knowledge and experience to Backstage Academy.

    • Tony Andrews

      Tony Andrews

      Masterclass expert

      A highly regarded designer and manufacturer of high quality point source loudspeaker systems, with numerous patents to his name, Tony Andrews’ landmark developments include the hugely successful Flashlight and Floodlight systems, and more recently the distinctive Funktion One Resolution Series. In 2010 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Audio Pro Magazine.

    • Tony Bowern

      Tony Bowern

      Masterclass expert

      Tony Bowern, General Manager of Brilliant Stages, has more than 30 years experience in the entertainment industry. He began his career as a precision fitter, progressing into designing his own sound systems for the touring music industry and later joining Studiomaster as the manager of their hire department. Since 1982, as one of the founders of Brilliant Stages, Tony has been honing his problem solving skills that have helped him design some of the most complex and advanced engineering products used in the touring entertainment industry.