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Our Staff

    • Richard Sadler

      Richard Sadler

      Academic Director

      A music graduate, Richard’s early career encompassed professional practice as a stage and company manager. He worked in repertory theatre, touring and the West End before spending eight years with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. While there, Richard moved into more administrative roles working as the Chorus Manager and Administrative Assistant to the CEO before joining the London Bach Choir as their first professional General Manager.

      At the midpoint in his career Richard moved into higher education where he has worked for several small institutions specialising in live and visual arts. He has created and run degree programmes in Organising Live Arts, Stage Management and Master Programmes in Ensemble Theatre and Theatre for Young Audiences.  His focus in recent years has been on academic management including quality assurance, enhancement and strategic approaches to learning and teaching.

      Richard is currently an external examiner for Edgehill University. Previous external examiner roles have included Liverpool John Moores University (Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts) and University of Surrey as well as External Reviewer for Leeds Becket University (Wakefield College).

      Richard holds a BMus (Hons), is a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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

    • 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!

       

    • 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.

    • Jack Scarr

      Jack Scarr

      Marketing & Commercial Director

      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.

    • Miles Marsden

      Miles Marsden

      Industry Partnerships Director

    • 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!

    • 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.

    • 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!

    • Chris Madden

      Chris Madden

      Student Wellbeing Officer

      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.

    • Caroline Carfrae

      Caroline Carfrae

      Administration & Admissions Manager

      Caroline joined Backstage in August 2018 and is responsible for the administration and data management of all Backstage Academy undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Caroline manages the flow of student data throughout the academic cycle, from enrolment to graduation.

      Caroline has worked in higher education for many years in different institutions including managing student records and developing alumni networks. She is also a singer and performs in a folk band and in a classical duo performing throughout the country.

      Caroline has an MA in Victorian Studies from the University of Leeds, a Postgraduate Certificate of Professional Management in Higher Education from the University of Hull, and a BA (Hons) in English Literature from Durham University.

    • Matt Marsh

      Matt Marsh

      Technician

      Matt joined Backstage Academy as a Technician at the start of 2017 after completing a BMus degree in Music. Matt has experience in the industry working for production companies such as Innovation Productions and Large Touring Productions, with responsibilities including rigging, sound, backline and stage/set building.

      In his spare time, Matt enjoys playing music, frequently gigging across the country with his band Frazer. Matt likes to travel around the world and keep active by hill running, rock climbing or getting up a gnarly mountain.

    • Emily Lynch

      Emily Lynch

      Student Services Officer

      Emily joined Backstage Academy as Administration Assistant in November 2015 – but has recently changed roles to Student Services Officer. Her role involves providing disability support to students, as well as managing the student timetabling systems. 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.

    • Adrian Brooks

      Adrian Brooks

      Chairman & Founder

      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.

    • 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.

    • Martin Locket

      Martin Locket

      Director

      Martin has worked in the technical production industry for over 25 years and has owned and run several high profile equipment supply and services companies, serving the music and live events industries.

      Martin now provides commercial opinion, directorial input and leadership support to a number of businesses in the technical production industry, including the Production Park group.

      Martin’s input on our board is to provide an industry perspective to the operation and development of Backstage Academy. Martin is also a keen supporter and mentor of our students, covering commercial and practical advice regarding their professional career preparation.

      Martin is also a trustee director of the BRIT School in London, with affiliation to the staff and students on the Production Arts course.

    • 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.

    • Richard Sadler

      Richard Sadler

      Academic Director

      A music graduate, Richard’s early career encompassed professional practice as a stage and company manager. He worked in repertory theatre, touring and the West End before spending eight years with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. While there, Richard moved into more administrative roles working as the Chorus Manager and Administrative Assistant to the CEO before joining the London Bach Choir as their first professional General Manager.

      At the midpoint in his career Richard moved into higher education where he has worked for several small institutions specialising in live and visual arts. He has created and run degree programmes in Organising Live Arts, Stage Management and Master Programmes in Ensemble Theatre and Theatre for Young Audiences.  His focus in recent years has been on academic management including quality assurance, enhancement and strategic approaches to learning and teaching.

      Richard is currently an external examiner for Edgehill University. Previous external examiner roles have included Liverpool John Moores University (Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts) and University of Surrey as well as External Reviewer for Leeds Becket University (Wakefield College).

      Richard holds a BMus (Hons), is a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

    • Jack Scarr

      Jack Scarr

      Marketing & Commercial Director

      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.