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An interview with James Hayward, a student at Backstage…

We caught up with James, a student at Backstage Academy currently taking the Live Events Production Top Up degree. James tells us about his time here and his endeavours in work experience…

Firstly, thanks for taking the time to chat to us! We hear you’re doing a lot of work experience. Can you tell us who with?

Hello! Well as a freelancer in the industry, I am working with many different people, from ground control working on events such as Snowbombing, Parklife and Warehouse project, to working with The Specials as a guitar tech, as well as the classic rock show as stage manager and guitar tech. I’ve also worked managing the stages at BBC 6 Music Festival, Mark Ronson’s 40th birthday party, Festival Number 6 and many more. The root of all these opportunities and jobs has come from the guidance of Backstage Academy and specifically Sara Gleadhall, whom has given me the links I need to gain great contacts. I think the key to this work is the networking skill involved in the work experience project, I’ve gone from an unpaid local crew member at Parklife 2014 to stage managing there in 2015.

Which have you enjoyed the most and why?

 I couldn’t place a pin on what I have enjoyed the most in work experience, as I enjoy every moment in the industry. It’s the fast pace and thrill of a show that really gets to me. But if I had to say one, it’s the people I meet along the way.

Did Backstage give you a good idea of what to expect when working in the industry?

Backstage gave me the tools to continue my career to a higher, safer and more efficient standard -with the help of industry training and guest lecturer’s first-hand guidance. From starting at Backstage with some experience, it allowed me to perfect the skills I have to move on in this industry.

Why did you decide to stay on and do the top up year here at Backstage?

I decided to stay on for the top up year as it revolves around the event management side of the industry. It gives me a great academic with a theoretical ground to take into the industry with me to apply when working. I also wanted to stay on to ensure I got the most out of backstage academy whilst I can.

What would you say the most useful tools/skills are that you’ve acquired here in the last few year?

 I feel that I have gained a respect for the industry and acceptance of the common trends and regulations that need to be upheld. I have also learned great team skills, the art of people management and delegation – which is a great trait Backstage have as you can perfect any area of the industry you want to strive at.

Would you recommend Backstage Academy to a friend?

If they have the drive and determination to get into the industry, I would recommend it to anyone!

What’s your plan after graduation?

 I plan to carry on with my freelance work and see where I get from there. I don’t have a solid plan for the future but as It stands the projects I have lined up are very exciting for me, and a huge step in my career!

If you could have any job in the events industry – what would it be?

 I wouldn’t like to say which job I could have as I wouldn’t like to set myself on one specific goal. I think the beauty of the live events industry is that the range of skills can be transferable amongst different roles and give you freedom in what you can do.

Awesome, thanks James!

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