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Students support Wakefield’s growing events industry

Students from our Foundation Degree in Live Events Production have been supporting the growth of Wakefield’s live events industry this summer

Students from our Foundation Degree in Live Events Production have been supporting the growth of Wakefield’s live events industry this summer.

Wakefield has been the choice location for many notable live events in 2013, including Linder Sterling’s The Ultimate Form at The Hepworth, and music festivals Long Division and Crooked Ways.

The city also has a growing pool of talented graduates qualified in live events production from our training centre, located at the LS-Live Studios in South Kirkby.

The organising team from The Ultimate Form, which was leading contemporary artist Linder Sterling’s UK premiere of her new performance work at The Hepworth Wakefield on Saturday 11 May, approached Backstage Academy and affiliated stage, set and studio company LS-Live to help with the production of the event. A group of our students constructed the main outdoor stage for the performance in the gallery gardens and worked as general crew.

At the heart of the performance was a ballet by Northern Ballet’s award-winning choreographer Kenneth Tindall, with a musical score by Cinematic Orchestra guitarist and composer Stuart McCallum.

Simon Wallis, Director at The Hepworth, said: “It was a wonderful and very memorable event. I would like to thank the Backstage Academy students for all their unflagging commitment and hard work.

“We’re all enormously grateful to Backstage Academy, and LS-Live as the staging providers, for their kind and generous support which made it happen.”

The three-day music and arts festival Long Division, which takes over multiple venues in Wakefield for the weekend and had 2,500 visitors this year from 7– 9 June, saw many Backstage Academy students working behind the scenes in roles such as sound engineer, lighting technician, stage manager, sound technician, artist liaison and crew.

Long Division Festival Director Dean Freeman spoke about why he approached Backstage Academy students to support the event: “Long Division is about celebrating the home-grown talent we have in the city, whilst also drawing people from far and wide to show them that Wakefield can be a great place to visit.

“But it is also about the future, and building foundations for even greater things. Backstage Academy are doing just that themselves, and the potential positive changes they can bring to the city are off the scale, particularly with the creation of a student population. So it made sense to find a way to work together.

“I appreciate all the unpaid work that is put in to making the festival a success, and it’s great when you see students in their twelfth hour of working still full of energy and commitment. Being technically proficient is one thing, but you have to love what you are doing too, and I sensed that in the ones I worked with.”

Backstage Academy students also supported the one-day Crooked Ways festival on 1 June in Pontefract Park, helping with stage building and technical set up. Festival supplier StagePro’s Richard Middleton said: “The crew from Backstage Academy were amazing, impeccable in fact. They were a pleasure to work with and any task that was asked of them they did with cheeriness and gusto.

“From grafting hard on helping build the main stage and putting up barriers and FOH, to crewing on the day and helping with technical light and sound builds, the Backstage Academy students were a great team, positive, skilled and a delight to work with.”

Director of Courses at Backstage Academy, Robin Watkinson, said: “Wakefield is an exciting place to be right now and in particular its live events sector is seeing significant growth and investment.

“We have forged links with Wakefield Theatre Royal, Wakefield College’s new theatre and performing arts centre, and will be working closely with the new multi-million pound Unity Hall, which is due to launch in February 2014.

“These partnerships will be invaluable to our growing student population who will complete a wide range of basic qualifications in event production that mean they are well equipped to help raise the standards of Wakefield’s live events.”

To find out more about how students can work with your production crew, please contact Sara Gleadhall: sara.gleadhall@backstage-academy.co.uk / 01977 659 880.

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