Launch of the Backstage Academy

5 May 2009

UK - The Backstage Academy is a new education facility dedicated to the behind the scenes support to the entertainment industry. The Backstage Academy is about equipping the entertainments industry with the trained staff it needs.

The Academy will be innovative and sustainable, and many of the initiatives will be employer led. Based in South Kirkby, and with additional training and workshop space being sought in the Wakefield and Doncaster areas, the Academy aims (from September 2009) to deliver education, outreach and regeneration via: an innovative foundation degree that can be studied online, part time or full time over a 24 week period; a range of online learning initiatives and short courses as part of new learning, skills updating or career & professional development; performing arts facilities for rehearsal, training and performance in areas that urgently need a focal point for those people not in education, employment or training; lifelong Learning through a range of unique partnerships with the Children's University, Scout Association and the Prince's Trust.

Backstage Academy will acquire 2,500sq.m of warehouse space in South Kirkby, Wakefield. This will then be converted to training and rehearsal space, providing a range of exciting and cutting edge facilities to the local community.

The Academy will also deliver a town centre live music venue in Wakefield. This will be a "shop window" for students work, in addition to providing a stage for new and emerging talent.

Tracing its history back to December 2007, the Academy concept emerged from a meeting between Adrian Brooks (managing director of Litestructures and Robin Watkinson and Kelly Aitken (both from the University of Leeds). Having joined forces to commission the University's new £5 million theatre complex, it became apparent that existing training programmes were leaving many students ill equipped to undertake a career in the live events sector.

It was decided that, with the backing of Litestructures, Watkinson and Aitken would develop a new range of training and personal development opportunities for a range of students - young and old alike. Central to these educational initiatives would also be unique collaboration with industry, venues, training providers the local community.

Adrian Brooks comments: "We are proud to be part of the Backstage Academy project. With our partners, we are committed to see this happen. Just as the music industry is always looking to nurture new talent for the future, so too must the backstage sector look to investing in the next generation - those who will build the stages of tomorrow. Like many in our industry we realise that backstage skills are scarce and set to get scarcer as many of our most talented designers, engineers and technicians are nearing retirement. We all need to invest for the future and that is what we are going to do through the Academy."

The Backstage Academy's website is now live and its online content will be launched during PLASA 2009. The building completion will be in September 2009.

(Jim Evans)

 

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The Backstage Academy education industry The Academy innovative initiatives South Kirkby training space areas Academy September 2009 deliver online part time range learning skills career development facilities rehearsal need those unique Backstage Academy Wakefield. This providing local community live music students talent Adrian Brooks University sector Litestructures future backstage

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