Backstage Academy showcase Project Box at PLASA 2018

A REVOLUTIONARY educational and marketing tool which illustrates in a technological interactive way what working in live events is all about has been unveiled at PLASA 2018.

Project Box is the brainchild of six first year students on Yorkshire based university accredited Backstage Academy’s Live Visual Design and Production course who were tasked, for their end of year project, with creating an interactive experience for use at exhibitions for young people to showcase the world of live events. 

The result is an interactive educational tool which enables users to create their own live show by using a tablet to select certain features such as lighting, sound and visual effects.  Their selections are then brought to life in front of them with the show projected on to a miniature stage alongside a bird’s eye view of an event crowd shown on a horizontal flat screen TV.  Packaged in a flight case, Project Box is designed to be large enough to capture people’s attention and give them a sense of how live events are produced but small enough to be easily transported to school and college events across the UK.

Located on Production Park in South Kirkby near Wakefield, a creative hub for the international live events industry, Backstage Academy offers degree courses in live events production, live visual design & production and stage & production management.  Vocationally focused, it has unique industry links leading to incredible work placements at some of the biggest events across the world which are designed to boost and support students’ ultimate employability.

Project Box was managed by student Gina Pollard. She explained: “The various elements that make up Project Box all illustrate different aspects about Backstage and the live events industry. The flight case represents how items are transported in the industry as well as making the project compact and sleek looking; the TV acts as the events that our students may work in such as a music festival and the content communicates what design wise can be achieved while at Backstage.”

Charlie Smith was involved in creating the content for Project Box which included getting to grips with new software and other associated challenges.

“I enjoyed having the opportunity to express myself through content creation whether it be filming or creating loops using new software as well as showing my skills on other programs that I have a lot of experience with.  The kind of live jobs that Backstage has to offer its students are the main reason I signed up to this course.  I am gaining hands-on experience which will prepare me for more advanced jobs in future,” he commented.

Joseph Fellows headed up the technical development side of the project and has enjoyed the practical hands-on elements.

“I did not expect to be doing a project this big in my first year at Backstage Academy and am now eagerly anticipating what my second and third years here have in store.  What I learned on this project will definitely benefit me in the future,” he said.

Backstage Academy’s Marketing & Commercial Director, Jack Scarr, who acted as the client for Project Box, gave it his resounding seal of approval. “The students have done an incredible job. This is a totally unique educational tool and a lasting legacy for the project team as it can be developed further with new content by future generations of Backstage Academy students,” he said.

“Project Box will form the centre piece of much of our outreach programme which includes touring schools and colleges across the UK to raise awareness of the live events industry.  Our goal is to inspire the next generation of live events professionals and Project Box will help us do that.” 

He added: “The PLASA Show is the flagship event for professionals working in the international live events entertainment technology industry so to be able to showcase through Project Box what Backstage Academy students can achieve is invaluable to us.”

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