Driving Innovation in Live Events

The Backstage Innovation Centre is a partnership between Backstage Academy and Wakefield Council that will see the creation of a specialist knowledge and innovation centre focusing on research and development for the live events industry and its supply chain.

Located on campus at Production Park, the £7m+ Backstage Innovation Centre and its specialist equipment will be used to deliver a support programme targeting SMEs across the live events industry, covering specialisms such as music, TV, film, sports, corporate events, theatre and arts. 

The project, which runs from 2019 until 2022, has secured grant funding from European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). 

The Backstage Innovation Centre will include:

  • Large scale design/prototype spaces suitable for testing, modelling and building both physical and virtual environments.
  • Multi-use space suitable for SME workshops, presentations and meetings.
  • Workshop space equipped with specialist equipment in areas such as rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing.
  • Pre-visualisation suites where new products, stage sets and other large structures can be built and modelled virtually, together with systems control, prior to full manufacturing.
  • Design space where scenic artists and creative businesses can try new techniques including automation, augmented reality and virtual reality tools.

Centre Aims:

The Backstage Innovation Centre will:

  • See the design and build of a 2520m2 specialist knowledge and innovation centre located at the heart of Production Park.
  • Deliver a range of activities to SME’s in the live events industry and related supply chain industries such as digital integration and visualisation, immersive spaces, augmented and virtual reality in production; tools and standards for touring production, manufacturing processes, new materials applications and testing and cross-market application in live events work flows.
  • Identify cross sector opportunities with SME’s in other sectors.
  • Deliver specific lecture/engagement events, offer access to specialist concept/design support, make available workshop space and meeting space/event space, provide access to international trade/industry events and facilitate student projects that support the industry.


  • Digital Content Designer & Lecturer

    The Digital Content Designer & Lecturer will take the lead on all visual design & content support development for research projects, and interactive & immersive technologies research within the Backstage Innovation Centre and share their knowledge as a lecturer for Backstage Academy students.

    View Vacancy



    The live events industry is a huge sector, estimated to be worth £30 billion per year to the UK’s economy. However, at present, the established industry faces a fundamental threat to its existence, in the form of COVID-19 and the associated restrictions on public mass assembly which can be expected to impact live activities for many months to come.

    We want to bring together a think tank of companies to investigate innovative and practical approaches to tackling and mitigating the risk of large group gatherings in venues, ahead of the easing of lockdown restrictions. 

    This project is underway. 

    Visit Project Page

Tender Opportunities:

  • Demolition Contractor

    We are now looking to appoint a Demolition Contractor as part of the Backstage Innovation Centre project.

    Interested parties should email the project team at backstageinnovationhub@wakefield.gov.uk to express their interest and request tender documents before Friday 19th June 2020. All parties are asked to provide the name of their organisation, registered address, contact details, a named contact and the contract you are interested in.  

    If you have any queries on this contract, please direct them to the project team at backstageinnovationhub@wakefield.gov.uk before midnight on Wednesday 10th June 2020

    Deadline for Submitting Tenders: 11:59pm on Friday 19th June 2020

    Any tender submissions for this contract received after this date will not be considered.


Register your interest

If you are a business in the live events industry and interested in working with Backstage Academy on this project, please complete the form below and we will be in touch with further information.

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Ready to start your Backstage journey?