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.



    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


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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