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

Contract Opportunities

  • Construction of the Backstage Innovation Centre

    We are now inviting formal expressions of interest from principal contractors wishing to tender for the construction of the Backstage Innovation Centre.

    Following on from demolition of the existing, dilapidated Unit 3a by our demolition partner, the principal contractor will be responsible for delivery of the 2,520m2 research and development hub on Production Park in South Kirkby. 

    Tenders are sought from experienced design & build contractors capable of delivering high-quality, BREEAM Excellent buildings, working with private and public stakeholders. Construction is scheduled to commence during quarter one of 2021.

    To register your expression of interest, please contact: backstageinnovationhub@wakefield.gov.uk


  • Seminar Series

    We are excited to launch the first event of the backstage innovation centre's seminar series:

    Virtual Reality vs. Commercial Reality

    Thursday 5th November from 2pm to 6pm

    Our Seminar Series will feature regular events aimed at technology, content development, and market trends, showcasing profiles of leading businesses. We’ll have a focus on live events but we are just as interested in other sectors where know-how learnt in 'live' can have a transformational impact. 

    Find out more via the link below:

    Seminar Series: Virtual Reality vs. Commercial Reality


Ready to start your Backstage journey?