With her studies coming into the final few months, we caught up with third-year BA (Hons) Stage & Production Management student Yasmin Mirreh in a rather reflective look on her experience at Backstage Academy. As someone with incredible drive and determination, who’ll take on any opportunity that comes her way – we asked Yasmin about just some of her work experience adventures while studying.
In true Backstage with … style, we like to learn more about how our students start off their industry careers with us, so let’s start from the beginning with this one.
Backstage Academy: Tell us about how you came to study at Backstage? What was your journey here?
Yasmin Mirreh: I was always interested in festivals, concerts and music, in general, and the technical production behind it has always fascinated me. At sixth form, I studied conventional subjects - Philosophy and Ethics, English Literature and Sociology. As much as they were interesting to study, they didn’t inspire me, and I couldn’t see myself doing those long term or at university.
I went to a UCAS careers convention with school and Backstage Academy caught my eye. I’d never seen a route into getting into live events which involved higher education. After a great interview, I was given an unconditional offer and I decided to take a risk and not apply for any other courses. I’ve been freelancing ever since, alongside my studies, and I have never looked back.
I couldn’t see myself working in another industry now, it feels natural.
BA: What clinched it for you in deciding to study Stage & Production Management? We know this is a corny question, but do you think there was a particular experience that shaped this decision, do you think?
YM: When I was 17, I put on my first event in Manchester. I set up a live listening party with a singer and other activities for Ariana Grande fans, particularly those who had been affected by the Manchester arena attack in 2017. Seeing my efforts pay off really made me want to get into the management of events.
Stage and production management seemed like a better fit for me as I love working in a team and collaborating. The operations and logistics side of live events really interests me and that made me choose this course.
BA: Fast forward a little bit, what has been one of your favourite experiences on your course?
YM: I loved putting on a live stream event at university, as it was one of my first times being a stage manager and it was great to see the line-up of bands come together with our planning and the great feedback from friends and family on our production. It felt really rewarding as a team to achieve what we set out to, despite some setbacks.
BA: We can’t imagine how challenging it was to study a good portion of your degree during the COVID-19 pandemic, but – and we think we can speak for all of the Backstage team – you students did an incredible job of taking every positive possible from a difficult situation, as well as learning some fantastic skills in live streaming.
What area of the events industry are you most passionate about? Is there anything or anyone who particularly inspires you?
YM: I’m most interested in live music, especially touring. I’d love to start out working as a production assistant or promoter’s rep travelling around the country or abroad. I feel really inspired by my female tutors at Backstage and the other women I have met in the industry already. This can be such a hard line of work to establish yourself in, especially as a woman, so I really look up to them in that sense.
BA: That’s wonderful to hear. Having those incredible women around you in the industry as a support network and constant source of encouragement is fantastic.
Tell us about your work experience in the industry, so far. Word on the grapevine is you’ve recently worked in rather snowier climes?
YM: Yeah, that’s right! I’ve worked recently at Snowboxx festival, a skiing and dance music event in the French Alps. My role at the festival was Artist Liaison, which involves anything from transporting artists, to organising airport transfers and hotels, and generally making their time at the festival as smooth as possible.
Although Artist Liaison isn’t a role I want to do forever, it is one of the best jobs when starting out, especially for networking. I met so many friendly faces who were eager to help me progress in my career, and lots of people I still keep in touch with now.
BA: Back to campus now, what are you looking forward to in your final year?
YM: I’m looking forward to finishing my dissertation! It's such an extensive piece of work and I’m so ready now to get my foot into the door of the industry. I'm looking forward to submitting it and having more time for industry work.
BA: We bet! The culmination of three years of hard work, knowledge and understanding is a really huge thing but something you’ll be so proud of when you’ve hit the submit button!
Despite being in the midst of dissertation time, we love to ask this question, what would be a dream come true role for you when you graduate? Do you have any plans just yet?
YM: In terms of a role, I am just going with what comes my way, especially in roles in logistics and operations of festivals and concert touring. I am looking to work this festival season in summer and then heading to Europe in September for a festival in Albania. Then, as we get into autumn, I’m flying out to Saudi to work on a festival in Riyadh for 4 months. It’s going to be a busy year!
I’m unsure of my dream role, it tends to change from month to month, that's why it's so important I try lots of different roles and take all the opportunities I get because it opens so many doors.
Do you want to find out more about studying BA (Hons) Stage & Production Management? Book your place at our Summer Open Day on Saturday 25th June.