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Matt Williams

Student Success Stories
2017 Graduate

Why did you choose Backstage Academy?

Before I started at Backstage Academy, I found that not many sixth-form colleges offered courses relating specifically to festivals or live events. I ended up studying Technical Theatre at Southampton City College. However, it wasn’t the theatre side of things that took my interest, I preferred lighting and rigging at events. Therefore when picking my university I chose Backstage Academy because I knew it was at the heart of the live events industry.


What were the highlights of your course?

I loved the hands-on experience and practical aspects of the course. I managed to secure work as a Production Manager at Snowbombing and the Blue Dot Festival, and as a Stage Manager at Radio 1’s Teen Awards & Radio 1’s Big Weekend.


How did you land your current role?

As I progressed into my second year, it was the management side of events that took my interest. I quickly took up a placement that was offered to me through Backstage Academy with a virtual reality company in Ibiza. We worked long shifts, filming 360º video content at huge events such as Space, Ibiza Rocks, Pacha and Amnesia. In this role I learnt people skills, technical aspects of cameras and how to work well in a team under stressful circumstances. Whilst coming to the end of my work in Ibiza, I received a phone call from the Production Director at Melody VR, one of the leading virtual reality companies in the music and live events industries, offering me a part-time role as a Production Assistant. During my final year at Backstage Academy, I spent a lot of time commuting back and forth between Wakefield and London balancing my uni work, social life and a part-time role. Thankfully, the hard work all paid off. After working at Melody VR for 3 days a week, whilst completing my final year at university, I managed to land myself a full time as a Production Manager at Melody VR. Due to the contacts and industry links I was able to make whilst at Backstage Academy, I now work in a position whereby I liaise and collaborate with artists for bespoke virtual reality and music video shoots. I’m advancing and running operations at festivals and gigs all over the UK and worldwide.


Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to study at Backstage Academy?

If you show commitment, loyalty and enthusiasm you could end up travelling to events all around the world and work in roles that lead to massive things. You never know what’s around the corner.

Ready to start your Backstage journey?