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No Ordinary Graduation… Our Class of 2018

On Friday 28th October, we celebrated the achievements of our Class of 2018 and threw a graduation to remember...

In a show designed and produced by our 1st and 2nd year students, our 2018 graduation ceremony was the perfect way to send our graduating Class of 2018 off in style and onto their amazing careers as the next generation of live events professionals.

Adrian Brooks, Chairman and Founder of Backstage Academy who gave the Welcome Address at the ceremony, said that the live events industry was by the Government’s own figures contributing £91.8bn per year and growing to the UK economy.

“The challenge for young people is to understand that while they will be rewarded handsomely for their work and skill and travel the world most of the time they will be freelance and entrepreneurs of themselves,” he said. “AS well as equipping them with practical skills we work to instil in them the need to be pro-active and build their networks.

“Live events is a growing industry because musicians have come under pressure due to falling record sales to tour to remain commercial. That has created more opportunities within our industry for enthusiastic creative people. All of this year’s graduates have gone straight into work, some have started their own enterprises and one has opened a live events business on Production Park,” he added.

The ceremony centred on the Conferment of Awards (conducted by Vice Chancellor of The University of Bolton, Bill Webster) to over 50 FdA and BA graduates across our 3 degree pathways, Live Events Production, Live Visual Design & Production and Stage Management. This was shortly followed by a farewell speech from our outgoing Managing Director, Glen Rowe, in which he highlighted the amazing work the graduating students had done over their time at Backstage Academy.

Our Guest of Honour for the day was entrepreneur and Yo! Sushi founder, Simon Woodroffe. With a theme of entrepreneurship, Mr Woodroffe, whose own career started in live events management and included working backstage at Live Aid in the 1980s, said that he had been able to develop multiple businesses by building a bank of contacts and networking.

“I left school with two ‘O’ levels and went straight into a job following my passion, similar to Backstage Academy’s graduates. The live events industry was exciting then and remains so and depends upon the enthusiasm of young people like yourselves to act like entrepreneurs and build your networks,” he said.

“It can be a dysfunctional sector but every job and experience is an opportunity to enhance your reputation and showcase your skills and attributes,” he added. “Make the most of them and leave a lasting legacy and taster of what you can add to the next project that you are offered.”

Adding the soundtrack to the ceremony was The Covasettes, an awesome up and coming band from the local area.

We’d like to thank all of our guest speakers for their contribution to the ceremony.

We’d also like to thank our incredible industry partners who made the event possible through the use of their equipment and expertise…

  • d+b audiotechnik supplied the sound system. For more on d+b, please visit
  • AC Entertainment supplied the lights and motors. For more on AC, please visit
  • Avolites supplied the media servers and lighting control. For more on Avolites, please visit
  • Illuminate Lighting supplied the Sapphire lighting console. For more on Illuminate Lighting, please visit
  • Rocktech gave considerable discount for lighting and video wall. For more on Rocktech, please visit
  • Channel 16 supplied the comms system. For more on Channel 16, please visit
  • The University of Bolton contributed financially to make the show happen. For more on The University of Bolton, please visit

Thank you for supporting the next generation of live events professionals!

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