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Production students help Duran Duran put on a show


Putting a show on for Duran Duran requires major technical skills, and this autumn’s flagship Production Day visits for college students will demonstrate the efforts and skills required offstage as well as on.


The get-ins, rigging and sound checks won’t be seen by the thousands who come to watch the show, but they’ll be exclusively witnessed by Sussex Downs College students who are part of the National Skills Academy’s Founder further education college network.


Students at colleges within the Skills Academy’s membership network will be following in the footsteps of their peers, who this summer went backstage at the UK’s largest festivals. But this autumn the action’s coming indoors and students will focus on the preparations and logistics of moving a show into a new venue (and within the required 12 hours!).


On Wednesday 30 November, Foundation Degree and BA (Hons) Music Production and Creative Recording students from Sussex Downs will get a feel for the realities of rigging through to preparing safety barriers for the sell-out Duran Duran concert that will take place at The Brighton Centre.


They will spend a day front of house and on the show floor learning about the roles and responsibilities involved in putting together a show on this scale, gaining a clearer understanding of career options in the live music sector and the skills and training involved.


Dagmar Evans-Jones, Curriculum Leader in Music Production said: “We have benefitted from these production day visits over the last couple of years, shadowing staff who are involved in creating a gig. These events provide an invaluable opportunity for students to observe the preparations – everything from stage management to live sound engineering. Their visits are expertly guided by stage manager Steve Cheney, who is very happy to explain activities and share his vast experience with our students.


“Needless to say, this experience is highly relevant to the ‘live events’ and ‘professional development’ aspects of our Music Production courses, particularly since many of our students are preparing to work within the music industry’s live events sector (not only as artists but behind the scenes).”


Paul Latham, Head of Live Nation and Chair of the National Skills Academy for Creative & Cultural said: “Finding people who want to work in the music industry isn’t the hard part, this is an attractive industry with many a young person wanting to work in it. Finding the right person with the right skills and attitude is a different matter. Production day visits will give these students a real insight into what it takes to put on a world-class show.”


The Skills Academy’s website www.getintolivemusic.org was launched last summer, and the year-round production days programme sit at the centre of a coherent ambition to shape and encourage the skills landscape in the UK, showing young people that there are careers in the creative and cultural sector that are not only desirable but extremely stable – long-term and truly viable options. And, with the UK experiencing a surge in live music events (contributing £1bn to the economy each year) along with a predicted 40% growth in performing arts by 2020, such inspiration is becoming increasingly vital to the industry and the creative economy. Accordingly, this autumn’s programme has grown, with new venues and even more artists.


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