UK - The ABTT is inviting people to sign up and participate in its Work Life Challenge initiative. It’s a challenge designed to “encourage us to prioritise time for activities that allow us to wind down from the stresses and strains of our working life, while also providing a focus and incentive for raising money for our much-loved industry charities: Backup Tech, The Theatrical Guild and Stagehand”.
The aim of the challenge is to encourage us to consider and promote a better attitude towards achieving a healthy balance between our work and other “life” activities that help us to unwind and get away from the pressures of our career. Consider starting a walking group; get together with others that run; start a weekly yoga practice before shows; baking; crafting; anything you like but make sure it’s fun and that it makes you smile.
There are two options to s

UK - This year, Black Skull Creative, in collaboration with its sister company Black Skull Studio and Marvin Dietmann, was entrusted with the task of creating nine distinct country performances for this year's Eurovision Song Contest in Liverpool.
From content design and choreography to production design and stage direction, Black Skull Creative covered all aspects of creative direction and production from ideation to completion.
"As the co-creative director of nine Eurovision countries, overseeing such a massive task was undeniably challenging,” says Ross Nicholson of Black Skull Creative. “However, it was also an immensely rewarding experience. Eurovision provided a platform for untapped creativity and we, at Black Skull Creative, seized that opportunity to infuse our creatives with a sense of boundless imagination and fun.
“The Eurovision stage became

Broadway Bounces Back - Broadway is making "a strong rebound", according to industry body the Broadway League, as it publishes figures that reveal 12.3m people attended shows in the first full year of data since the pandemic. This is 17% down on pre-pandemic levels. The Broadway League also said grosses for the 2022/23 season were $1.6bn and indicated that the figures compare favourably with pre-pandemic levels.
According to its data, the 2022/23 season included 1,474 playing weeks - the overall number of weeks of performance logged by all shows during the season - and 40 new productions.
In a statement explaining the data, the league said tourism was stronger but "not back to pre-pandemic levels", particularly in terms of international tourists for the 2022/23 season. "The season had fewer playing weeks and performances than in the (record-breaking) full seasons that

UK/USA - In 2008, ETC became the first official supporter of Behind the Scenes. Ever since, it has been donating all proceeds of the company’s cutting-edge iRFR and aRFR apps, which are now split between the re-named UK charity Backup Tech, and continues its support of US-based charity, Behind the Scenes.
Cat Shepherd, marketing communications coordinator at ETC, explains why they are passionate about supporting Backup Tech. “As an industry, we always tend to push ourselves to the limit to make the show work or get it to the next venue on time, constantly solving problems, often without even realising it. We see it when delivery dates are pushed to make sure a new show or venue can open on time, or when people work tirelessly to make sure that a new piece of software is functional, enabling the new effect to work, among other laborious tasks that require a great deal of

Fighting Fund - Equity has sent out a warning to theatre management that members are prepared to strike in order to secure better conditions, revealing the union now has a £1m fund to support workers taking part in industrial action. Addressing members at this year’s Equity conference, general secretary Paul W Fleming said not listening to the union would have a "serious consequence".
In his speech, Fleming listed the recent successes of the union, including securing a new pantomime agreement, and claimed "pay has risen in real terms every decade on the West End for over 50 years". Fleming said staff had "negotiated like never before, and organised like never before" and described Equity as a "powerful industrial union".
He said the union had "literally put our money where our mouth is" with a strike fund - used by unions to support members who would not oth

UK - This week sees the first episode of Backstage with Backup, a new series of podcasts designed to let you know a bit more about Backup Tech by talking to the people behind the charity, the industry friends it works with, and those who have benefitted from its support.
Backup Tech is a UK registered charity that provides financial and wellbeing support to technical professionals, crew and production personnel and anyone working in the technical supply chain across the UK entertainment industry.
In this first episode, Sarah James (Press & PR for Backup) talks to Backup trustee and Autograph MD Scott Arnold, who discusses his passion for working with Backup, his history of mental health - he has general anxiety disorder - and his desire to give something back to celebrate the way he has been helped, and to help others.
“I was very lucky,” he says.

USA - Brant Underwood has joined Theatre Projects’ New York office as associate principal. “Viewing industry consultants from the outside, I always knew TP was at the top of my list if I ever made the leap,” shares Brant.
Brant joins Theatre Projects from the world of fabrication, automation, technical direction, visual arts, scenic construction, and experiential design, where he held a broad resume, moving from union stagehand at various New York venues to lead project manager at Hudson Scenic Studios in a relatively short period of time (and with ample detours along the way). Working with Theatre Projects attaches him to the same communities and opportunities, but with an even broader impact.
“Brant and I have a long history together. We started in the New York theatre scene, assembling the tools we now share with clients at Theatre Projects. We spent time in

UK - HireTrack NX has announced the release of its Enhanced Crewing feature. The feature provides a streamlined, integrated approach to managing crew across multiple jobs, eliminating the need for multiple systems and increasing efficiency and control.
The Enhanced Crewing feature offers a spreadsheet-like editor for managing shifts, detailed breakdowns of crew pay, charges, expenses, and accommodation options. A global editor allows for booking across multiple jobs, and a calendar-style display is also included.
Customers, including TSL and Pearce Hire, have already praised the new feature for its significant improvements to workflows, accuracy of information, and financial control. The Enhanced Crewing feature is the latest example of HireTrack NX's commitment to innovation and evolution within the live events industry.

Business Boost - Liverpool businesses have described "footfall like Christmas" thanks to an estimated influx of 500,000 visitors during Eurovision events in the city. Hotels, restaurants and shops enjoyed a huge boost as Liverpool hosted what city region mayor said was the "most successful Eurovision Song Contest".
Sweden's Loreen won the honours in the grand final on Saturday. But Liverpool is also a winner with up to £250m in economic benefits over the next two years, Steve Rotheram said. Up to 500,000 extra visitors flocked to the city during the EuroFestival between 1-13 May, according to early footfall data and figures from Merseyside Police, Liverpool City Council said.
The city council said Liverpool ONE saw a 32% growth in numbers compared to the same period last year - with some days seeing increases as high as 53% - and more than 500,000 people

Armed Presence - Drones will be restricted from flying above Liverpool during Eurovision, as police in Merseyside prepare for their biggest ever operation. Merseyside Police said restrictions affecting drones would be in place from 23:00 BST until 14 May, the day after the competition final. A "visible armed presence" was also expected as about 100,000 extra visitors are set to travel to the city.
Liverpool is preparing to host the UK's first Eurovision Song Contest for more than 20 years. Two semi-finals and a final will take place at the M&S Bank Arena between 9 and 13 May. Ch Insp Iain Wyke said: "Our policing plans for the Eurovision Song Contest take land, sea and air into consideration and these airspace restrictions, just like other security measures such as road closures or patrols on the River Mersey, are aimed at keeping people safe."
Short List -

Training Network - Guildhall School of Music and Drama is to roll-out a national training network in performance and production for children and young people, as it looks to "broaden the country’s talent pipeline". The Guildhall Young Artists network incorporates five existing centres across England, plus an online centre for remote study, and offers a range of one-to-one training, group lessons and holiday courses in both music and drama.
The network includes the Centre for Young Musicians in Waterloo, Junior Guildhall at the Barbican, plus centres in King’s Cross, Norwich and Taunton, with each site run in partnership with local arts venues and education providers.
Signing Off - US rock 'n' roll band Aerosmith have announced a farewell tour to mark more than five decades together. The band, who are now all in their 70s, are well known for hits such

Royal Visit - King Charles III will officially turn the lights on to reveal what the Eurovision Song Contest stage will look like, Buckingham Palace has announced. The King - along with Camilla, the Queen Consort - will tour Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena on Wednesday ahead of it hosting the event next month. As well as revealing the stage set-up they will meet show presenters and Mae Muller, who is representing the UK.
The stage design is intended to give the impression of the contest "opening its arms to Ukraine", organisers have previously said. The Royal couple will meet the creatives behind the event, along with the show's Ukrainian host Julia Sanina, UK host - and Ted Lasso star - Hannah Waddingham and BBC Radio 2's Eurovision presenters Scott Mills and Rylan Clark.
As part of their visit to the city the King and Queen Consort will also visit Liverpool Central

UK - The Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT) has announced the latest addition to its annual ABTT Awards, the ABTT Award for Environmental Sustainability.
The award will be presented to someone who over the past 12 months has made a significant contribution to furthering environmental sustainability within the theatre industry.
The award will sit alongside the established ABTT Technician of the Year Award and Award for Emerging Excellence which recognise the achievements of individuals both starting out and well-established in their backstage careers.
The ABTT Awards are one of the Association’s flagship events which this year will take place on Wednesday 7 June Alexandra Palace and the ABTT would like to extend an invitation to those in the industry to attend the ceremony and Theatre Show social, which will take place following the first day of

Final Curtain - Andrew Lloyd Webber has warned that the days of original shows opening on Broadway "ended long ago", with the composer calling on the industry to work together to secure a future for new work in New York’s theatre district. The composer, writing in the New York Times as his musical The Phantom of the Opera played its final performance on Broadway after 35 years, warned that the costs of running musicals in New York were so high that it was forcing producers to find shows with "small casts and minimal sets" and leading to an increase in jukebox musicals.
Writing in the paper, he said: "The era of the big original Broadway musical ended long ago. Massive hits such as Hamilton and Phantom did not originate on Broadway, unlike West Side Story and Fiddler on the Roof.
"Who is taking a risk, as Hal [Prince] did so w

UK - Kartfest 2023 is all set to be the biggest and the best Backup has ever held. Taking place on 6 July, the event will see 34 teams of expert industry racers, as well as a few novices thrown in for good measure and laughs, all driving towards becoming winners of the coveted championship title. There will be tweed and flowery dresses galore, and a host of stalls to keep non-racers amused throughout the day at the first ever Kart-Fest Village Fete.
None of this would be possible without the generosity of the Kartfest sponsors. For this year’s event, Chauvet Professional once again takes up the headline sponsor slot, with first time main sponsor 5 Star Cases deciding to join them after their exciting - and hilarious - experience of sponsoring last year’s inaugural Flight Case Challenge. But why do they want to commit their time and money to Kartfest again?

Musical Theatre - BEAM 2023, a two-day event this May dedicated to new musical theatre, is to showcase 29 musicals-in-development. Running across 25-26 May at the Oxford Playhouse, BEAM will showcase new musicals and host workshops and panel discussions on musical theatre. Musical Theatre Network, Mercury Musical Developments and Oxford Playhouse are producing the event.
Shows to be featured at BEAM 2023 include Song of the Far Isles, an actor-musician musical by Matt Borgatti; Ratburger, a musical adaptation of the David Walliams book of the same title by Robert White; Once Upon a Carnival by Leian John-Baptiste, Perry Melius and Triniboi Joocie; and Scholl by Ella Grace.
Mercury Musical Developments executive director Natalia Scorer said: "BEAM is a vital platform for exciting new shows to be discovered. These 29 new musicals have b

Taken Over - One of Scotland's oldest and best-loved theatres has been taken over by new owners. The Pavilion Theatre in Glasgow has been bought by London-based Trafalgar Entertainment for an undisclosed sum. The 1,449-capacity Renfield Street venue was one of the last privately run theatres in Scotland. Opening in 1904 as a music hall, the venue has played host to stars including Harry Lauder, Charlie Chaplin, Billy Connolly and Lulu.
Chris McGuigan, from Trafalgar Entertainment said: "You can feel the history, but you can feel the love which has gone into maintaining it. We are proud to become custodians of the Pavilion." The theatre is the first in Scotland to be acquired by Trafalgar Entertainment, which also has theatres in Australia, England and Wales.
On The Edge - Sheffield-based musical Standing at the Sky's Edge will transfer to London's

UAE - EFM Global Logistics chartered 155ft yacht Desert Rose to celebrate 15 years operating out of Dubai – taking guests, DJs, food and drink up the coast from the city’s marina.
Clients past and present joined EFM’s directors on board to recognise the run of events the company has delivered for and to ‘kick around what comes next’.
EFM’s history in the region goes back to transporting equipment for a 2005 spectacular celebrating the official Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) launch.
The dearth of available vehicles in the city at that stage, capable of delivering to the standards clients had come to expect, saw EFM CEO, Mike Llewellyn, resolve to build his own. And EFM went on to establish itself as a local supplier three years later.
Since then, the company has provided for events across the gamut in the Middle East. Films includi

UK - Four young industry pros have joined the team at Crosstown Concerts to ‘bring fresh vision and extend the independent promoters’ network of artists and live shows’.
Crosstown director Conal Dodds has 32 years of experience promoting live music, forming Crosstown Concerts in 2016 with fellow Director Paul Hutton. He comments, “Promoting live music has never been more vibrant, as we rise from the turmoil of the pandemic to shape a new landscape. I was keen to introduce new voices into Crosstown that face the future.
“This new breed of promoters each bring their own passion, individual ideas and ambitions that will bring progression to our business, the artists and fans. Paul Hutton is stepping back from front line promoting from the end of March to take up an advisory consultancy role, so our new team is the way forward for Crosstown. We celebrated our sev

Stream On - The success of artists like Taylor Swift and BTS helped global music revenues rise to $26.6bn (£21.7bn) last year, the highest level since records began in the 1990s. The growth was largely driven by streaming, which now accounts for 67% of the industry's earnings. Last year, 589m people paid for a subscription, said trade body the IFPI, up from 523m in 2021.
But labels say income could be higher, and are pushing for prices to rise. "It would help if music subscription pricing could reflect the realities of inflation," said Simon Robson, president of international markets for Warner Music.
The UK's largest streaming service, Spotify, hasn't increased its prices since launching in 2009, with an individual subscription set at £9.99. Most of its competitors maintain a similar pricing structure. Warner Music CEO Robert Kyncl recently suggested that the US rat

UK - Event crewing specialist Showforce has announced that Becky Meers has been promoted to the role of head of operations UK & Europe. Becky will oversee the account management, crew management and operations functions for Showforce’s UK and European business.
Having joined Showforce’s Liverpool office in 2010 as an account handler, over the last few years, she has ran point on some of Showforce’s largest accounts and projects including Creamfields North and South, Cannes Lions, Glastonbury, Platinum Jubilee and The 150th Open.
The announcement follows the news that the company’s Liverpool office has been expanded as so many international events head to the city this year. The Showforce team is readying itself for a busy period as Eurovision fever grows and the build for the 151st Open beginning. Showforce’s Liverpool office has built an excellent reput

USA - In June of 2009 ETC launched a new app that turns Apple handhelds into miniature lighting controllers. From the very beginning, ETC decided that all profits from sales of the iRFR (Radio Focus Remote) and later the aRFR for Android apps would be donated to charity. On Friday at the 2023 USITT Show, ETC presented Behind the Scenes with a check for $39,599 bringing the total donated to the charity to over half a million dollars.
The iRFR and aRFR mobile apps enable convenient, touchscreen-based remote control for Eos family consoles and controllers. You can learn more about the apps from the ETC website and download them from the iTunes or Google Play stores.
David Lincecum, ETC’s vice president of marketing, commented, “Many of us are drawn to work in the entertainment technology industry because of its strong sense of community. Behind the Scenes has long b

UK - Event, catering and brand logistics specialist Global Infusion Group has appointed Tim Young as its new managing director. Young brings of experience at both PLC and SME level to the role.
Prior to joining Global Infusion Group, Young was managing director of AMP Air Conditioning, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Panasonic Corporation, leading business operations and financial management. This followed a five-year stint as finance and commercial director with event supplier Thorns Group.
Commenting on his appointment, Young says: “I’m honoured to join the Global Infusion Group and working alongside such a great team. This is such an exciting time for the business, our catering division has just completed a record year of business with several high-profile events, tours and major global games successfully delivered in 2021/22. Whilst the logistics arm is makin

Europe - The Inside Story has taken steps to reduce its impact on the planet by becoming CoolPartner number 054 with, a social enterprise creating new forests along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. The move will give the full-service marketing agency a verifiable nature-based solution to offset the carbon emissions created by the business.
“As a company, we have been talking for a while about the impact that our actions are having on the environment and we wanted to take positive action to reduce this,” explains Barney Jameson, founder and managing director at The Inside Story. “After a period of extensive research, we decided that Cloudforests presented the best solution to help us reduce our carbon footprint.”
“Joining Cloudforests is a powerful statement about what we stand for as a company,” adds John Hull, director of video at The Inside

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