Turkey - Show architects Black Skull Creative and Balich Wonder Studios collaborated to present Pepsi’s 2023 UEFA Champions League Final Kick Off Show on 10 June in Istanbul.
Brazilian pop sensation Anitta and Grammy award-winning Nigerian superstar Burna Boy and special guest multi-platinum DJ and producer Alesso featured in the show.
Black Skull’s Jay Revell comments: "With The 2023 UEFA Champions League Final Kick Off Show by Pepsi, we wanted to showcase the immense power of football to unite diverse fans and cultures. Istanbul, a symbol of global cultures, serves as the perfect backdrop for this unforgettable TV spectacle.
“By enlisting artists from three different continents - Africa, South America, and Europe - we wanted to highlight the global reach and influence of football. This show is a testament to the unifying force that brings powerful, disti

UK - The Association of British Theatre Technicians’ Annual Awards took place on Wednesday evening, 7 June, after the first day of the 2023 ABTT Theatre Show at Alexandra Palace, London. This year, the awards were again generously supported by TAIT.
Ted Moore, director of rental services, said of the Awards: “TAIT is really proud to be here once again to sponsor the ABTT Awards Presentation, one of the best globally in our industry. We wish all the nominees good luck and give congratulations to whoever the winners may be.”
The five highly sought after Awards for Lighting Product, Sound Product, Engineering Product, ‘Widget’ and Stand of the Year, were complemented by the announcement of the recipients of the ABTT Technician of the Year and the ABTT Award for Emerging Excellence which recognise the achievements of individuals both starting out and well-establ

Saudi Arabia - EFM Global has opened a 43,000sq ft warehouse in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (KSA), further highlighting its commitment to the region. Strategically located, the traditional, base level structure is designed to support growth for existing and for new customers.
In the Middle East since 2008, EFM has provided for tours, festivals, film, international sports, exhibitions and much more - Kendrick Lamar, MDLBEAST Soundstorm, Desert Warrior, the Dubai World Cup closing ceremony and the Amakin Exhibition being a handful of recent projects.
The size and scale of its Riyadh facility puts EFM in a strong position in terms of competitors’ capacity in Saudi Arabia and the company is looking forward to the difference it will make to clients’ event ambitions and execution.
Group CEO, Mike Llewellyn, comments: “Having recently celebrated 15 years in Dubai it feel

Artificial Intelligence - Sir Paul McCartney says he has employed artificial intelligence to help create what he calls "the final Beatles record". He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the technology had been used to "extricate" John Lennon's voice from an old demo so he could complete the song. "We just finished it up and it'll be released this year," he explained.
Sir Paul did not name the song, but it is likely to be a 1978 Lennon composition called Now And Then. It had already been considered as a possible "reunion song" for the Beatles in 1995, as they were compiling their career-spanning Anthology series. Sir Paul had received the demo a year earlier from Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono. It was one of several songs on a cassette labelled ‘For Paul’ that Lennon had made shortly before his death in 1980.
The tracks were largely recorded onto a bo

Song Tracking - The music industry has committed to improving metadata for tracking songs on music streaming platforms, following widespread criticism from artists. The writers, performers and producers of songs will now be consistently identified. These creators say they do not receive their fair share of royalties when tracks are played on streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music. It comes as the government launches a group to look into these concerns.
Sir John Whittingdale, minister for the creative industries, said the move would help the UK to "offer viable career opportunities". "This landmark agreement on streaming metadata is a step towards ensuring UK musicians in the digital age are fairly credited and compensated for their contributions and creativity," he said. "I'm pleased to be bringing the industry together so we can explore wider issues around music

South Africa - Elation Professional's exclusive sales partner in South Africa, The Production Warehouse, took to the road in mid-May to show first-hand to customers an array of its latest lighting products including luminaires from Elation’s popular Proteus, Fuze, and KL series.
While theatre, rental house and broadcast clients took the opportunity to demo products, the tour, which visited Johannesburg 15-16 May and Cape Town 18-19 May, was a chance for the AV distribution company to renew relationships post-pandemic.
Marnus Nieuwoudt, owner of The Production Warehouse, stated: “Being our first major roadshow post-Covid, the roadshow wasn't only about showcasing the latest technology Elation has to offer, it was more about reconnecting and networking with old friends and colleagues, while meeting some new customers along the way.”
Marnus says that, not sur

UK - The ABTT’s first Make A Difference conference took place at the Albany Theatre on Friday 21 April, 2023, and the association has now announced the release of the conference’s full report.
70 industry delegates from across the country and a range of companies, venues, organisations and institutions were in attendance to discuss the industry’s current recruitment and retention challenges. The report outlines the issues which were discussed and the actions that were suggested. It also reports on some things that have already happened as a result of the conference day.
The “conference day was developed in order to find a way to better host and join-up some of the thinking that was happening throughout the year in ABTT seminars and at the ABTT Theatre Show. It was also intended that the conference would not only further nurture these discussions but would also

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?
“It


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

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