UK - Bill Harkin, designer of Glastonbury Festival’s iconic Pyramid Stage, passed away on Sunday 7th March. He was 83. 
Harkin grew up in Liverpool, attending secondary school in Sefton Park before embarking on painting and 3D construction studies, “with the occasional lunch time Beatles gig for 1 shilling at the Cavern.” Soon, Harkin was showing his work at The Liverpool Academy’s shows at the Walker Art Gallery as well as in art and architecture exhibitions for Liverpool University and The John Moores Painting Prize. “Then, somewhat briefly, I started a course in architecture,” he revealed in memoirs on the Pyramid Stage Glastonbury Festival website. “The tedium of course work was more than I could take, I was much more excited by the theatre and the new fabric structures of Frei Ott

UK - Throughout February, LSi and PLASA hosted a blind auction for an industry-related number plate reading ‘A1 DMX’, donated by a prominent TV lighting director who has chosen to remain anonymous. The aim of the auction was to raise funds for the #WeMakeEvents campaign, with the winning bid coming in at a generous £2,500. #WeMakeEvents, LSi and PLASA would like to thank everyone who took part.
Every penny from the auction will go to the #WeMakeEvents campaign and their chosen charity, Backup which supports industry professionals and their families through times of ill health and financial crisis. Backup also allocates #WeMakeEvents funds to a number of specialist charities, including: Acting for Others, Music Support, Stagehand and #MakeItBlue. 
The number plate’s original owner comments: “I’m very grateful to everyone who bid for my number plate, and esp

Summer of Love - More than 200 events are to be staged in and around Chester as Storyhouse prepares a reopening programme, which it promises will be a ‘barn-raising’ open air season. The arts organisation said it would begin activity from May, with theatres and cinemas allowed to operate from 17 May under the government reopening roadmap. Storyhouse said its Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre would open earlier than normal – possibly as early as 22 May – while Moonlight Flicks open-air cinema will also run from the May half term.
Storyhouse artistic director Alex Clifton said: “We’re launching a summer of festivity, joy and healing, together in the sunshine – a real summer of love. We’re planning a barn-raising, together-again party with the roof off. Plays and movies and family activities: all of us together in the city’s parks and open spaces, loving our cit

Germany - Neutrik has acquired Connex GmbH. The Oldenburg-based company, founded in 1990, produces and develops components for professional event industry and industrial applications.
The Connex product portfolio comprises solutions for mobile or stationary applications. These include power distribution systems, fibre optic solutions, video products, ethernet components, splitters, patching systems, stage boxes, cabling and measuring devices.
Connex focuses not only on standardised products, but also develops individual solutions and delivers comprehensive consulting services and support in the implementation of projects.
"We are very excited about the growth of our group. Connex GmbH is going to enable us to expand our activities to further areas of application and to strengthen our leading position in the market", says Chad Trevithick, CEO at Neutrik Group.

UK - Unusual Rigging has welcomed the outcome of yesterday’s Budget and what it means for theatres and other arts venues. The chancellor’s pledge to give an extra £410m to the arts is intended to help the sector recover as lockdown eases.
The funds are earmarked for theatres, museums, galleries and live music venues. But, says Tom Harper, managing director at Unusual, for the funds to be used most effectively, the industry should be regarded as an ecosystem, echoing the National Theatre’s Rufus Norris’ idea that the funds should be pumped into productions and not venues.
“The Chancellor has acknowledged that the culture sector will be a ‘significant driver’ in the UK’s pandemic recovery. While theatres are aiming to open from 17 May with social distancing in place, and with full capacity performances to be allowed from 21 June, there are still months a

UK - Budget 2021 included several measures relevant to theatres including additional funding for the arts, an extension to the Job Retention Scheme and a new Community Ownership Fund.
The Chancellor also announced other measures that could help some theatres: extension to the business rates holiday until the end of June followed by nine months of the rate being discounted by two thirds; VAT cut to 5% on leisure and hospitality sales will stay in place until 30 September, after which the rate will be 12.5% for a further six months, and Restart Grants of up to £18k per premises for hospitality businesses, which would include theatres.
Responding to the Budget, Theatres Trust director Jon Morgan says, “Theatres Trust welcomes not only the Chancellor’s announcement of additional funding for the arts, but also his recognition for the important role culture will play in

UK - Newly self-employed workers who have lost income during the COVID-19 crisis will be able to claim grants from the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).
The change to the eligibility criteria, which was announced by chancellor Rishi Sunak in today’s Budget, means those who have become self-employed during 2019-20 will be able to receive cash grants based on their tax returns. When SEISS was launched however, it was based on tax returns for 2018-19, which resulted in many people failing to qualify.
But this latest move will do little to please campaigners, who have been lobbying the government for months to extend the scheme to thousands more excluded workers, such as limited-company directors.
Sunak has also extended the furlough scheme to the end of September, with workers guaranteed to receive 80% of their income until then, whilst employers will b

Options Open - Integrated Systems Europe is keeping all options open for ISE 2021 which is scheduled to take place in Barcelona 1-4 June this year. Mike Blackman, managing director, Integrated Systems Events, has told exhibitors that the organisation is “working hard alongside each of you to bring a successful ISE 2021”.
Blackman states, “Together with each of you, our shared goal is to deliver a show that prioritises safety and brings a return on investment to our show community. With the rapid implementation of vaccines, and the current reduction in daily new cases, we see the COVID situation in many European countries (including Spain) improving at an increasing pace. Based on this positive trend, we anticipate a climate that will make it possible to run an in-person event in Barcelona. However, we are realistic that current attitudes to travel may mean a lower volum

UK - Roger Barrett, technical director at Star Live contacted SES Entertainment Services as he was in need of a large amount of quality power distribution units and cabling for three large semi-permanent contracts that they had been awarded. Owing to the technical requirements and location of some of the distro, it all had to be designed around a fixed brief.
The first stage of the project was to have design drawings approved by Star, to ensure that each of the units we would provide fitted exactly to each location where they would be installed. As some of the units were to be housed under the main structure, they had to be exact.
Once the drawings were approved, SES commenced manufacture of over 50 bespoke units and over 100 supply cables which were shipped shortly after order was confirmed so that they could be run into position awaiting the delivery of the distribut

USA - Behind the Scenes holiday cards will be available again this year. Proceeds from card sales help provide grants to entertainment technology professionals, or their immediate dependent family members, who are seriously ill or injured, and support the charity’s Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Initiative.
Each year designs have been created and donated to the charity by everyone from Tony Award winners to high school students. The design guidelines (btshelp.org/carddesign) are very simple and you can also view previous examples (btshelp.org/cardexamples).
If you are interested in designing a card, Behind the Scenes will need your commitment no later than15 April and your artwork by 15 May 15th. Please contact Lori Rubinstein at info@btshelp.org or 212-244-1421.

UK - Prime Minister Boris Johnson has revealed the four steps England is set to take towards “cautious yet irreversible” easing of lockdown restrictions over the coming months. The roadmap indicates that theatres, cinemas and other indoor entertainment attractions could reopen with reduced capacity and social distancing measures in place as part of step three, provisionally set to take place from 17 May. Johnson specifically said that as part of step three “theatres and concert halls can reopen their doors”, with pilots of larger events set to take place using enhanced testing. If coronavirus rates continue to fall as predicted, step four could see all restrictions lifted in England from 21 June. This will mean all sectors should be able to reopen.
The #WeMakeEvents campaign has issued the following statement in response to the announcement: “We welcome

Income Loss - Three quarters of creative freelancers or organisations working in areas dependent on live audiences have seen their income drop by more than half since the pandemic began, new figures from the Creative Industries Federation have revealed. Failure to ease the hardship being faced by many in the sector could result in “crippling inequalities” in future, and consequences that stretch beyond the creative industries, the federation warns.
According to its newly released statistics, creative freelancers were experienced the biggest drop in revenue, and are 20% more likely than organisations to have seen a reduction in income of three quarters or more since the beginning of the pandemic.
Following the findings, the Creative Industries Federation is calling on the government to take urgent support measures for the sector in the forthcoming Spring Budget. The

UK - In 2020, the first #ILoveLive prize draw raised £546,000 for the charity Stagehand helping music and road crew in desperate need. Launched this month is #ILoveLive 2, featuring more prizes from artists, promoters, venues and festivals.
Artists involved include Foo Fighters, Mumford & Sons, Iron Maiden, Muse, Spice Girls, Simple Minds, Passenger, Fleetwood Mac and many more.
David Stopps, Ian McAndrew and Tom Schroeder, alongside Andrew Lenthall and Mike Lowe from Stagehand, began the #ILoveLive Prize Draw campaign to help raise funds for all the music stage and road crew in the live music events industry that have been affected by the pandemic.
David Stopps said: “When I heard about the tenth suicide among stage crew in late August, I knew I had to do something. Stage crew are not only suffering great financial hardship but most are also experiencing

UK - PLASA, the association for the live entertainment technology industry, and the ABTT (Association of British Theatre Technicians) are pleased to announce a collaboration that will bring the 2021 editions of both the PLASA Show and the ABTT Theatre Show under one roof from 5-7 September at Olympia London.
For 2021 only, this partnership between the two established associations aims to reduce pressure on the exhibition calendar as the industry’s eco-system recovers from the impacts of the pandemic and will bring the broad sector together for one landmark event.
As previously planned for 2020, PLASA Show 2021 - for this year with the ABTT Theatre Show - will debut at Olympia’s largest hall, the Grand. The ABTT Theatre Show will run in its own defined space, retaining its unique identity, and celebrating the ABTT’s 60th anniversary. The spacious Grand hall will

UK - The board of governors of The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama has announced the appointment of Josette Bushell-Mingo OBE as the incoming principal of the school.
Currently the head of acting at Stockholm University of the Arts, Sweden, Bushell-Mingo is an award-winning actor and director whose 40-year career has included performances with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre and the Manchester Royal Exchange. She was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Rafiki in the West End production of The Lion King, a role which she originated, and she devised and starred in the internationally acclaimed production Nina: A Story about Nina Simone and Me.
As a director, Bushell-Mingo was founder and artistic director of PUSH, a Black-led theatre festival with the Young Vic Theatre. Through her work

UK - PLASA, the lead association for the entertainment technology industry, is running a free webinar on Wednesday 24 February to help attendees better understand the basics of the new UKCA marking which is now required for certain products being placed on the market in Great Britain.
Following on from a series of webinars covering business, trade and HR, this session will explore terms and definitions that relate to the new UKCA and CE UKNI markings. PLASA will be joined by expert host Rob Hine, head of commercial partnerships at BSI (an approved body for UKCA), who will break down what these terms mean in the context of UKCA and what this means for those placing products on the market. Rob will also take the time to answer any questions.
This webinar will prove essential for both UK and international businesses who sell products in the UK. Following the session, att


Under Pressure - Chancellor Rishi Sunak is under renewed pressure to provide greater financial security to the arts sector’s self-employed workforce in the forthcoming Budget, as the findings of a new inquiry warn of a talent exodus without support.
The Inquiry into the Future of Self-Employment has been carried out by Prospect – the parent union of BECTU – and calls on the chancellor to end “the exclusions from the government’s income support packages”, which have seen millions of self-employed and freelance workers fall through the gaps of existing financial support schemes.
As part of the inquiry’s research, a survey of more than 2,200 self-employed workers was carried out, of which 39% were trade union members.
BECTU head Philippa Childs gave evidence to the inquiry and said: "Workers in the creative industries have been left with

UK - To mark the centenary of Stephen Joseph’s birth and the 60th anniversary of the founding of ABTT, the ABTT Stephen Joseph Committee has announced an award to commemorate the life and work of the influential theatre practitioner and pioneer of theatre in-the-round.
A statement from the ABTT says: “Stephen Joseph was one of the most influential theatre practitioners of the last century. He was one of the founders of the ABTT and the Society of Theatre Consultants, now the Institute of Theatre Consultants. He promoted new writing, architectural standards and technical excellence, and was an inspiring university teacher. His pioneering work has given rise to the use of myriad forms of theatre and open staging in current practice. At the heart of his philosophy was the close and fundamental relationship between performer and audience. Above all, he established theatre-i

UK - The Stagehand COVID-19 Crew Relief Fund, launched in September 2020, achieved its target of raising £1m by the end of 2020 and now looks to building on the £1.17m raised in order to continue supporting live events industry workers experiencing hardship in 2021.
As a result, a third round of grant applications will be open until 12pm on 12 February. The grants of £500 help crew facing financial crisis and experiencing food poverty.
Donations to the COVID-19 Crew Relief Fund have been received from PPL, BPI / BRIT Awards, Universal Music Group, Sony Music, The Co-Op, SJM Concerts, artists, artist managers and many individuals including some by anonymous donors.
Prints for Music, the photography sale created by Ed Robinson who, together with 39 other photographers, donated images depicting musical heroes throughout the ages. The campaign saw significant f

Pay Freeze - Backstage theatre workers across the UK will have their pay frozen until April next year, under temporary contract changes aimed at helping the industry reopen following the pandemic. UK Theatre and BECTU have concluded a temporary COVID-19 Variation Agreement, which came into effect on 18 January and replaces the current UK Theatre/BECTU agreement until 2022.
Although BECTU members voted in favour of the amendments, the union said they were not happy with the changes. The changes will not impact separately negotiated house agreements with individual venues, but local negotiations can take place to vary house agreements in line with the temporary COVID-19 Variation Agreement.
The UK Theatre/BECTU agreement covers pay and working conditions for offstage roles in theatres across the UK in areas including box office, administration, technical, front of house,

UK - Guildhall School of Music & Drama has announced 15 new online courses that will run from April – July 2021. The school has transferred its most popular short courses online and created a range of new ones, working with tutors to ensure that they are “just as enriching and memorable as they would be within the building”.
The courses cover music, drama, music production for young women and girls, sound design for theatre, video mapping and an introduction to game audio. Participants will have the opportunity to learn with Guildhall School staff members, as well as guest tutors, in a range of workshops all held on Zoom.
In addition to these courses, Guildhall School is hoping to run several in-person Summer Schools from July - August. For a full list of in-person courses and to register your interest, you can go to the website

UK - If you’ve ever fancied owning an industry-relevant personalised number plate, now’s your chance! The plate, which reads A1 DMX is currently owned by a prominent lighting director, who would prefer to remain anonymous. It has been kindly donated to LSi to be auctioned in order to raise funds for the #WeMakeEvents campaign.
The LD says: “Some of us working in TV and film studios are fortunate enough to have kept some of our work since the COVID pandemic closed the majority of our industry last March. So many of our friends and colleagues, particularly in music, events and theatre, haven’t had any work at all during that time and have had little or no support from the government.”
“I would like to try to help out in a small way. I know many reading this in LSi will have homes and offices cluttered with old equipment and industry memorabilia. Some


No Coachella - Another major music festival, Coachella, has been cancelled due to the pandemic. The annual event in the southern Californian desert was scheduled over two weekends in April but the region's public health officer Dr Cameron Kaiser says it will not go ahead.
The Stagecoach country music festival, on the same site as Coachella but later in April, has also been cancelled, Dr Kaiser said, blaming the dire COVID-19 situation in the state. He said in a public health order: "If COVID-19 were detected at these festivals, the scope and number of attendees and the nature of the venue would make it infeasible, if not impossible, to track those who may be placed at risk."
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival takes place in the Indio desert near Palm Springs and attracted about 250,000 attendees in 2019, while Stagecoach draws more than 70,000 country

Festival Blues - This year's Glastonbury music festival has been cancelled due to coronavirus, organisers have confirmed. Michael and Emily Eavis announced the news on the festival's official Twitter page writing: “With great regret, we must announce that this year's Glastonbury Festival will not take place.”
It's the second year running that Glastonbury will not go ahead, after last year's 50th anniversary celebration was cancelled due to COVID-19. In a full statement on their website, the father and daughter team explained that in spite of “efforts to move Heaven & Earth”, the event would not be happening in 2021, adding that “this will be another enforced fallow year for us”.
“It has become clear that we simply will not be able to make the Festival happen this year. We are so sorry to let you all down. As with last year, we would like to offer all

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