PLASA's popular Professional Development Programme
UK - The PLASA Professional Development Programme (PDP) is renowned as a platform for sharing ideas and showcasing industry expertise. This year, the PDP will occupy two spaces at Excel London - the Audio and AV Theatre and the Lighting and Stage Theatre.

The PDP made its debut in 2010. Since then over 300 speakers have taken part in its panels, which have welcomed thousands of attendees. The programme's aim is to test theory, inspire debate and positively impact the different strands of the entertainment technology industry.

The Lighting and Stage Theatre is preparing to welcome a wide range of expertise and talent, from companies like Martin Professional, Theatre Projects, Marshmallow Laser Feast, IQ Magazine, The Backstage Centre and Avolites Media, and from organisations including ABTT and the Association of Lighting Designers.

Leading lighting manufacturer, Martin Professional, is supporting the Lighting and Stage Theatre as its sponsor. Drawing from its network of industry experts, it will deliver three sessions during the programme.

The theatre will host Marshmallow Laser Feast, who will present recent work and talk about its innovative approach to creative briefs. Standout projects to be discussed include software design for U2's Invisible video, motion tracking and real-time visuals for dance performance The Measures Taken and recent work for the Oculus Rift. Founded in 2011, Marshmallow Laser Feast's aim is to create emotional and engaging artworks by adding a human touch to the mechanical world of technology.

Theatre Projects' founder Richard Pilbrow will lead a panel of lighting specialists through Rediscovering Lighting Control - Past, Present and Future. Neil Austin, Robert Bell, Rob Halliday and Jim Laws will accompany Richard as they introduce The Backstage Heritage Collection - a group that represents passionate theatre technical people, who believe a record of lighting technologies should be kept and artefacts preserved as references for future developments.

The Backstage Centre will use its session to launch a new initiative called Insights. Each month, it will interview influential people from the live production industry, providing students with regular insights in to the different careers available to them. The series will kick off at PLASA 2014 with lighting designer Jason Larcombe from White Light Ltd.

The Roundabout Theatre - The Art of Collaboration will see a panel discussion about the development of Paines Plough Roundabout Theatre - a pop-up portable theatre, which debuted at this year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival (see the October issue of LSi - OUT SOON - for more on this project).

IQ Magazine's Gordon Masson and Live Nation's head of operations John Probyn, will discuss The Evolution of Festival Operations, reflecting on some of the challenges, solutions and funny anecdotes from the colourful history of outdoor festivals. A company that has enjoyed many festival successes, Avolites Media, will investigate the Convergence of Video and Lighting - a trend that is prevalent across a variety of sectors, including television, theatre, concerts and live events.

The Association of Lighting Designers will present Environmental Issues in Live Performance Lighting - a discussion about how the industry can have a smaller environmental impact, covering everything from manufacturing to usage to disposal. While ABTT will provide an overview of the observation, access, maintenance and management of plaster ceilings and structures in places of entertainment, referring to the work being carried out at the Apollo Theatre, following an incident there in December 2013.

In the Audio and AV Theatre, Joint Audio Media Education Services (JAMES) will be represented by its executive director David Ward, who will give two seminars aimed at highlighting the importance of education in the sound industry. The Up-Skilling Forum will look at why continuing professional development i

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