Wakefield’s Production Park to team up with Halifax Piece Hall for ‘creative bootcamps’

A Wakefield-based facility where stars of the music industry rehearse their concerts has teamed up with a landmark venue in Halifax.
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The joint “skill bootcamp” project with Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin, is intended to grow opportunities for young people to work in live events.

It follows a summer of gigs at The Piece Hall in Halifax, where performances from global superstars such as Sting, James and George Ezra attracted more than 125,000 visitors to the region.

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Ms Brabin’s office said it highlighted an increasing need for local, skilled professionals to help deliver live events on this scale.

Madness at The Piece HallMadness at The Piece Hall
Madness at The Piece Hall

Nicky Chance-Thompson, chief executive of The Piece Hall Trust, said: “We’ve had a vision at the trust to create opportunities for employment in music and live events for some time and I’m incredibly grateful to the Mayor for agreeing to fund this training.

“Our 2023 gig season, in partnership with Cuffe and Taylor, was our biggest and best yet, and we’re passionate about sharing this success as widely as possible.

“It’s always been part of the plan to help open doors in the creative industries for disadvantaged young people, marginalized and minority groups and our involvement in the live events skills bootcamp is just the start.

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"The Live at The Piece Hall series is the perfect vehicle to help those who may otherwise struggle to get a foot on the ladder.”

Production ParkProduction Park
Production Park

The intensive training programme will take place at The Orange Box Young People’s Centre, next to The Piece Hall, by specialists from Production Park’s Academy of Live Technology in Wakefield.

In twelve weeks, students will learn how to run and crew major concerts and events, getting to grips with core aspects such as sound, lighting, rigging and staging.

Rachel Nicholson, head of institution at Production Park’s Academy of Live Technology, said: “We are delighted that Mayor Brabin has made such a strong commitment to upskilling people in the creative sector in West Yorkshire.

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"The live events industry continues to go from strength to strength here in the UK and worldwide, as audiences crave new experiences especially since Covid.

“The sector is crying out for skilled professionals, and Production Park’s Academy of Live Technology has a global reputation for training the next generation – both at home and abroad.

"We can’t wait to start working with homegrown talent in Halifax."

Funded by the Mayor through the Department for Education, the Skills Bootcamp for Live Events will equip local people with the skills they need to step into the rising number of creative opportunities on offer in the region.

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The mayor’s office said t creative job vacancies have risen by 17 per cent over the past year in West Yorkshire - three times more than the national average.

Ms Brabin said: “This new skills bootcamp brings together the untapped creative potential of our young people with the opportunities in our thriving creative industries.

“It will support local talent into amazing new careers and help deliver more live events throughout our world class venues.”

The training aims to move people on to potential opportunities with national live music and event promoters, Cuffe and Taylor, to support future events at The Piece Hall and beyond.