Hi Sarah! First of all, congratulations on your win! Can you tell us what your job involves day-to-day?
‘My company provides production, event and artist liaison services to large-scale events, festivals, stadium shows – primarily outdoors. I also deliver production management for theatre shows, site specific work and large-scale arts events. In recent years I have taken on an event producer role for some of this work.’
Why are technicians like you important to your industry?
‘Technicians are the life blood of the entertainment – these multiple key roles make everything work – from crew to carry, to more skilled roles installing and operating equipment, through to designers and creators – everybody has a key function in the creative delivery process.’
What couldn’t happen without you?
‘In my work I am constantly pulling together teams of skilled people and suppliers to deliver shows and productions – balancing time, money and the demand of the event or production to meet the deadlines and delivery.’
What led you to choose this job role?
‘I trained as a stage manager at drama school, worked as a technician in a venue, organised an outdoor event and then jumped to the role of production manager for a local authority events team, then crossed back in to a sub rep house as the Production Manager before combining the two and stepping out on my own as an outdoor event site manager. I built my own company up from there.’
What’s the best bit about your job?
‘Getting paid to do something I love, being part of a team and having a huge amount of variety in the work I do.’
What skills/attributes do you need to do your job?
‘I am really organised and love a list! I work hard, long hours, so being able to maintain energy and enthusiasm is important. I am constantly learning – you never stop learning, as technology changes and systems change – so it’s important to keep up. As CAD software and Excel spreadsheets are a huge asset in my day to day role, I keep my skills for using them up to date.
In terms of personality traits needed, you have to be both the boss and a team player. Working with creatives with ambitious visions, sometimes you have to say no, but I am always committed to the creative goal, so I always work hard to find solutions.’
What is your current daily routine like?
‘In these current times I am still planning some projects that are for 2021 – so my week consists of some office days and some time to catch up with housework. I am also joining webinars and Zoom meetings about how the live events industry can help itself and gather support – for me it is all about the people.’
‘There is less to do at the moment, but I have been reaching out to suppliers, clients and industry buddies, just to check in and say ‘Hi’', it’s really important to keep in touch.'
As a company we have been supplying local accreditation staff and site assistants for the hospital build at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, which has been great to find a way to be onsite and doing what we do.’
What would you say to either a young person thinking about a technical career or a fellow technician?
‘The live sector is a great industry to be a part of and the skills you come with and learn are extremely transferable. Despite these really challenging times, the sector will come back – there will be some new ways of working and there will be a changed landscape, but together we will continue to be market leaders, innovative and confident.’
To read more about what makes Sarah a worthy winner of the ABTT’s 2020 Technician of the Year Award, visit www.abtt.org.uk/abtt-awards-2020-winners