Meet Sarah, ABTT's Technician of the Year!

Sarah Hemsley-Cole is not only the company director of SC Productions Ltd, but she’s also the winner of ABTT’s Technician of the Year 2020!

Throughout her career to date, she has dreamt up and executed stage solutions for headliners such as Stereophonics and Ed Sheeran. More recently she helped create the temporary hospital for Covid-19 patients in the middle of Cardiff’s Principality Stadium. Her colleagues, mentees, and the ABTT have judged her to be the bee’s knees and we agree!

The live events industry is facing challenging times at the moment, with live performances postponed and venues closed due to the pandemic. In spite of this, Sarah loves her job and is finding ways to support her industry, the next generation of technical talent, and her local community in their fight against COVID-19.

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

 

 

 

 

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