The most recent STSG Conference took place on Saturday 18th February 2017 at Berkhamsted School in Hertfordshire.
It was our 8th conference, having run 7 successful conferences since 2008. The event took place over one day (Saturday), featuring a programme of workshops and seminars with 2-course hot lunch included. The day was followed by a 3-course dinner at a local hotel with overnight accommodation.
Workshops were provided by our industry sponsors and other invited speakers, with topics based on the feedback and suggestions from the last conference. There were also the usual opportunities to network with other members and the company reps/exhibitors, as well as time to chat about the latest progress on the STSG Performance Support Award.
This year's conference had a Digital Media flavour, with technical workshops on LED screens and moving lights, and systems for connecting digital systems, plus an introduction to effective digital marketing and an offer for STSG members from DigitalTheatre+.
- AC Entertainment Technologies - Playing with Pixels.
Demonstration of Hippotiser, LED screens and pixel-map-able LED heads.
- White Light - Distributing Digital AV: connecting spaces and workflows.
Introduction to the technologies available for distributing digital video, audio and show control systems.
- Charcoalblue - What is a Theatre Consultant/Why is Theatre Design important?
- Stage Electrics
- Ticketsolve - Introduction to Digital Marketing services.
- Illuminate Design
- Digital Theatre+ - Free 2-week access for STSG members to review content.
- Dress Box Ltd.
- ABTT - Introduction to the benefits of ABTT and Safety Matters.
- More details about our sponsors can be found on the Supporters page.
- 96% of survey respondants rated this year's conference as Very Good or Excellent.
- 92% said that they are Very Likely or Moderately Likely to contact/make purchases from the exhibitors.
- 96% said that they are Very Likely or Extremely Likely to return to a future conference.
Thirty STSG members met at St Peter's School in Bournemouth on Saturday 20th February for a full day programme of workshops/seminars, including lunch, followed by 3-course dinner and accommodation at a nearby hotel. Several leading industry suppliers displayed a small exhibition of products, as well as providing a range of interesting workshops and seminars.
The day was a mix of technical and non-technical subjects, and was attended by technicians, managers and drama teachers. This year, in addition to the workshops provided by our sponsors, STSG held a discussion/information session on the new GCSE Drama options for those of us who assist/deliver the teaching of technical/design exam modules, plus an update session for the STSG Performance Support Award. By request, copies of the presentations are available via the Members Website.
- AC Entertainment Technologies - Moving Light Maintenance.
- Stage Electrics - Working at Height.
- White Light - Lighting Masterclass.
- Charcoalblue - Theatre Design; 'Getting the Bursar to pay!'
- Illuminate Design - Exhibitor.
- ABTT - Codes of Practice.
- STSG Performance Support Award.
- GCSE Drama Technical Options.
Comments from the conference:
I thoroughly enjoyed the conference. It had a relaxed friendly feel, and I found it a pleasure to speak with like-minded individuals.
Just on the way home after my first visit to a STSG conference and would like to thank you firstly for the incredible organisation but to all the presenters, sponsors and hosts for the invaluable information. It was great to meet some people who 'just get it'.
The sixth STSG conference took place in February 2015 at the Bacon Theatre, Dean Close School, Cheltenham. The event was attended by technicians, managers and teachers from school theatres and drama departments around the country. Workshop sessions on a range of relevant technical topics were provided by AC Entertainment Technologies, Stage Electrics and White Light, alongside displays from GDS and iStudio Projects. Charcoalblue Theatre Consultants also sponsored the event.
- Hands-on LED lighting - Workshop provided by AC Entertainment Technologies.
- Pyrotechnics/Magic FX - Workshop provided by Stage Electrics.
- Sustainable LED House Lighting - Product demonstration by GDS.
- Sound mixing for musicals - Workshop provided by White Light.
- Projection mapping - Workshop provided by White Light.
This year's conference marked the tenth year of STSG as an organisation, having grown from an informal group of like-minded individuals, to now being affiliated with the Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT). This important link gives wider recognition to theatre work within schools, as well as encouraging the development of the next generation of theatre professionals at school level. The conference was opened by Robin Townley, chief executive of ABTT.
At the conference, STSG also launched an ambitious project to create an award scheme to recognise school-aged young people working backstage at an extra-curricular level. The award is divided into Bronze, Silver and Gold levels, designed to be modular and accessible to all levels of ability and facilities. Several STSG members are now using the scheme on a trial basis, aiming for launch next year with recognition from industry bodies.
STSG would like to thank all those who attended the conference, including the staff at Dean Close School and the industry sponsors and exhibitors.
Comments from the conference:
After the event we asked delegates to complete a survey. 93% of respondants rated the conference as Very Good or Excellent.
Many thanks to you and the committee for the excellent conference. Good selection of workshops and well planned day (particularly liked the projection mapping session).
Just a quick note to say thank you for such a well organised weekend. I really felt it was worthwhile and have plenty of new ideas to put to my boss today! Particularly found the Pyro and LED workshops very useful.
Just a quick email to say well done for another successful conference. It again was well received by all attendees.
As with previous years, members enjoyed a busy full-day programme of workshops and seminars, with lunch, followed by 3-course dinner and accommodation at a nearby hotel.
Exhibitors included White Light, Stage Electrics and A.C. Entertainment Technologies.
- Session 1: Lighting
Hands-on workshop with LED lighting for theatre – a chance to try a range of fixtures, as well as ideas for how to use LED from a design viewpoint. Workshop led by Jason Larcombe, Lighting Designer for White Light.
- Discussion Forum - incorporating the AGM. A chance to chat about ideas and problems relating to working in school theatres.
- Session 2: Stage Management
Stage Electrics brings us up-to-date with the latest SM desks, comms and the next steps for stage management technology. Workshop led by Darren Beckley & Richard Thompson of Stage Electrics.
- Session 3: Theatre Design
Seminar looking at design considerations for school theatres. Seminar led by Gavin Owen, Senior Consultant at Charcoalblue.
- Pre-dinner drinks at the hotel.
Comments from the conference:
Thanks for hosting and organising the conference. It was very relevant as I'm working through a refurbishment.
Thank you for organising such an excellent conference this weekend. It was really enjoyable and worthwhile to meet everyone.
Thanks again for another splendid STSG conference this weekend. A lovely time had by all.
Thanks for your support on Saturday allowing us to talk about stage management desks. It was a really valuable event, enabling us to talk to a large number of delegates and to get useful feedback on our products.
Thank you for organising the conference last weekend. Having been trying to get one for four years, it was good to finally manage it! The LED session was interesting and useful. Coming from a background in Stage Management, I also enjoyed looking at the latest prompt desks.
I just wanted to thank you for your work in organising this year's conference. It was as usual interesting and informative. The discussion on staffing issues helped to put into perspective what might be changed in our venue.
Thanks very much for a great conference over the weekend. We both found it very useful and interesting.
Thank you for a great conference. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
The fourth STSG conference took place on Saturday 16th February 2013 at Hampton School, London.
- Video and Projection - How to use effectively and artistically integrated with performance + how to achieve results with limited equipment and budget. Workshop hosted by White Light.
- Acoustics for Beginners + What can we do cheaply and easily to improve the acoustics of a venue? Workshop by Charcoalblue Theatre Consultants.
- Practical Sound - Hands-on workshop with Delta Sound, to concentrate on practical aspects of set-up and mixing, both for theatre and live music. Workshop hosted by White Light with Delta Sound.
- Props, Scenery and Rigging - Workshop by Flints Theatrical Chandlers, demonstrating some useful products for props making and scenic constructions, as well as a look at some important rigging techniques and ropes.
The day was followed by dinner at the nearby 4-star Lensbury Hotel, with overnight accommodation included in the full conference package. Pre-dinner drinks were sponsored by AC Entertainment Technologies.
The third STSG conference was held on Saturday 18th February 2012 at Rugby School, with a backstage visit to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford on Friday 17th February.
There was a busy line-up of technical workshops and seminars, as well as the usual lunch and dinner social events. Read a full report.
As always, our thanks go to the conference sponsors and workshop providers: White Light (main sponsor); Stage Electrics; Charcoalblue (including sponsorship of one delegate); AC Entertainment Technologies; Stage-in-a-Box; Tophex TheatreCom.
Comments from the conference:
I just wanted to thank you for organising last week's conference. I have been working in a school for seventeen years and it is easy to lose touch with the outside world. Listening to professionals who are in the thick of it and at the top of their game is an inspiration.
Congratulations on organising an excellent conference, full of interesting people and good things. I felt very welcome and enjoyed all bar the most technical aspects of the sound talk!
I had a great time and I am sure the day was very worthwhile for us. Looking forward to next time already!
Our second conference was held in February 2010 at Rugby School in Warwickshire. The event was sponsored by White Light, Philips Selecon, AC Entertainment Technologies, Zero 88, Stage Electrics and Showcomms, with workshops run by KV2 Audio, Philips Selecon and Showcomms.
The first session of the day looked at 'active' or self-powered loudspeakers and discussed some of the advantages and disadvantages of their use over conventional loudspeaker systems. The session was presented by Andy Austin Brown of KV2 Audio.
After lunch, the conference divided into groups for two smaller workshop sessions. The first was a presentation by Selecon Lighting, looking at the company's popular range of lanterns and the particular features making the lanterns suitable for school use.
The second session was a demonstration by Showcomms of wired and wireless communication equipment for use backstage.
Brian Attwood, editor of The Stage newspaper, chaired an open-forum session, in which it was discussed how best to encourage and support young people into backstage theatre careers, amongst other issues.
A suggestion was made that the STSG could develop a relatively simple, self-administered, 'reward' or qualification scheme to recognise the many students involved with backstage theatre at an extra-curricular level, with the intention that it will perhaps encourage them to consider taking a career further.
The Group's AGM closed the daytime sessions, with most delegates adjourning to a nearby hotel for dinner, drinks and an overnight stay.
Comments from the conference:
It was brilliant; I came home with lots of ideas. It was organised so well.
The whole event was very worthwhile.
It was really good to meet other people doing the same thing and discuss issues.
It was a really good mix of informative workshops, useful networking opportunities and socialising!
Well staged, effective and useful - and very friendly. It's a very worthwhile event.
Comments from our first conference in 2008:
"It was a very useful, friendly, informative conference and just the right mix of social, business and networking."
"Both of the events were appropriate for my level of understanding and I found it very helpful."
"A really well organised and enjoyable event."