This year, for the first time, Britannia Row Productions offered a work placement to a Year 13 Production Arts student from the BRIT School. Ethan Wells joined the audio crew to gain hands-on experience of the prestigious event.
As a long-time rental supplier to the BRIT Awards, Brit Row agreed to select and include a student within their crew, resulting in a fully immersive end to end experience of a high-pressure technical delivery.
Celebrating its 40th year in February, the 2020 BRIT Awards once again hosted the best in British and international pop music, with a series of live performances from the likes of Stormzy, Billie Eilish and Dave, broadcast live to home viewers and also enjoyed by audiences in the venue.
Deploying what was undoubtedly the most complex audio system in over 20 years of partnership, including a dual L-Acoustics PA system with a 3D spatial audio solution with Out Board’s TiMax, Brit Row was also keen to evolve further and support the BRIT School’s emerging talent.
To select a student entering into the professional audio industry, Brit Row Directors, Nicola Amoruso and Lez Dwight conducted the interviews personally and selected Wells first-hand. A fully engaging placement – from the very first stages of equipment prep through show prep, configuration, load in and rehearsals – Wells was also able to take on an assisting role within the crew on show day. Afterwards, the de-rigging and warehouse return operation ensued.
Following the two-week placement, Wells – who is in the final months of a two-year UAL Level-3 diploma in Production Arts at the BRIT School – stated: “I learnt a lot about teamwork and how a professional team works efficiently under pressure. I also learnt about the actual process of putting the show together, such as making the racks to a diagram and patching different units together. The experience helped me learn what it’s like to be a crew member on a large-scale show, and this has become very interesting to me.”
Brit Row Warehouse Manager Marcel van Limbeek noted: “Ethan interacted well with the rest of the in-house team and was keen to learn the ropes. He fit into the preproduction phase of the project very nicely.”
Onsite, Wells worked closely with Josh Lloyd, Brit Row System Designer & Audio Crew Chief Steve Donovan. Josh said: “Ethan worked well onsite and was mindful of using with high end, expensive equipment. He was very helpful and represented a high standard of talent coming out of the BRIT School.”
Martin Locket, Trustee at the BRIT School, commented: “Myself and fellow Trustee Maggie Crowe OBE from the BPI, are grateful to Brit Row for their on-going support towards the school and for providing this placement. We have just celebrated 10 years of the show’s lighting supplier providing a placement on the BRIT Awards and it is a fantastic development to now have the audio crew represented with a BRIT School presence too. We had over 500 of our students involved in this year’s BRIT Awards, from singers, dancers and performers to production crew. This has been a valuable experience for Ethan and thoroughly worthwhile for all involved.”
Brit Row Director, Lez Dwight added: “Ethan was a great fit with our team and we hope he got a lot out of the experience. He was always punctual during the prep & de-prep phases and worked well with our warehouse staff. When I saw Ethan at the main show itself, he seemed composed with a smile on his face – I read this as confirmation that Brit Row and Ethan had accomplished everything we had set out to when creating the placement.”
Working with a range of people, from Britannia Row warehouse staff to world class sound engineers, Wells is now positive that his experience has forged great connections for future work, but before then, more studies beckon.
In conclusion, he explained: “I will hopefully be attending the Royal Welsh School of Music and Drama to study Lighting, Sound and Stage Management. I feel that the experience with Brit Row has given me a wider understanding of the industry, and I now feel more prepared and confident in professional, live show environments.”