Peter Bird designs PF TALKS stage at AO Arena

The Production Futures mission to create opportunities for young people to learn, train, network and develop real careers in production, was brought sharply and positively into focus recently when Peter Bird, last year’s winner of its Breakthrough Award for Lighting Newcomer, took charge of designing the lighting for the organisation’s PF TALKS stage at its Manchester ON TOUR event.

Bird, who is studying Theatre and Performance Technology at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, collaborated by invitation with supplier Lights Control Rigging (LCR) to deliver lights for the focal point of the event which took place at the prestigious AO Arena.

Steve Bliss led the LCR project team and takes up the story: “We were approached by Production Futures to provide the main stage lighting package for their biggest show yet at the AO Arena in Manchester. We had an initial video call with Peter to discuss his ideas, and then a week later he came to our HQ to go through the design and make sure everything was possible with both kit availability and resources. After this meeting we successfully completed the final design which was seen at the show. On the Friday before the show, Peter sat in our pre-visualisation suite at LCR with a ChamSys console and one of each fixture, and programmed some basic looks into the console to save time on site. We then loaded into the Arena on the Monday with Peter’s assistance, and spent some time updating focuses and doing some final programming,” he said. “Peter was an absolute dream to work with, demonstrating the exceptional talent and professionalism which saw him win the Lighting Newcomer award for 2023. His vision and dedication significantly contributed to the event’s success, and we are excited to watch his promising career develop.”

LCR also took the opportunity to provide some additional ‘real world’ training for its warehouse staff, as Bliss explained: “Our warehouse manager assembled a team of three, who worked together to prep the show the ‘LCR way’, just as we would for every event we provide equipment for. The team worked together to prep the floor pods and get everything in working order – this kind of training is so valuable in helping our staff develop their skills.”

Bird reflected on his experience: “It was a fantastic opportunity to create a lighting design that was fully realised. I really enjoyed getting the chance to work with LCR to create a stage that embodied the importance of Production Futures, and produce a piece of work that portrayed the message of Production Futures through light.”

The AO Arena ON TOUR a event proved to be Production Futures’ busiest yet, with more than a thousand visitors from schools, colleges and universities able to interact with representatives of seventy-five of its industry-leading partner brands and organisations.