Yorkshire production park aims to become Pinewood of the live events industry

A production cluster for the live events industry is aiming to become the equivalent of Pinewood Studios and hopes to establish the first university in Wakefield.

Thursday, 24th May 2018, 8:45 am
Updated Thursday, 24th May 2018, 8:46 am
ALL THE WORLD'S A STAGE: Production Park designed the stage for Paloma Faiths tour.

Production Park, based in South Kirkby, designs and builds stages for some of the biggest names in the music industry.

The family-run business also has an arena-sized rehearsal studio where the leading lights of live events come to perfect their shows before going on tour.

Adrian Brooks, chairman of Production Park, said: “The live events industry hasn’t got a place where it can cluster.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“Pinewood began when film and TV started a long time ago. Then in the relatively recent history live events have become enormous.”

Mr Brooks is calling on Wakefield to back Production Park’s plans to become the city’s first university.

Currently, it runs the Backstage Academy, which delivers degree level programmes at the site in South Kirkby.

The academy provides young people with the skills needed to work in the live events industry.

He said: “Wakefield is one of the only cities in the UK that doesn’t have a university.

“That’s a challenge for Wakefield. That’s a challenge for the skill levels that are here.

“Low level skills are good here in Wakefield but high-level skills are appalling.

“There are some great schools. All the children who get through their A-levels go off to university and they don’t come back.

“There’s no quid pro quo for Wakefield. Everybody leaves but there’s nobody coming in except for the 200 Backstage Academy students. What we’ve got to do is create a university.

“Everybody seems to be in agreement in principle at least although we need more support.”

Production Park employs 150 people.

Backstage Academy is in its seventh year and was set up after Adrian Brooks realised that the arena-sized rehearsal studio was taking staff away from the business.

Mr Brooks said: “The first client to use the studio was a band called Coldplay in 2005. The band would come in with all the touring crew. All our people were here and the tour manager, or singer Chris Martin, might say I like him or her. All these skilled people were leaving. I thought this is not sustainable. So I’m going to have to do this.”