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  • ETNZ Connect 2023 Panelists

Nick Barnfield

A qualified person with relevant and current knowledge and experience

2002 onwards as Technical Director for Showquip Ltd

Still enjoys working in the entertainment, event, and film industries and the variety of projects

Practicing for retirement, but not a priority @now

Forget your mistakes

Remember what they taught you


Stephen Blackburn

Stephen has been working in the theatre, event and exhibition/ museum sectors for over forty years.

Throughout his career he has engaged with delivery of events and projects across multiple types of venues all around NZ and in the UK and Europe. He managed projects ranging in scale from small intimate theatre pieces to multimillion-dollar immersive museum projects.

Stephen started his professional career at the young age of 15 at Downstage Theatre rising to the position of technical Director of the Company at age 18.

After a brief period, freelancing and then managing the Memorial theatre, he departed these shores for the United States, briefly working in upstate New York before moving to the United Kingdom.

After working in the West end and then in theatres in the North West of England he moved to the city of York to join a team creating a new type of museum. A theatrically immersive experience that explained history in a purely visual way. It was to become known as the Jorvik Viking Centre. Stephen headed up the lighting design team and worked on similar projects all over the UK and Europe while still designing for various theatre productions in the North East.

The Royal NZ Ballet then approached him to return home and become their Production Manager and to assist on the development of their first purpose-built home to be housed at the St James Theatre. Since then Stephen has had senior roles at NZ Opera, Toi Whakaari, Capital E National Theatre for Children and as Producer of the World of Wearable Art, as well as numerous governance roles. He is currently the Manager of City Events at Wellington City Council.

Andrew Bruce

Manager Creative Technology and Development – Te Papa

Andrew has worked in the Audio-visual Event industry for over 25 years. Since 2012 he has managed various roles in the Te Papa Audio-Visual and Technology teams; providing technology support services for all of Te Papa’s Front of House offerings.

Melanie Calvesbert

Mel was born, grew up and lives in Te Whanganui a Tara (Wellington). She is Pākehā and in October 2022, made the leap to self employment. The primary focus of her work is working alongside communities and organisations as they seek to both respond well and prevent all forms of sexual harm including sexual harassment in workplaces and child sexual abuse. Immediately prior to self employment life, Mel worked at the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF). Initially this was as one of their small team of regionally based Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Advisors (SAPRAs) and then as the Manager for the SAPRAs. Prior to the NZDF Mel worked for the most part in NGOs who have a focus on the response to sexual harm, including WellStop and the Wellington Sexual Abuse HELP Foundation. She enjoys being able to take prior learning and adapt that in order to be able to support organisations which have taken on the challenge of creating safer and respectful environments.

Alistair Cameron

Hailing from Christchurch, Alistair Cameron’s fascination of the performing arts industry was sparked from a very young age. By 1991 he had accepted a role at the Christchurch Town Hall as Lighting Technician. A role that would confirm Alistair’s passion for arts and see him embark on a career that has spanned over 30 years.

On leaving the Christchurch Town in 1994 to embark in the freelance market , this led to touring with many musicals and with the Royal New Zealand Ballet as HOD Lighting up and down New Zealand and internationally to Australia , Singapore and Hong Kong

Alistair has headed some of the largest, most prestigious, and technically challenging events ever produced here in Aotearoa. From the likes of the 2011 Rugby World Cup Opening Ceremony, the New Zealand International Festival of Arts to the annual World of WearableArt (WOW) both in Nelson and Wellington.

Alistair’s experience is not limited to our shores alone, along with his local knowledge and connections he has also amassed many years of experience managing large international productions. These productions include:

  • 2005 World Expo , Nagoya , Japan, New Zealand Day (Technical Director)
  • 2010 World Expo, Shanghai, China, New Zealand Day (Technical Director)
  • 2011 South East Asian Games Opening Ceremony, Palembang , Indonesia, (Technical Manager)
  • 2011 Arab Games Opening Ceremony, Doha, Qatar (Technical Manager)
  • 2014 World Handball Championship Opening Ceremony , Doha , Qatar (Technical Manager)
  • 2015 European Games, Opening Ceremony , Baku, Azerbaijan, (Site Management)
  • 2015 Kazakhstan 550th Celebrations , Astana , Kazakhstan (Technical Manager)
  • 2016 – 2020 Cirque du Soleil – Kurios, North America, Canada, Japan, Singapore, and Australia (Technical Director)
  • 2021 The Lion King – Michael Cassel Group / Disney – Local Production Manager – Spark Arena
  • From Feb 2022 to present - World of WearableArt Show Producer
  • 2023 – Hamilton the Musical – Michael Cassel Group - Local Production – Spark Arena
  • 2023 – FIFA Women’s World Cup – Opening Ceremony –People Creative - Technical Production Consultant

Linkedin URL:

Vicki Cooksley

Vicki has been working as a Stage, Project, Production, Technical and Company Manager for various companies, festivals and councils including G&T Productions, Auckland & Tauranga Arts Festivals Auckland Writers Festivals, NZ Opera, RNZB, and Wētā Workshop since graduating from Toi Whakaari in 2001. In 2011 she co-founded Entertainment Production Services with Andrew Gibson, providing management and technical support to productions throughout New Zealand.

Vicki is involved in the development of the next generation as a senior assessor mentor and sector reference group member for the NZ Entertainment and Event Technology Qualifications. More recently Vicki has also been adding to her professional development by undertaking training in intimacy coordination for theatrical productions in a stage management role.

In Vicki’s spare time she is President of Entertainment Technology NZ (ETNZ), has recently joined the Toi o Taraika Arts Wellington board in a ex officio position, and in 2021 was the recipient of Nga Whakarākei O Whātatai Wellington Theatre Awards, Award for Integrity and Advocacy.

Ken Davidson

Director of Building Services Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre

Being part of the Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre opening team has been the pinnacle of a career that began as a humble fitter turner and progressed through 20 years in the hospitality industry in Facilities, General and Regional Management.

A varied career with many great experiences and opportunities to learn.

Andrew Dorrington

Andrew is GM Tākina Events, operating across Te Papa and Tākina.

Prior to returning to NZ, Andrew had 25 years in the UK including ten years with Hilton UK as GM and six years with GL Events UK as Managing Director operating across four locations providing infra structure and event services at corporate events and exhibitions.

Brendon Durey

(SPFX Supervisor)

For over twenty years, Brendon Durey has been working the Film Industry. Coming from a SPFX family who have worked in the NZ film industry since the early days. Starting off on the set of Xena & Hercules and working on a range of local and offshore feature films and TV Series over the years. He has been the SPFX Supervisor for many projects over the past decade such as, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2: The Green Legend”, “Ash vs Evil Dead”, “Krampus”, “Sweet Tooth” and “Spartacus”.

The SPFXs work comprise of Atmospherics, Pyrotechnics, Flame rigging, Armoury and weapons management, Hydraulic, pneumatic and kinetic effects.

Brendon also is the Managing Director of Livefx Limited the largest supplier of SPFX equipment and proximity pyrotechnics to the NZ entertainment market.

Brendon is the current President of the Screen Industry Guild. He joined the Guild during the late 1990’s and ended up joining the Auckland Branch committee and then the National Exec around 2007. He has held the positions of Auckland Branch Chair and the National Treasurer several times over the past 10 years and has contributed to the development and evolution of the Guild over the past 8 Years. Brendon has a degree in Business Management and is comfortable with dealing with the associated organisations, and stakeholders that work within the screen and live entertainment industries.

David Eversfield

David Eversfield is a Lighting Designer, Programmer, and Systems Architect who has delivered projects in 26 countries. He has been based in London, had an internship in New York, eight years in Hong Kong and too much time in airports. Currently he calls Auckland home.

With his company Opticshock he has been creating novel solutions for entertainment challenges since for a wide range of projects, such as Architecture, Visual Arts, Opening Ceremonies, Luxury Brands, Civic Events, Concert Touring, Dance, Theatre & Opera, Live Broadcast, and Themed Attractions.

David particularly enjoys onsite training and information sharing, bringing new entertainment processes to the APEC region as a technology evangelist. In New Zealand, he built a professional foundation on shows for NZ Opera, Auckland Theatre Company, The New Zealand Music Awards, World of Wearable Art, and even an interactive Christmas Tree for Telecom.

Recent enjoyable projects have been “FIFA Women’s World Cup Opening Ceremony” in Auckland; “CosmoClock21” (a 120m tall LED Ferris wheel) in Yokohama, Japan; "The House of Dancing Water" in Macau; a concert tour with Lady GAGA; and an acoustic show for the Auckland Arts Festival celebrating 100 years of the Forest and Bird Society.

Like many lighting professionals, David is often in new cities looking for good places to eat; this has become a personal restaurant guide for friends and colleagues. He also doesn’t mind ordering for the whole table.

More stories are available here:

Andrew Gibson

Andrew has been working in the events and entertainment industry for over twenty years. Coming up through university and amateur theatre in Christchurch, Andrew took a ‘year’ after completing his studies to decide his future direction. Andrew specialises in stage mechanics and rigging through to technical management. He co-founded Entertainment Production Services with Vicki Cooksley in 2011 providing technical support to events and productions throughout New Zealand. Andrew was the head rigger for the World of Wearable Art for ten years and currently spends most his year working on arts festivals, NZ Opera and musical theatre productions.

Kerry Griffiths

Having come into the industry with a musical background but had an interest in electronics as a kid, Kerry got involved in various community groups in Whanganui then joined the New Zealand Army Band as a percussionist. During the 8 years in the army Kerry became heavily involved in supporting the band with planning various sound systems and associated equipment that later became a fully fledged PA system. The band was based in Burnham outside Christchurch and often performed at the Christchurch Town Hall where Kerry befriended the inhouse technicians and often worked voluntarily on events to gain experience. When a position at the Town Hall came up Kerry was fortunate enough to get the role of Sound Technician and worked with an amazing group of highly capable and motivated senior technicians.

Kerry moved to the role of Sound Technician at the Aotea Centre a little while after it opened in 1991 and over the next 30 years or so progressed through multiple iterations of various roles including Tech, Senior Tech, Tech Coordinator, Tech Manager, Production Manager and to his current position of General Manger Technical Production.

Kerry is supported by a team of 27 full time permanent on the floor technicians including 4 senior technicians, around 30 casuals and contractors, a technical sales team, a production management team, technical account reps and an equipment maintenance team. We are quite busy and support around 1800 events per year across 7 major venues plus 3 hotels where we provide AV services.

Rachel Harrison

Rachel Harrison comes from the Coromandel Peninsula and currently lives in Te Whanganui a Tara (Wellington) and works with organisations and communities across Aotearoa to help prevent sexual harassment, sexual violence, domestic violence and child abuse. Rachel believes that harassment, violence and abuse are preventable and that the best solutions are tailored to each specific community and workplace, making use of their strengths and minimising specific risk factors. Rachel started at Auckland Rape Crisis in the 1990’s, and since then has worked at Netsafe, the Hauraki Family Violence Network and Child Abuse Prevention Services Hauraki. She is now self-employed and works with a range of public and private sector organisations including the New Zealand Defence Force, New Zealand Rugby, the screen sector, performance sector and Music community as they work toward making their communities safe and free from harassment and abuse.

Dale Henderson

Dales love of Entertainment Technology started in the 3rd form, about the time he was asked to leave the choir because he couldn’t sing. This led to packouts at Mercury Theatre (Auckland) from the 5th form, and Fire Safety and Technician shifts at Maidment Theatre (as he was failing Engineering papers at Auckland University … because he was skipping class to be at the Theatre). A full time technician job at Mercury in 1985 led to a Footrot Flats tour to Tauranga, where he spotted a girl he quite liked. He started as Technician at Baycourt Theatre in Tauranga on April fools day 1986. Dale married Toni (the girl he quite liked the look of) a couple of years later. Dale, Toni and their 3 children were fully immersed in Theatre (specifically musical theatre), and the years are not marked with birthdays, but the major shows they did that year. He is proud that all 3 children are now working in the Entertainment Industry, and you may even see one of them at Conference (mini me ?). Dale moved up through the ranks of Baycourt and Tauranga City Council to be Manager of Baycourt, and Manager of the Venues and Events team. He was President of EVANZ (the Entertainment Venues Association of NZ), as well as serving many years on the ETNZ committee. He also chaired the Sector Reference Group (responsible for development of the NZQA Entertainment Qualifications) for a number of years. In 2012 Dale left Baycourt as his mental health was being impacted. This means Dale now has a keen focus on mental health in the Entertainment Industry – a desire to share his story, and start the conversations on how we can ‘do’ mental health better. In 2017 Dale returned to Baycourt (his happy place), and is currently Technical and Operations Manager. Dale and Toni have a business ‘Events Tauranga’ which allows them to support community theatre by hiring costumes, props, and scenic items – he is planning on retiring in a few years, so he can concentrate on his hobby – Theatre.

Cathy Knowsley


Cathy is an event professional with over 25 years’ experience managing production, operations, and logistics for arts, entertainment and events.

Cathy’s primary focus is always to deliver events that are safe and healthy for workers, participants, and attendees.

Cathy is a HASANZ registered health and safety professional, with a Diploma in Health and Safety Management and runs a consultancy business (HiViz Event Management) specialising in health and safety for the arts, entertainment, and events sectors.

Cathy is currently studying for an MSc in Crowd Safety and Risk Analysis and sits on the Board of Directors for the Global Crowd Management Alliance (GCMA).

Simon Kong

Senior AV Project Manager Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre

Bringing to the table over 25 years’ experience in event production and five years’ experience with venue management. Simon leads the AV planning team at Te Pae, helping clients and technical suppliers integrate into the centre’s multiple rooms and spaces.

Lori Leigh

Dr. Lori Leigh, Intimacy Coordinator

Lori Leigh (she/they) is an award-winning Wellington-based artist, and one of the only fully-trained intimacy coordinators in Aotearoa.

Lori’s intimacy certification is through Key Intimate Scenes (KIS), based in Sydney, Australia ( Key Intimate Scenes (KIS) is an industry-leader in the field and the only SAG-AFTRA accredited intimacy organisation in Australasia. Lori has over 500 hours of specialist training including consent and power dynamics, communication and unconscious bias, diversity and inclusion, movement and choreography, and sexual/intimate dramaturgy. She has certificates in First Aid and Mental Health First Aid (St. John’s).

Lori has taught intimacy workshops for Victoria University of Wellington, Te Auaha, Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand, BATS Theatre, and the NZ Fringe Festival. Lori was an Intimacy Assistant on the forthcoming SBS drama "While the Men Are Away" and worked as the Intimacy Coordinator for the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s 2022 production of Cinderella, choreographed by Loughlan Prior.

Andrew Malmo

Andrew Malmo is a production manager and producer in the New Zealand theatre industry, working professionally since 1997, and having a freelance career (on and off) from 2004.

He’s worked for New Zealand Opera, Q Theatre, Silo Theatre, Auckland Theatre Company, New Zealand Dance Company, Auckland Arts Festival, PANNZ/Tour Makers, The University of Auckland and many independent theatre companies and makers. Roles have included project manager, lighting designer, production manager, tour manager, producer, programme manager, technician, guest lecturer and photographer.

From 2014 to 2017 Andrew had a key role at Auckland Theatre Company as the ‘Client Representative’ overseeing the build and managing ATC into the new state-of-the-art 668 seat ASB Waterfront Theatre

Andrew took a couple of years out from the industry 2021-2023 to study at The University of Auckland for a BA in Art History and Anthropology. He is also a keen photographer and has photographed many theatre shows, as well as loads of travels!

Photo credit: Jane Hakaraia.

Simon Manns

Fight Director

Filip “Simon” Lukas Manns was born and raised in Sweden with a mother from former Czechoslovakia and a Swedish father.

Simon has been working in the entertainment industry, mostly as an actor, for close to three decades. He is a certified teacher from The Nordic Stage Fight Society, an honorary Fight Director for Fight Directors Canada and the founder of Aotearoa Fight Director.

Simon has worked and taught all over the world and been a part of several international award-winning projects and performances but now lives and works here in New Zealand with a base in Wellington. Simon's passion is teaching others his craft and has been doing that in New Zealand since he landed here 7 years ago. Toi Whakaari, VUW, Hamilton Theatre Arts, RATA studios are a few institutions and schools Simon has been teaching Stage & Screen Combat for.

Some of Simons latest work includes: Time Bandits (Acting), After the Party (Stunts),

Cinderella (Fight director), Les Miserable (Fight director), Romeo & Juliette (Fight director), and now upcoming Wicked at St James (Fight director).

Matt Mard

With 35 years in entertainment, excels in event creation, problem-solving, impactful technical theatre operations, and leadership. Adept in lighting design, he leads, problem-solves, and fosters teamwork with flexibility. Currently Head of Production & Operations at Isaac Theatre Royal, National Learning Advisor at Te Mahi Ako/ Skills Active, and freelance consultant, he's a Certified Master-craftsman, skilled in lighting controls, rigging and fluent in multiple languages.

Rachel Marlow

Rachel Marlow is a lighting and production designer and creator. She is a co-director, with Brad Gledhill, of boutique design house Filament Eleven 11. Filament Eleven 11 work collaboratively to create dynamic production designs and lighting environments for live events. They produce work that puts design and technology at the centre of storytelling in an inventive and unique way.

Filament Eleven 11 is drawn to boundary-pushing work led by inspiring creatives.

Filament Eleven 11’s recent theatrical designs include production design for Scenes From a Yellow Peril, Basmati Bitch, and Things That Matter (Auckland Theatre Company); Next to Normal (The Court Theatre); The Strangest of Angels (New Zealand Opera); Every Brilliant Thing (Silo Theatre); and The Savage Coloniser Show (FCC). Lighting and video design for The Resistance (Australian Theatre for Young People); The Made (Auckland Theatre Company); Dakota of the White Flats (Red Leap Theatre); and lighting designs for Owls Do Cry (Red Leap Theatre) and The Writer (Silo Theatre).

Filament Eleven 11’s recent designs for large scale live and filmed events include production designs for Teeks – One Night Only (Spark Arena - Live Nation), Silver Scrolls Awards (2018-present), Pacific Music Awards (2017-present), Fat Freddy’s Drop (Aotearoa shows 2020-present), Rock2000 (2020-present) and lighting design for TOPP CLASS - Tribute to the Topp Twins (filmed live at Civic Theatre, aired Prime TV, streamed Neon)

Filament Eleven 11 create installation art including Who Lived in a Vinegar Bottle (Auckland Live Concert Chamber, Auckland Fringe 2020 – WINNER Best Production Design – WINNER Best Visual Arts)

Other design accolades include Auckland Theatre Awards (Excellence in Design 2019, Excellence Award for 2018 Body of Work, People’s Choice Best Lighting 2017 and 2016), Wellington Theatre Awards (Lighting Designer of the Year 2018 and 2016).

Ralph McCubbin Howell

Co-director - Trick of the Light Productions

Ralph is a Wellington based theatre maker who grew up in Waikari in Te Waipounamu.

He was a member of the NZ Young Shakespeare Company and completed a BA (Hons) in Theatre & English at Victoria University of Wellington before training at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in the UK. He was awarded Outstanding New Playwright at the 2011 Wellington Theatre Awards, and Outstanding New NZ Play for The Road That Wasn’t There in 2013. He won the Bruce Mason Playwriting Award in 2014 and received a Masters in Scriptwriting at the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University.

Stuart McGillivray

– Inland Revenue

I have been with IR for 16 years now, starting right after finishing school.

One of my favourite parts of my role is seeing customers face-to-face, being able to assist with what can be stressful situations and the spark that someone gets when they understand what to do with us.

I like being out and about to show that IR is approachable, friendly and genuinely wants to help out.

Chris McKenzie

Lighting Bloke

My career in this crazy business started in March 1973 as a Technical Operator at WNTV-1 in Wellington. I had previous theatre experience through high school and university, which gave me some base skills to get a job at the NZBC.

During my time at WNTV-1 I moonlighted at the Opera House and a couple of other theatres in Wellington as a stagehand, lighting tech, followspot operator, or flyman.

After a stint at the Christchurch studios during the 1974 Commonwealth games, I was seconded to NZBC Head Office Engineering section to assist with  the commissioning of lighting infrastructure at the emerging Avalon studios.

In mid 1974 I was offered a job at Channel 10 in Sydney. I spent over 2 years there learning again, the ins and outs of Australian commercial television, a very different beast from NZ public service broadcasting. I moved up to the role of lighting director on drama, games shows, live daily programming, and OBs. 

In 1977, I applied for a job at Vidcom in Auckland as Lighting Director. Vidcom was a very well oiled machine that was doing very cutting edge video production and post production for the entire motion picture industry in New Zealand.

In 1982 I decided that the industry was ready to have me as a freelancer, so left Vidcom and went freelance as a gaffer and lighting director in the big wide world.

As a gaffer I have had the great pleasure to look over the shoulder of every  cinematographer in New Zealand, a bunch from Australia, and a good selection of other internationals. Not one of them has hesitated to share their knowledge and tricks with me and all of my colleagues.

In 1984, I got together with Hugh Kenderdine to set up Professional Lighting Services. I had been hiring theatrical lighting off Hugh during my time at Vidcom and could see that he a resource that could be pushed out into the motion picture business. 

I continued freelancing alongside PLS until the mid 90s when PLS had grown to the point of being able to support me full time. 

PLS, along with it's sister company Kenderdine Entertainment Lighting have both grown over the years to become respected suppliers to the Screen and Entertainment industries. 

I am grateful to all of the passionate people that I have come to work with over my career, as I have learned so much, especially an appreciation of the cinematography business.

Marcus McShane

Marcus is one of New Zealand’s most prolific designers , having produced over 500 theatre designs and installation art works since 2005. He has 22 awards spanning visual art and design, specifically in the areas of theatre, fine arts, architecture, and museum design . In 2007 he designed Heat, supposedly the world’s first entirely zero - emissions piece of touring theatre, for which he had to construct his own led fittings and design and build a touring wind and solar power supply. In 2009 he premiered Nag, a self - powered artist studio entirely constructed from recycled and found materials where the artists have to pedal while working, spinning recycled washing machine motors that generate all the power they need. Nag has since had 38 gallery and festival seasons and is still touring. In 2017 he completed a permanent interactive artwork powered by waves, Wash, for the Tauranga City Council, and in 2019 he launched an installation of his lightbox works, 101 Rants , which, with the help of twenty - five commissioned writers, transformed three floors of the public spaces of BATS Theatre for 101 days . Marcus also won the inaugural NZ Arts Foundation Behind the Limelight award in July 2021, which recognises artists whose work supports other artists, and then his daughter was born, which has slowed him down some. In 2023 he has been building a new studio out of found materials and recycled theatre sets in Wellington and creating new works with Footnote Dance (Wellington) , Mascall Dance (Vancouver) and Rebel Press ( Wellington ). He originally worked as a copy writer, so many of his works tend to revolve around the intersection of light and text . Marcus has a master’s degree in English Literature and Philosophy that he’s philosophical about, and his interests include finding sneaky ways to keep his emissions footprint low, growing vegetables, building bicycles, and reading things worth reading.

Richie Mickan

Richie’s first contact with the industry was running a Strand SP23 console with 24 channels of saturation core dimmers at his high school in Adelaide in the 1980s. After graduating he started working for a local rental company doing audio and lighting for pub bands, school concerts and small festivals. After completing an Apprenticeship in Electronic Servicing, he moved into service and installation of AV systems. In 1994 he moved to Melbourne and joined Coemar DeSisti Aust, a major importer of professional lighting products. In 2003 he joined LSC as the Product Manager and has spent the last 20 years learning about the technical needs of end users around the globe, then applying this knowledge to the development of LSC’s unique products.

He is married with two high school aged children and is excited to be back at ETNZ after a 5 year hiatus.

Kathryn Osborne

Kathryn Osborne has been involved in theatre since her teenage years Between freelancing and her time with NZ Opera, Royal NZ Ballet and Stetson Production, which has included multiple overseas tours, including 4 tours to Japan with the Original Phantom of the Opera, she has called over 1000 performances. Currently she is the Technical Manager of Q Theatre, an Auckland venue with 3 flexi performances spaces, a Te Mahi Ako assessor and a holder of an 100 Entertainment & Event Production pin.

Tom O'Sullivan

Tom started off his events industry career working as a casual staging technician in Wellington. After undertaking a few shifts, Tom graciously accepted a fulltime position, and then over time, enjoyed the different challenges and attainable experience in various roles, including - Senior AV Technician, Production Co-ordinator, Account Manager, Senior Account Manager and Sales & Marketing Manager, leading to his current position - Manager, AV Event Services at Te Papa (Tākina Events).

Whilst generally being bossed around at home by his 5-year-old (twin) daughters, Tom enjoys coming to work to lead an exceptional AV team, constantly aspiring for continuous improvement, and striving to consistently exceed their customers’ expectations.

Genevieve Poppe

I started out in the live event industry as a student tech at the theatre on my university campus in the US – The University of Maine, Orono campus. Mostly I was interested in lighting, and I did always like hanging out in the roof. I graduated after a few years there, working while studying French & International Affairs, with the delusion that I would leave the live entertainment industry. So I spent a short while teaching French in the US, then teaching English in France, all the while moonlighting in local venues in both countries. After a couple of years I had worked out where I belonged & began looking for all the jobs I could in local theatres, arenas, etc. in the northeast of the US. This led to an obsession with becoming a rigger, hanging lights and sound - and sometimes performers - from the ceilings. I got my start walking roof beams in those arenas back home. From there I moved on to outdoor stages & my first climbing outdoor stage job was for Roger Waters of Pink Floyd at Fenway Park, building The Wall. That evolved into a few years touring the US building festival stages, living in a harness, & breaking records each year at EDC Vegas for “biggest something or other stage-related”. In 2014 I came to NZ for a year & never left! I spent 4 years with my Multimedia family in Wellington before going back to freelance. I learned way more than I ever wanted to learn about audio and video with Multi, but rigging is still my main passion & I evolved so much on the math side of my rigging knowledge while there. After 4 years of corporate events I was missing the arts and decided it was time to move back to freelancing.

Steve Sanders

Steve Sanders is a Project Manager at Grouse Lighting in Wellington, looking after the design, planning, and delivery of lighting for a wide range of events from outdoor festivals to theatre productions, and much in between. Steve has specialised in event rigging, and particularly enjoys building creative structures out of truss.

Nick Schlieper

Nick Schlieper has designed for all of the major performing arts companies in Australia, and works regularly in Europe and the USA. He is one of Australia’s most highly awarded designers having received seven Sydney Critics Awards (two for set design and 5 for lighting design), six Melbourne Green Room Awards, the inaugural 2013 Australian Production Designers Guild Best Lighting Design Award, as well as 5 Helpmann Awards for best lighting and a 2016 Nomination for Best Lighting and Best Set (with Simon Phillips) for North by Northwest.

His many productions for Sydney Theatre Co include The Tempest, Strange Case of Jekyll & Hyde, Playing Beatie Bow (which recently re-opened the Wharf), Dorian Gray, Wonnangatta, The Harp In The South, Chimerica, Macbeth, St Joan, The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui, The War of the Roses, The Season At Sarsaparilla, The Maids and Gross und Klein, as well as set and lighting for Endgame, Face To Face and Baal. For Melbourne Theatre Co, his work includes As You Like It, Twelfth Night, Macbeth, Richard III, Hamlet, The Tempest and The Visit, as well as set and lighting for North By Northwest (with Simon Phillips), Photograph 51 and Death and The Maiden and for Bevoir Opening Night, Packer & Sons, Ghosts, Twelfth Night and set and lighting for Once In Royal David’s City.

His international work includes productions of Lear and Medeé for the Salzburg Festival, Billy Budd and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Hamburg State Opera; The Devils of Loudun at the Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich; The Hostage for the Royal Shakespeare Company; The Government Inspector for Theatr Clwyd; Waiting for Godot at The Barbican, London; Armut, Reichtum, and The Ginger Man for Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg; Kasimir und Karoline and Lea's Hochzeit in Vienna; U.F.A. Revue in Berlin and the Kennedy Centre Washington; Michael Kramer and Ein Florentinerhut in Berlin; Michael Bogdanov’s productions of Macbeth and Peer Gynt for the State Theatre of Bavaria; Uncle Vanya and Private Confessions (both directed by Liv Ullman for The National Theatre of Norway) Aristokraten in Stuttgart; Away and Summer of the Seventeenth Doll at the Summerfare Festival in New York and Hedda Gabler, Streetcar Named Desire, Uncle Vanya and The Maids, all with Cate Blanchett, also in New York. His lighting designs for The Present and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert have been seen on Broadway and Gross und Klein also travelled to Paris, London and Vienna.

Hannah Smith

Co-director- Trick of the Light Productions

Hannah is a Wellington based director, designer and producer who grew up in Ōtepoti (Dunedin). She has an honours degree in English and Theatre from Victoria University of Wellington. She was awarded Most Promising Director at the 2013 Wellington Theatre Awards for The Road That Wasn’t There, and Director of the Year for The Griegol in 2022. In 2023 she received a FAME Trust Mid-Career Award. She has a background in puppetry and paper-art, and her work with Trick of the Light has been performed around Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia, the UK, USA, Canada and South Africa.

Brian Smallwood

Brian Smallwood (he/him) has been working in technical theatre for over two decades. He has presented for Entertainment Technology New Zealand, the South Eastern Theatre Conference, the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, the Leading Change Conference, and more. He is an Authorized Outreach Instructor for the United States' Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a tenured Associate Professor/Production Manager for James Madison University (JMU), and a "Dad Joke" enthusiast. Brian's book Productivity Through Wellness for Live Entertainment and Theatre Technicians was published through Routledge in 2020. Brian has his MFA through the Yale School of Drama and is pursuing his doctoral degree in Strategic Leadership at JMU. Brian is a proud husband, a lucky father of two, and fortunate in friendship. He is also very grateful to ETNZ for the opportunity to speak at this year's conference.

Scotty Stewart

Scotty Stewart started in the entertainment industry in Aotearoa New Zealand in 2001. He wound up in London in 2003, completed an MA at the now Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, and wound up working as a rigger. He toured all over the world building stages and rigging. In London he did specialised rigging projects in theatre, museums, circus and rock & roll. A few years ago he got bored, so did an B Eng (Hons) through the Open University. After a brief stint as a theatre consultant, he now works as a design engineer. Specialising in temporary demountable structures, circus based installations and rigging projects. He returned home to Aotearoa at Christmas.

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