The industry stepped up at PLASA 2014 to care for its own by supporting Behind the Scenes UK, the new charity that will provide financial assistance to entertainment technology professionals in need due to serious illness or injury. Fundraising kicked off on Sunday evening at the Knights of Illumination Awards Ceremony when Clay Paky’s commercial director Pio Nahum presented a check to lighting designer Rick Fisher for Behind the Scenes UK. Nahum explained to the large gathering that one of the last things approved by the late Pasquale Quadri was this generous contribution to the new charity.
On Monday afternoon, ETC’s Fred Foster presented the cheque from the proceeds of the iRFR app which continues to provide an incredible income for the charity on both sides of the Atlantic. Tuesday saw Rosco’s Mark Engel present a cheque for the proceeds from the sale of Roscolux Light Relief Yellow which have now been transferred to Behind the Scenes UK.
At the PLASA Innovation Awards Ceremony On Tuesday evening, the chair of the BTS UK Trustees John Simpson of White Light took the stage to announce the charity and explain who will be eligible for grants. John was then joined by Alan Jacobi who delighted the crowd by presenting a very generous cheque from Unusual Rigging. These contributions brought in almost £40,000 for Behind the Scenes UK bringing it a huge step closer towards being ready to begin issuing grants.
Throughout the four day show the Behind the Scenes stand was busy selling raffle tickets while BTS UK Trustees were out on the floor taking care of those who couldn’t get away from their busy stands. Many exhibitors bought raffle tickets for their entire exhibition staff, and in White Light’s case every one of their employees, deciding they would conduct an internal raffle if they drew a winning ticket. PLASA governing body chair Ed Pagett drew the winning tickets. Third prize of a £500 voucher with Mr and Mrs Smith hotels went to Amber Etra of Philips. Second prize of a £1,000 Amazon gift card went to Phil Hurley of Stage Sound Services Ltd in Cardiff. John Simpson had warned the crowd at the Awards ceremony that many of the American visitors, already familiar with Behind the Scenes and with the great raffle prizes, were buying their share of tickets and sure enough the Grand Prize was won by Jerome Dunn of StageLight in Texas.
The race car simulator, generously provided by 5 Star Cases, was kept busy throughout the show with everyone from students to septuagenarians testing their skill. The prize for the fastest lap went to Dan Abbitt and Ashley Simper came in just behind to win the 2nd prize.
Special thanks to PLASA; Mike Hamilton and TMB; Keith Sykes, Bryan Hoyer and 5 Star Cases; Scott Hoyt; and White Light for all their assistance. For more information about Behind the Scenes visit www.behindthescenescharity.org or email [email protected].