Stage One

Alex McVeigh

Stage One Stories with Alex McVeigh

Alex McVeigh is an account handler at Stage One and has just celebrated his six-year milestone at the company. Alex deals with new enquiries, liaises with clients on project development and supports Stage One’s project managers with active work. During his time with Stage One, Alex has overseen numerous prestigious events, which has led to him dealing with some very high-profile clients. For his work anniversary, we had a catch up with Alex to look back at some of his highlights, discuss current challenges in the industry and consider the developments that may happen in the future.

Q: You’ve worked on hundreds of projects during your time at Stage One. Do you have any highlights?

A: I’ve been lucky enough to work on some amazing projects here in the UK and abroad. It’s always satisfying to do repeat work with clients as it shows you’ve done a good enough job for them to come back and use us again. If I had to pick a favourite, I’d say the Dua Lipa set for the BRITS in 2021. Amongst some other hush hush, confidential projects, that I unfortunately can’t disclose to you…

Dua Lipa set

Image: The BRIT Awards 2021 Dua Lipa set

Q: With such a varied job remit, how are you able to juggle so many projects and still build strong relationships with all our clients?

A: Multitasking is a big one – we deal with multiple projects at any one time, and we need to balance our time to make sure that every single project stays on track. Internal communication is key – I would say it’s a real strength of Stage One. Before we commit to a new job, we always check that we have the capacity to take it on, as we pride ourselves on the ability to deliver. My role oversees each project from concept to delivery, and as the key contact for the client, we often go to site to check-in with the client and support the crew – even if that means getting stuck in and helping to get the job done. There are usually many plates spinning and I make sure that everyone has what they need, when they need it – especially if it’s a quick turnaround. For example, we had to produce the Dua Lipa set in just 3 weeks – it was a lot of pressure, especially when you take the stress testing of equipment into account as dancers were literally swinging from the framework. During this time, we ensured that our other clients’ projects were still on track through the workshops. It paid off as it looked great on stage, and screen!

Q: What do you think are the top challenges for the industry, and how does this affect what you do?

At the moment, it’s definitely the availability of resources, both materials and crew. During the pandemic, a lot of people moved away from the industry, and the full effects are still being felt today. That, along with a backlog of events now wanting to take place after such a long time off, means it’s becoming harder and harder to find crew, as well as managing a schedule. We’ve had to be savvy scheduling work through the workshops to alleviate this pressure. Budget is also a big challenge. Everything has become more expensive in the construction industry. Because of this, I would always recommend that clients start with a clear, and realistic, idea of budget and a timeline that includes schedules for manufacturing, installation, and de-rigging. Sometimes, when we get approached, the projects are one-off, quirky pieces, and that can be quite difficult to price, especially when we have limited time to return the quote. If a client can come to us with an idea of a budget and a schedule, we can then provide the client with a reasonable timeline and an accurate quote for completing the work.

Alex McVeigh

Image: Alex McVeigh on site

Q: How do you think the industry and Stage One is developing? Are you seeing any changes in clients’ attitudes or requests?

A: As an industry, one of the most noticeable developments, I would say is sustainability. As a company, we’re certified with ISO 14001 – Environmental Management Systems. So, it’s something we’re always mindful of, but we are seeing an increase in clients wanting to reduce the environmental impact of their projects at source.

As a company, Stage One has developed during the pandemic. It feels like we’ve entered a new chapter. As a company, it feels like we’re moving away from some of the smaller stage pieces, as we’re being asked to take on more high-profile rock and roll projects that provide us with some really nice engineering challenges. We’ve worked on some incredible jobs recently, including Ed Sheeran’s Mathematics set. The workshops were busy for months. That was an incredible project, especially when you take the cablenet system into account too. I think it’s the first time a cablenet system of that scale has toured. It’s moments like that, where you can reflect on where we’ve come from, and where it’s going to that make you proud to be part of the team.

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To find out more about the work of Stage One, explore our projects, find out about our facilities, and read about the technology we can provide to take your big ideas and turn them into things that people will remember forever.

Author: Alex McVeigh