What are we about?
Backstage Technical Services is a group of overworked,
under-fed and (if it's possible to say this) under-slept
students who provide technical expertise to other
Students' Union Clubs and Societies and event organisers
in Sound, Lighting and Stage Management.
The fact that we exist solely to assist other societies and members
of the Union and University to put on events makes Backstage a unique
group within the Students' Union, although we operate
according to society rules and are just as much a club/society as
What types of event do we provide
All of the big events (and most of the smaller events) are crewed
by members of Backstage - all of the bands that appear in the Tub, the experience that is Freshers'
Week, The Summer Ball, plays by Bath University Student Theatre (BUST), musicals by Bath University Student
Musical Society (BUSMS) and many, many more.
We work both on- and off-campus providing lighting, sound, set design, pyrotechnic, stage management and event management expertise.
Backstage run a training course which provides continuous training from basic to advanced level on a wide range of subjects. Our training is open (and completely free) to all BTS members. Sessions this year have included stage management, sound engineering, lighting design and pyrotechnics.
You can submit a booking for Backstage using the online
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
How can I book Backstage?
Only via the web. It doesn't matter if you've spoken to every person in the society; we only accept bookings via our web booking system.
Booking BTS as early as possible gives us more opportunity to ensure that the correct equipment, volunteers and planning is available. This generally means that we are booked around a month in advance (less than two weeks notice may result in a financial surcharge).
Do BTS members get paid?
No. All our members are volunteers, doing full-time degrees here at the university. They sometimes work over 15 hours/day for an event, unpaid. To give an indication of cost, an experienced technician from an external company would cost over £100/day.
Why can't you do this/that event for free?
Because we need to pay for insurance, repairs, replacements, transport, photocopying costs, faxes, telephones, tape, bulbs, batteries, smoke fluid etc etc. Every year these costs add upto about £10,000 (not including hires) and we therefore need to issue a charge to break even at the end of each year.
Whilst BTS do receive a budget from the union, it can't cover all our costs, especially for the upkeep of equipment that may be used over one hundred times a year.
Backstage is very expensive! I can get it cheaper elsewhere
To hire the equipment externally it would normally cost well over £250 per event plus personnel costs.
People hiring are only charged fees that relate to hire of equipment, insurance and upkeep. All of the supervision is given free through volunteers' time. For example, a full band night in a venue would cost a society around £350: the current Backstage charge is less than half of that (assuming all kit required is available internally).
You are quite welcome to use an external company; we would recommend Enlightened Lighting in Bath, and Audio Forum in Bristol.
The equipment is BUSU property, I'm a BUSU member, can I borrow it?
The majority of our equipment requires experience (and usually training) before it can be used and therefore it is rare for Backstage to run dry hires (providing equipment without personnel). For insurance and safety reasons, BTS doesn't lend out equipment to private individuals. Societies have borrowed some of our equipment in the past but each request is considered on an individual basis.
I want to join Backstage!
Great idea - we're open to all members of Bath University Students' Union. Our weekly meetings happen on Wednesdays at 13:15 and membership only costs £4. For further details, please contact our Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org.